St. Paul’s population exploded in the late 1800s.

Two severe depressions in 1873 and 1893 lead to job losses and hardship across the country, including in the young city of St. Paul. Many of those affected are new immigrants. More than five million mostly-European immigrants arrive to the U.S. in the 1870s and ’80s. In St. Paul, the population balloons from 20,000 in 1870 to over 133,000 in 1890. These pressures add to social problems already simmering in the city.

Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress and the Minnesota Historical Society.