Promotional poster for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Pioneer Press Lith. St. Paul, ST. PAUL ICE PALACE & WINTER CARNIVAL OPENS January 25. 1888. And Continues Ten Days. / THE Famous Albert Lea Route IS THE FAVORITE BETWEEN CHICAGO AND MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL… St. Paul, 1887.
Chromolithograph, 27”h x 13 5/8”w at neat line plus margins.

A marvelous chromolithograph promotional poster for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is the oldest of its kind in the United States. It was first held in 1886 in response to, of all things, a slight by the Eastern media:

“Several Eastern newspaper correspondents kindled the start of the Winter Carnival by visiting Saint Paul in the fall of 1885 and returning home to report that Minnesota, in general, was another Siberia, unfit for human habitation.


“A group of business owners decided to retaliate by creating a wintertime festival which would showcase all the beauty of Minnesota winters. They worked with the City of Montreal which already had a winter carnival in place. Due to a small pox epidemic which suspended the 1886 Montreal Festival, Saint Paul lured Alexander Hutchinson, the designer of Montreal’s ice palaces in 1883, 1884, and 1885 to blueprint Saint Paul’s first ice castle. The castle was constructed on February 1, 1886 at a cost of $5,210 with a height of 106 feet.” (web site of the Winter Carnival)

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival survives and thrives to this day, featuring among other things parades, much beer, parades, ice palaces and the continued patronage of “King Borealis” and the “Queen of the Snows,” accompanied by some 20 members of their “Royal Family.”

Offered here is a chromolithographic poster promoting the second Carnival, which opened in January of 1888. It features a central image of the ice palace erected for the previous year’s Carnival, flanked by a portrait vignette of patron “King Borealis.” Below this is a large image of a toboggan hill at the Carnival, with a vignette of ice skaters in a circular frame. All this is surmounted by text promoting the Albert Lea Route of the Chicago Rock Island Railway, which connected Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The poster appears to be extraordinarily rare, and I have been unable to locate any other examples.

Not in OCLC or the on-line catalogs of the Minnesota Historical Society or the Jay T. Last Collection at the Huntington Library.


Old folds flattened, side margins trimmed to 1/16” of neatline. Backed with canvas by a previous owner.