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Highland Park is a neighborhood in the southwestern corner of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Also known as Highland District Council, it lies along the Mississippi River across from Fort Snelling and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.
A veteran of the Mexican-American War, William Finn was the first person to settle in Highland Park permanently in 1848. He was granted a large portion of land along the Mississippi River and built a house on the land that the University of St. Thomas now occupies. During this time, much of the Highland Park area was encompassed by the Fort Snelling reservation, but by the mid 1850's the government opened up most of that land for sale.
In 1925, the Ford Motor Company opened the Twin Cities Assembly Plant -- originally for Model T automobiles -- in Highland Park and caused much of the remaining farm land in the area to be subdivided for the auto workers. Soon after, the Intercity Bridge was built to carry workers over the river from Minneapolis to work in the plant. Construction started in 1927 on the Highland Park Water Tower, a structure that still stands today and has become a landmark on the highest part of Saint Paul.
Following World War II, Highland Park experienced a population boom, and a large number of new houses were built, the Highland Village Shopping Center was expanded and the Sibley Plaza Shopping Center was finished. Highland Park currently is a mix of well-maintained older housing, commercial and retail property and light industrial buildings. The Ford Plant was producing the Ford Ranger pickup truck and the Mazda B-Series small pickups until as recently as 2008.
Highland Park became the city's primary Jewish neighborhood after most of the Jewish population moved from the Summit-University neighborhood in the mid-1900s, and it is home to most of the city's synagogues.
Highland Park is served locally by the Villager newspaper which has a subscription base of 65,000. The Highland Park Business Association in cooperation with local community volunteers presents Highland Fest, in the Highland Village, an annual festival that features music, carnival rides, an art fair and fireworks. The neighborhood is home to the public Highland Park Senior High School and the private Cretin-Derham Hall High School.