In the early 1900s, Payne-Phalen was home to Jewish, Swedish, Thai and Chinese immigrants. During the mid-century, it became a tidy enclave for workers at industrial sites operated by Whirlpool, Hamm’s Brewery, Seeger Refrigerator Company and 3M. More recently, Twin Citians of Asian, Latin American and African descent have begun to call Payne-Phalen home. Today, the once sleepy community is considered the Twin Cities’ next “hot” neighborhood on the Greater East Side. While ensuring local businesses continue to thrive—such as Yarusso Bros. Italian Restaurant, East Side Thai and By More Taqueria— the community is actively re-branding itself and welcoming new establishments like the popular Minnesota Music Café and Ward 6 restaurant/bar.
Located mere minutes from downtown St. Paul, Payne-Phalen has a rich architectural and cultural history. Worker housing constructed in the late-1800s and early 1900s—in the Italianate, Folk Victorian, Queen Anne and Bungalow styles—adds to the community’s charm. So does Lake Phalen Regional Park, which includes a popular lake for swimming and fishing, golf course, walking paths and more. Along Phalen Park, rambler and ranch-style homes diversify the housing stock. Recreation centers and parks are plentiful, as are public, private and charter schools. The Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary touches the neighborhood, and the Gateway Trail for biking/hiking/cross-country skiing links Phalen Park to Stillwater.