The scene of circuses, celebrations and concerts and seven years older than New York’s famous Central Park, this land was designated you Public Square in 1849 by John R. Irvine, a territorial pioneer. and Henry M. Rice territorial delegate in United States Senator after statehood. Rice for whom the park was named was native of Vermont who arrived at Fort Snelling in 1839. In addition to the offices he held he was active in the fur trade and served as an intermediary in treaty negotiations with the Souix and Chippewa Indians.
The park was little used in largely uncared for until 1860 when Mayor John S. Prince procured shade trees to enhance the grounds. In 1872, summer evening concerts were initiated by the Great Western Band and a year later a pair of squirrels was given for the park as a gesture of goodwill by the chief of police in Memphis, Tennessee.
Among the many notable been celebrated in Rice Park was the 1883 reception held to mark the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad the fete was attended by President Chester A. Arthur, General Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.
-from a plaque erected by the City Planning Board of Saint Paul in June 1888.