Raspberry Island (Minnesota)

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Raspberry Island
Nickname: Navy Island
Raspberry Island (Minnesota) park, March 2012.jpg
The east side of Raspberry Island in 2012
EtymologyEndemic wild raspberries
Coordinates44°56′32″N 93°05′26″W / 44.9421879°N 93.0904963°W / 44.9421879; -93.0904963Coordinates: 44°56′32″N 93°05′26″W / 44.9421879°N 93.0904963°W / 44.9421879; -93.0904963[1]
Adjacent bodies of waterMississippi River
Area8,094 m2 (87,120 sq ft)
Highest elevation212 m (696 ft)
United States
CitySaint Paul

Raspberry Island (formerly called Navy Island) is an island in the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Buildings for the Minnesota Boat Club have sat upon the island since 1885; the current boathouse was built in 1910. Between 1949 and 1968, the island was used by the United States Navy. Today, it is the last true island in Saint Paul, and is home to paths, a plaza, and a bandshell.


Raspberry Island was originally named for the wild raspberries that grew on it, with the name appearing on the first map of downtown Saint Paul in 1851.[2] In 1885, a wooden structure was built to house the Minnesota Boat Club, the oldest athletic club in the state.[3] The Club constructed a new home in 1910, a George H. Carsley-designed building in Mission Revival-style architecture that is still used today.[3] The name Raspberry Island remained until 1949,[2] when the United States Navy built a small base on the eastern side of the island—the west side was owned by the Boat Club—and it subsequently became known as Navy Island.[2][3] Flooding in 1965 washed the 150-foot (46 m) wooden bridge connecting the island to the mainland from its moorings and away downstream.[4] The Navy departed from the island in 1968.[3] Many downtown Saint Paul employees used the island as an unofficial parking lot during the 1970s and 1980s.[5] A 1995 Saint Paul City Council resolution changed the name back to Raspberry Island.[1]

Log jams were recorded near the bridge that connects the island to the mainland in 2010 and again in 2013.[6] These caused trouble for local boaters whose docking space was diminished by the presence of the logs.[6] The City of Saint Paul funded removal of the logs in both instances.[6][7]

Attributes and features[edit]

Picnickers sitting by the new bandshell added during Raspberry Island's renovation

Raspberry Island is the last true island in Saint Paul and is located under the Wabasha Street Bridge.[5] It has a total area of 2 acres (8,094 m2)[5] and sits at an elevation of 696 feet (212 m) above sea level.[1] The Raspberry Island Bridge connects it to the mainland.[8]


A renovation of Raspberry Island that bolstered and added amenities to the "rather scruffy, barren place" occurred in 2007–2008.[3] The shoreline was strengthened with limestone riprap; public restrooms were added to the Boat Club building; a plaza, trails, and an event lawn were constructed near a new bandshell designed for Saint Paul's Schubert Club; and 131 trees and numerous other shrubs, grasses, and flowers were planted.[3][5] The project cost $5 million.[5]

Local WCCO-TV named the island's Boat Club one of Minnesota's best places at which to hold a wedding reception, noting that "[w]hile it might be located downtown, none of the bustle or the noise of the city reaches the island".[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Feature Detail Report for: Raspberry Island". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Empson 2006, p. 226.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Millett 2010, p. 86.
  4. ^ Anderson, D. B.; Burmeister, I. L. (1970). "Floods of March—May 1965" (PDF). United States Department of the Interior. p. A17.
  5. ^ a b c d e Yuen, Laura (July 31, 2007). "Raspberry Island gets a makeover". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "St. Paul Yacht Club: Log Jam Is Getting Dangerously Large". WCCO-TV. June 29, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  7. ^ Tapp, Steve (March 2014). "Small-Boat Harbor Dredging, St. Paul, Minnesota (Harbor Dredging)" (PDF). Army.mil. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  8. ^ Raspberry Island Park Renovation (PDF) (Map). City of Saint Paul, Division of Parks and Recreation, Design Section. July 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 28, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  9. ^ Schramm, Adrian (October 3, 2013). "Best Places To Host A Wedding Reception In Minnesota". WCCO-TV. Archived from the original on February 12, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.


  • Empson, Donald (2006). The Street Where You Live. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0816647293.
  • Millett, Larry (2010). AIA Guide to Downtown St. Paul. Saint Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0873517218.

External links[edit]