Saint Paul Island History Bike Tour Next Saturday

Have you ever wondered why they call it Harriet Island if it's not an island? Yeah, me too.

The short answer is that apparently, at some point in the post-war era, islands were an out-moded concept.

"Why keep it an island? Let's dump dirt into the river so we can drive there," or some similar something said.

So it's not an island. It used to be an island. It's still called an island. That's kind of strange!

[Harriet Island in 1915, when it was still "a piece of land surrounded by water."]
It turns out that Harriet is not the only non-island island in the city. One of my favorite kinds of Saint Paul islands are bits of old urban fabric amputated by progress, today just sitting there, alone in a sea of cars.

[Map link.]
I have been digging around and have come up with a fine list of historic, symbolic, or non-literal islands. Amputated or stranded neighborhoods or buildings and previously-existing islands are all around the downtown, which is itself an island in the sense that it's surrounded on all sides by freeways.

We'll be bicycling around and looking at:

Mullberry Island
Old 7 Island
Harriet Island
Island Station Island
Railroad Island
Coney Island
Savoy Island
and maybe some others.

In the end, I think we need to re-think the whole concept of islands. Islands are made and unmade. Water is always changing, and rivers especially so.

Maybe islands are all around us, archipelagos of intrigue, chains of history, noble stands against the tide?

[One of the only sidewalks to Railroad Island, a lonely link.]

What: Guided bicycle tour of at least seven (7) "islands" of Saint Paul
When: This Saturday, September 24th, departing at 2:30pm
Where: Leaving from Red River Kitchen at City House, along the Mississippi just upriver from Shepard and Eagle.
Why: Because it's there... or because it's not there
Who: Anyone. Free. Please consider tips or supporting me on my Patreon page!

[This used to be an island.]

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