Destination Discovery: Peanuts on Parade, St. Paul, Minnesota

by Janis on June 28, 2012

Mr. Jones and I are both childhood fans of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang created by cartoonist Charles Schulz. We associate Santa Rosa, California – gateway to our favorite Sonoma County wineries — with Mr. Schulz and the Peanuts comic strip.

Santa Rosa, after all, is the home of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center and the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, home to  the beloved Warm Puppy Café that features a “Snoopy’ s Special” kids lunch served in a red dog dish.

Peanuts Began In St. Paul, Minnesota

On a wintertime visit to St. Paul, Minnesota, we were delighted to find bronze statues of Linus and Lucy as well as other Peanuts characters in the Landmark Plaza and Rice Park in downtown St. Paul.

Charles Schulz, we learned, was born in Minneapolis but moved with his family at age four to St. Paul, living at 1680 James Avenue and later at 473 Macalester Street.

Schulz started his lengthy cartoon career in St. Paul, with Li’l Folks, his first regular cartoon published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press between 1947 and 1950. Schulz’s Peanuts cartoon strip debuted on October 2, 1950.

Move to Northern California

In 1958 Schulz moved to Sebastopol, California, before moving to Santa Rosa in 1969, the same year that he opened the Redwood Empire Ice Arena.

Despite Schulz’s moves and lifelong association with both figure skating and ice hockey, he created the Peanuts cartoon five days a week for nearly 50 years. Schulz only took one five-week vacation from the strip, to celebrate his 75th birthday.

St. Paul’s Tribute to Schulz

The city of St. Paul hasn’t forgotten its favorite cartoonist native son.  In 2000, the city started Peanuts on Parade, a tribute to Schulz that placed 101 five-foot-tall statues of Snoopy throughout St. Paul.  “Charlie Brown Around Town” was the 2001 theme, while 2002 was “Looking for Lucy”, followed by “Linus Blankets St. Paul” in 2003. The parade ended in 2004 with Snoopy on his doghouse.

At the end of each summer the statues were auctioned with the proceeds funding artists’ scholarship and the permanent bronze statues of Peanuts characters that are now located in Landmark Plaza and Rice Park in downtown St. Paul.

Fittingly, in the winter time, there is a temporary ice rink for skating in the same area.

 

Iconic Restaurant Ideal Stop for Lunch or Drink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearby the historic Saint Paul Hotel overlooks Rice Park and the Peanuts statues. Inside the Saint Paul Hotel, we loved having hand-crafted cocktails at the beautiful mahogany and brass bar in the St. Paul Grill.

The next time we are in Sonoma Wine Country, we plan to continue our Snoopy memories by visiting Depot Park in downtown Santa Rosa, home to another bronze statue of Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Are you a Peanuts fan?  Who was your favorite character?

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