There are many cities in the United States named after saints. This reflects the European settlement of America by Catholic countries like Spain and France. While many of these have remained small towns, several have developed into important or at least historic cities. Four are below.
St Augustine, FL is the oldest city founded by Europeans in the being-explored New World. This town and tourist magnet dates from 1565 and now has a population of about 15,000, making it the smallest sainted town on my list. All Catholic saints have one day each year when they are honored by serious believers. St. Augustine had a new governor in 1565 named Pedro Menendez. Pedro named the town he founded after St. Augustine because he landed in Florida on Augustine’s special feast day, August 28. Traveler St. Augustine led a sinful youth and wrote about his dissipated early life in a book of confessions while in his 40s and close to conversion. It did not surprise me to learn that he is the patron saint of brewers.
San Antonio, TX was named for St. Anthony of Padua, a very important saint. He was always a very popular Franciscan preacher and teacher and is the patron saint of stolen stuff. He was usually shown holding the baby Jesus. He was born only 13 years after the also very popular St. Francis of Assisi. Anthony was Portuguese and a noted traveler.
St. Louis, my hometown, was founded by the French in 1764. The main population center on the Mississippi River north of French New Orleans, St. Louis was actually kind of named after 2 French kings, the 9th and 15th Louises on the French throne. St. Louis founder Pierre Laclede named the city he was creating to honor both the canonized Louis and the Louis on the throne when St. Louis was formed. There were 18 Louises in all. Louis IX was the only French king who became a saint, and Louis XV, nicknamed The Beloved, was the king at the time of St. Louis’ founding. He reigned for 59 years.
Missouri has a lot of towns named after saints. St. Peters, population 57,000+, is just one of them. Think about St. Joseph, MO. But California probably has more sainted cities, like San Diego and San Francisco.
St. Paul, MN is a large and important sainted city. Founded in 1841 and named by a French priest, it was called St. Paul to honor a Catholic saint. However, locals still call it “Pig’s Eye”. St Paul was kind of a rebel saint. He was born in Tarsus, Turkey, and didn’t convert to Christianity until the 1st century. He was not one of the original apostles and was not a fan of believers in Jesus Christ until after his interesting conversion. He became such a voluminous and fiery writer about Christianity that he seemed like one of the 12. He was a serious traveler who died in Rome.