Historical stories & Info

Jeremiah W. Selby was born in Ohio in 1820 and arrived in St. Paul in 1849. He “purchased a 40-acre plot on St. Anthony Hill, the present day site of the Cathedral, for $50 an acre. Fittingly, Selby was described by his peers as “industrious, economical and thrifty.” After farming potatoes, Selby went on to serve in the Minnesota Territorial House of Representatives. Selby Ave. was part of Jeremiah W. Selby’s homestead; the street was platted and named after him in 1854. Selby died one year later.

“… The intersection of Selby Ave. with Snelling Ave. is an excellent example of an early 20th-century commercial streetcar-and-auto corner. All the buildings at or near the corner went up between 1908 and 1927. These endlessly adaptable brick and stone structures have served the neighborhood in many ways over the decades, including amusement. O’Gara’s Bar and Grill has been there since 1942; 1595 Selby Ave. was once the Park Theater; [the lower level of what’s soon to be Vintage on Snelling and Whole Foods] long housed Park Rec, a bar and bowling alley.

“… Fans of the Peanuts comic strip will recall that Charlie Brown’s father worked as a barber. This was pure autobiography: Charles Schulz’s father ran a barbershop at 1574 Selby Ave. (now part of the expanded O’Gara’s). Schulz grew up in the neighborhood and graduated from nearby Central High School. Selby Ave. thus links two of St. Paul’s greatest creators, John Ireland and Charles Schulz, and their iconic works. “

—from “Tour Saint Paul Selby Avenue” (Historic Saint Paul, no date).

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