St. Paul, Minnesota

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Research Center

This Research Center contains non-circulating collections documenting the history of Ramsey County and St. Paul. The collection contains books, periodicals, city directories, maps, photographs, personal papers, business and organization records, architectural information and materials on clubs, schools, and churches.  Patrons include teachers, students, attorneys, genealogists, historians, historic preservationists, authors, journalists and others.

Research services price list

Please indicate the maximum amount of time we should spend on your research request.

See examples from the . . .

St. Paul Building Permits 1883-1975
To obtain a photocopy of a St. Paul  Building Permit or Building Permit Index Card call 651-222-0701 or email Research@rchs.com. Copies can be mailed to you within two weeks of your request or picked up at our downtown office. There is a preservation fee of $12.50 for each permit copy you request and a $3.00 for each index card copy you request. Please see price list for shipping and handling rates.

More than 1,000 volumes document the history of Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul and the State of Minnesota. The book holdings, which include many rare titles, reflect the rich history found throughout the communities of Ramsey County.

Complementing the book collection is the library's core collection of serials. A variety of topics are featured in the Society’s quarterly publication
Ramsey County History.  See Magazine Index

City Directories
An incomplete set of R. L. Polk’s St. Paul City Directories, 1856-1998, lists businesses and individuals residing in the City of St. Paul. Other information often includes business and home addresses and occupation. The City Directories provide an abundance of information for genealogists.

Maps and Atlases
Dating from the 1860s to the present, the Ramsey County Historical Society collection of published maps, plats, and atlases show the growth and changes to Ramsey County. A set of Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the City of St. Paul, (1927/1955), drawn on a large scale, detail the location of buildings, their layout, and types of materials used for construction.
No photocopies or digital scans of plat maps are allowed.

Ramsey County Historic Site Survey
Completed in the early 1980s, the Ramsey County Historic Site Surveys document 5,000 historic structures located in the county. Each survey form describes a structure through an architectural profile, a brief history of the building and its potential for historic designation on the local and national level. A black and white photograph of the structure accompanies most survey forms. 

Directory of Architects
As a result of the Historic Site Survey, a directory listing architects who designed structures in Ramsey County was created. Information in the index includes biographical data and names and addresses of structures found in Ramsey County and Minnesota.

The photograph collection contains images dating  to 1857. They are a valuable resource to Ramsey County. This collection includes a set of aerial images taken by Mark Hurd between 1937 and 1962, which trace changes in communities through construction of transportation routes and housing developments.  When you visit you will find a photocopy of each photo in our collection in binders organized categorically.
Photo topic index. We keep the original photos in a climate controlled vault for their safety and preservation. We do make copies of photos in our collection the fees are as follows:

Papers and Records of Minnesotans
The collections of letters and diaries from a variety of residents, including political figures, farmers, prominent, and everyday citizens highlight Ramsey County History with their personal stories. The most complete set of family papers was donated by the Gibbs family, dating from 1830s.
See Summary of Ramsey County Historical Society Manuscript Collection.

Business, Association & Church Records
Numerous county businesses and organizations have placed their records at the Ramsey County Historical Society. They include the American Hoist and Derrick Company, Yoerg’s Brewery, the Monday Literary Club, the Minnesota Club and the House of Hope Presbyterian Church. Typical records include board minutes, publications, annual reports, catalogues, ledgers, and photographs.
See Summary of Ramsey County Historical Society Manuscript Collection.

Subject Files
Numerous Ramsey County clubs, churches, schools, fraternal, and welfare organizations have donated a variety of pamphlets and histories that compromise a detailed history of community life.

Facilities and Access
The Ramsey County Historical Society Research Center is located in the lower level of Landmark Center and is open Monday - Thursday from 10:00 to 4:00. Parking can be found on metered streets surrounding the Landmark Center or in parking ramps nearby.
How do I find Landmark Center? 


Our Mission
"The Ramsey County Historical Society inspires current and future generations to learn from
and value their history by engaging in a diverse program of presenting, publishing and preserving." 

The place for St. Paul & Ramsey County, Minnesota history.
Ramsey County Historical Society programs include a research center, St. Paul & Ramsey County MN history magazine, 
historical exhibits, historic site attraction the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life.

323 Landmark Center, 75 West Fifth Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102    
Phone: (651) 222-0701, Fax: (651) 223-8539

Copyright 2012

Home  ●  About Us Gibbs Museum Events & Exhibits Research Center ●  Magazine & Books Membership