Thomas Dale Neighborhood
The Thomas-Dale Neighborhood in Saint Paul, known as Frogtown was originally settled in the 1870s as the Saint Paul downtown outgrew its borders with immigrants from Germany, Poland, and Ireland. Frogtown is an English version of the German word Froschburg.
The residents were blue collar railroad workers that worked on the nearby St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. The station opened in 1882 and workers needed a nearby place to live. Other industries began to open including the Saint Paul Foundry.
As the real estate development in Frogtown moved westward, modest wood framed and brick homes were built on small city lots. Most of these houses have been replaced over the years, but a few Victorian homes from the 1880’s still exist. Many of these houses still have their leaded glass and arched windows. Many of the Victorian middle-class homes were converted into duplexes and triplexes.
Currently, more than half of all housing in the area consists of low-cost, mass-produced homes built before 1940 with many built before 1900. The neighborhood population has increased in part because of Frogtown’s low housing costs and central location.
During the 1990s, the population of Frogtown exploded with a large infusion of first generation immigrants. It is one of St. Paul’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods with more than 78% of the residents identifying themselves as Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic/Latino, or American Indian.
While the railroad plays an insignificant role in daily life in the Frogtown neighborhood, The Central Corridor light rail line is expected to open into the neighborhood in 2014 with a stop at Dale Street and University.