Scottish Place Names
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

For comparability with other cities around the world, Minneapolis-St. Paul has been defined as the entire urban area including and surrounding the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In addition to taking in the whole of Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, this area includes most of Anoka County to the north and Washington County to the east, together with the suburbanised sections of Dakota and Scott Counties to the south and Carver and Wright Counties to the west.

Of the names of the 345 communities and neighbourhoods in Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul that have been identified to date, 57 (16.5%) are based, in whole or in part, on place names that can also be found in Scotland, on Scottish family names, or on Scottish words. Of course, many of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but at least 29 (8.4%) of these appear to have a unique connection with Scotland.
Picture of Minneapolis from St Paul via Wikimedia.

Communities, neighbourhoods, districts and outlying suburbs with names that occur only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles, and/or are definitely, or most probably, of Scottish origin are:

Some of the following localities may also prove on further investigation to have a link with Scotland. However, these names are also associated with other parts of the British Isles:

A final category of neighbourhood and suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland, or family names that could be Scottish but which, in the case of Minneapolis-St. Paul, definitely or most probably have no Scottish connection.

Many lakes, parks and golf courses throughout the metropolitan area also have names that are likely to be of Scottish origin. A few of these names could also prove to be English (e.g., Gray, Kellogg) or Irish (e.g., Kennedy, McMurray) but the vast majority are bound to have Scottish or Scots-Irish links. The following list is far from comprehensive - there may be several smaller parks and reserves whose names were not given on the maps that were consulted as well as larger parks in the outer suburbs.

In company with most American cities, the Scottish influence on local place names in Minneapolis-St. Paul is not as marked as it is in the average Canadian, Australian, New Zealand or Caribbean city. However, compared with all other major American cities (metropolitan population of 1,000,000 or more) the use of names that are definitely or most probably Scottish or Scots-Irish appears to be above average, based on current estimates. In some ways this is an unexpected finding since the twin cities are not regarded as having a particularly strong Scottish heritage (that honour going to the Germans, Scandinavians and New Englanders). The only place names with a direct link to Scotland appear to be Afton, Edina, Morningside (probably) and Gladstone (more indirectly), together with the names of at least five golf courses, the others referring to pioneers and politicians with Scottish family names. Minneapolis-St. Paul's place names nevertheless provide a good American example of the far-reaching effects of the Scottish diaspora. Acknowledgements:

© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, February 2009

If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is

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