This branch of the Hennepin County Library, as well as this neighborhood, is named for Pierre Bottineau, a Métis trader. This building was once the carriage house and millwright shed of the Grain Belt Brewery. But long before it stood here, Bottineau owned this land. He was not only the most prominent guide on the trail, but a successful land speculator, who also took an important role in politics.
After living near Fort Snelling, Bottineau bought 160 acres of land in St. Anthony and built a house, the second in the settlement. An 1849 census shows 17 people in his household, including his brothers and their families, as well as business partners and employees. In 1854, Bottineau moved his children, his mother, and a new wife, Martha Gervais, to a house near today’s Maple Grove, then called Bottineau’s Prairie. At each new site, Bottineau was accompanied by a Métis community.
In 1850, the first hotel in St. Anthony, the St. Charles Hotel, opened its doors at Marshall Street Northeast and Sixth Avenue Northeast, not far from Pierre Bottineau’s home. The St. Charles Hotel was the center of St. Anthony social life in its early years.
The Ox Cart Trail crossed to the east of Marshall Street at Lowry and passed about a block east of where the library stands. Then it probably ran between Main and Second streets, on what was then Prince Street, past the St. Anthony of Padua Church.