Hot and steamy is the best description for Minneapolis in the summer. There’s plenty of water. The Twin Cities sidle up to the great Mississippi River by design and the river front teems with industry past and present. Discover riverside Minneapolis and a powerful history preserved in shadowy remnants at the water’s edge.
St. Anthony Falls is the only true waterfall on the Mississippi. For centuries Indians speared fish and built villages along the shore.
“St. Anthony Falls is a sacred place that was created by Mother Earth as a teaching place.” ~ Dave Larsen, Former Tribal Chair, Lower Sioux Indian Community
Early tourists came to marvel at the power of the falls. Industrious engineers envisioned deep tubes of water powering great engines and soon a building boom was on. Between 1880 to 1920 Minneapolis became the “flour milling capitol of the world.” Central to the Midwest, grain trains emptied their bounty as General Mills, Pillsbury,and Betty Crocker became household words.
Flour dust can create a dangerous fog. Try as they did to filter the flammable grindings, the mills burst into flames several times before being permanently closed. A phoenix has risen as the best of the remains have been re-purposed into a waterfront park with the graceful Stone Arch Bridge and the towering Mill City Museum.
The pedestrian / bike trail on top of the Stone Arch Bridge is a people magnet. Over 2,100 feet long, it’s built of native granite and limestone. There are 23 arches spanning the river just below St. Anthony Falls. Bicyclists, Segway tours, and families with strollers, slid past all of us enjoying a welcome, cooling breeze.
Just past west side hotels and condos there’s a small parking lot. Walking down the ramp, I ended up at the water’s edge to find a warren of ruins and trails – the remains of the old mill. It’s a mysterious place, well worth taking the time to explore.
For being on the edge of such a large city the area is quiet except for the distant shush of the St. Anthony Waterfall. The craftsmanship in stone was mesmerizing.
Twisted metal pieces jutted into the sky. Grass and wildflowers flowed wherever they could. The trail makes a refreshing stop before dinner or a visit to the Mill Museum at the top of the trail as you discover Minneapolis.
If you go:
Stone Arch Bridge – History and things to do
Like this post? Share it with a friend.
Proudly a member of the Weekend Wanderlust, The Weekend Travel Inspiration and the Weekly Postcard Linkup. Check out the fine weekly travel stories.