Did You Know

In 1892, James H. Burrell, a former Pullman porter, was appointed the first African-American officer of the Saint
Paul Police Department.

This was 20 years before New York City appointed its first African-American police officer. Burrell served continuously at the department’s Rondo Sub-Station.

Historic Rondo

Located on the western edge of Saint Paul, and the historic center of Saint Paul’s African-American population, Rondo is home to several high-quality ethnic restaurants and shops.

Historic Rondo, located south of University Avenue, starting near the Minnesota State Capitol at Rice Street and ending west at Lexington Parkway, has, from its earliest days, been the heart of Saint Paul’s most prominent African-American community.

By the 20th century, the neighborhood centered around Rondo Avenue was home to thousands of residents who had established businesses, opened schools, founded churches and built a tightly-knit community.

James H Burrell

The Rondo neighborhood nurtured men and women who went on to lead the nation in arts and athletics, civil rights and education, law and politics. NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins, world-renowned photographer Gordon Parks and Hall of Fame baseball great Dave Winfield all trace their roots to Rondo.

Rondo District Map

In the 1960s, Rondo Avenue along with much of the heart of the neighborhood was demolished as part of the construction of Interstate 94. Undaunted, the community has kept the spirit of Rondo alive.

The annual Rondo Days celebration and the Selby Avenue Jazz Festival continue the neighborhood’s legacy of celebrating its artists and culture, as well as honoring the elders who have sustained the community while celebrating the young people who will carry it forward. A host of community-based organizations are preserving and building upon the roots of a neighborhood whose rich legacy is an important piece of Saint Paul’s past, present, and future.

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