CITY OF ST PETER | Photo Op: St Peter’s Pearly Gates

St Peter is the home of not only Gustavus Adolphus College, the delightful Linnaeus Arboretum and the Treaty Site History Center, but also ST PETER’S PEARLY GATES (a great opportunity for group photos!).

There are many roadside attractions across the state of Minnesota.

One in St. Peter has a heavenly connection: St. Peter’s Pearly Gates. The idea came from a banker in town 15 years ago. He wanted to put up the pearly gates hoping to bring more people to St. Peter.

It became a reality with the help of a fundraiser. The city donated land in Levee Park along the Minnesota River. For many in town, the gates have truly been a godsend.

“Build it and they will come,” Ed Lee, with the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce, said. “People from far and near love the pearly gates.”

St. Peter has been a gateway and a gathering place for thousands of years. Situated at the confluence of the big woods, tallgrass prairie, and Minnesota River, archaeological evidence tells us people have been coming together here for at least 9,000 years. When Euro-Americans first came to what is now Minnesota, they traded information, ideas, and goods at Traverse des Sioux — a shallow, rocky, river crossing located on what is now the City’s north end. It was here in 1851 that the Dakota Nation sold about half of present-day Minnesota to the U.S. Government in the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux.

The City of St. Peter was founded by Captain William Dodd in 1853 on 150 acres north of today’s Broadway Avenue. Originally known as Rock Bend, for a river bank formation nearby, the City was renamed in 1855 after the St. Peter Land Company was formed to promote it. Though St. Peter failed in its bid to become the state capitol, five inhabitants were elected governor. The last, John A. Johnson, was the first governor born in the state, the first to be elected three times, the first to occupy the capitol building, and the first to die in office. St. Peter continues to be a gateway and gathering place today with new students arriving at Gustavus each year and new residents from places around the globe.