The St. Paul and Pacific was the first railroad through the future St Louis Park in 1867.

It originated as the Minnesota and Pacific Road, chartered on May 22, 1857 to provide service from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. It went bankrupt during the panic of 1857 after 62 miles were built and was taken over by the St. Paul and Pacific in 1866. In 1873 it was taken over by receiver Jesse Farley, who represented Dutch bankers. In May 1879 James J. Hill and a syndicate of St. Paul and Canadians acquired and renamed it the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba. The new owners relocated the line, which originally ran south of Cedar Lake, to pass north of the lake. The southern rails were removed and the land returned to farms. By 1889 it was known as the Great Northern.

In the 1920s, before Highway 100 was built and before Louisiana was extended from 32nd Street to Excelsior Blvd., the tracks made it difficult for people to travel north/south. There was a wooden bridge close to France Ave. and another at Falvey Ave. [Louisiana].  The narrow underpass at Virginia Ave. was built in 1924.

In 1970 the Great Northern became the Burlington Northern, and is now the BNSF, the SF standing for Santa Fe. The so-called Hutchinson Branch, turning southwest at Virginia Avenue, has since been abandoned. In 1978 the Burlington Northern receiving yard between Highway 100 and France Ave. was removed and made available for development.

A description of the St Paul & Pacific’s route through Hennepin County can be found here.