St. Paul, Minnesota’s Original Name… Pig’s Eye!
St. Paul’s original name was Pig’s Eye. This unflattering name was given to the area by Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant in 1838. Parrant built the area’s first structure, which he called the “whiskey seller’s cabin” at the mouth of a cave along the Mississippi River near present day downtown St. Paul. A retired fur trader and a man of dubious reputation, Parrant was known as Pig’s Eye due to the fact that he had a patch over one eye, and the remaining eye had a distinct white ring around its pupil, giving it a look that was viewed as piggish. However dubious and unattractive he was, Parrant became a successful businessman when he opened his Pig’s Eye Tavern in 1838. Since the Pig’s Eye Tavern was actually a bootlegging outpost, his enterprise lasted only two short years as soldiers from nearby Fort Snelling forced old Pig’s Eye Parrant out of business. A decade later, the Minnesota Territory was formalized and the area was renamed St. Paul.
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