Modern day St. Paul bears little resemblance to it’s 1906-self. Metal skyscrapers glint in the sunlight, casting shadows on the scattered red and beige brick buildings from a century before. Asphalt and light-rail tracks cover the old stone pavers and iron streetcar grooves. Gone is the horse and buggy. Gone are newsboys hawking the daily Pioneer. Gone are the gas streetlamps.
What remains are flashes—and old building here and there; a park, redesigned but still fitted within its original boundaries; and that which can never be undone: the mighty Mississippi, its blue-gray waters sauntering toward the distant sea. It’s enough for me to slip into my characters’ shoes and live for a few hours—with a hefty dose of imagination—as they did 107 years ago.
My first stop is the Landmark Center. Formerly the Federal Building, seat of the U.S. postal service, customhouse, and federal courts, this turret-crowned building still impresses…
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