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Minneapolis Riverfront District · PDF file 2019. 12. 11. · + Visit the restored Ard Godfrey house, the oldest home in Minneapolis. + Experience the power of St. Anthony Falls from

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  • Endless reasons to visit the Minneapolis Riverfront District

    Help Minneapolis celebrate its birth and other significant anniversaries

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    Learn about the role Minneapolis played in the creation of the State of Minnesota 150 years ago and many other riverfront “firsts” that have impacted the world.

    Did you know? The first permanent bridge ever built across the - Mississippi River (shown above) opened in 1855 at what is now Hennepin Avenue, a popular crossing point for American Indians for hundreds of years. The first man-made dam across the Mississippi was - completed in Minneapolis in 1858 to divert water into millponds on each side of the river. The first central hydroelectric plant in the nation was - built in Minneapolis in 1882. The first and only stone arch bridge ever built across - the Mississippi was built in 1883 in Minneapolis. Minnesota’s first presidential nominating convention - was held in the Industrial Exposition Building in Minneapolis in 1892. Minneapolis’ flour milling - industry brought about many marketing firsts, including the first radio cooking show (Betty Crocker, starting in 1924) and the first radio jingle song in 1926 (“Have You Tried Wheaties?”).

    To learn more about the birthplace of Minneapolis, visit To learn more about Minneapolis’ 150th anniversary, visit

    History Track the founding and growth of Minneapolis and its glory days + as the flour milling capital of the world while visiting the Mill City Museum, Mill Ruins Park, First Bridge Park, Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam visitor center, Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, Whitney Plaza, Milwaukee Depot and Water Power Park. Explore the beautiful St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail + on a self-guided walking tour. Visit the restored Ard Godfrey house, + the oldest home in Minneapolis. Experience the power of St. Anthony Falls from the + magnificent Stone Arch Bridge. Minneapolis grew up around the power of the falls.

    Culture and entertainment Take in performances at two Tony Award-winning Minneapolis + theaters — the Guthrie and Theatre de la Jeune Lune. See cutting-edge art at the Soap Factory. + Revel in the literary arts at the Open Book. + Enjoy a movie, live music or some comedy. +

    Food and shopping Savor the cuisine at an outstanding restaurant. + Sip a cocktail on an outdoor patio. + E + xplore the fascinating shops in Northeast and the North Loop.

    Parks and recreation Walk, bike or blade miles of trails. + Find out why this special area is a national park and + earn your Junior Ranger badge. Take in the sights on the Minneapolis Queen excursion boat, a + Twin Cities Trolley ride or a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride. Explore the district on a Segway tour. + Ice skate at the historic Depot Ice Rink. + Relax and admire scenic views of the river, the downtown + skyline and the historic district from the Riverfront parks. Celebrate with one of the many festivals, events + or fireworks displays.

    Information For things to do in the Minneapolis Riverfront District, + visit Information hotline: (612) 673-5123 +

    Visit Minneapolis’ birthplace on the Mississippi River

    Walking tour map inside

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    First bridge to cross the Mississippi River, at what is now Hennepin Avenue, shown in 1868

  • Nicollet Island & the River

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    Northeast Southeast

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    Nicollet Island & the River Nicollet Island first served as a stepping stone for crossing the river. Today, it is a charming neighborhood of rehabilitated historic homes and historic industrial buildings that have been preserved for new uses. The island is a treasury of residential architectural styles that were popular in the late 19th century.

    The magnificent 1 Stone Arch Bridge is the first and only stone arch bridge to cross the Mississippi River. It was an engineering achievement when completed as a railroad bridge in 1883 (another 125th anniversary!). For more information about the Stone Arch Bridge and the many other fascinating bridges across the Mississippi in Minneapolis, visit

    The waterfall now known as St. Anthony Falls held spiritual power for American Indians who lived in this area for millen- nia. It was the hydropower potential of those falls that attracted white settlers to this point on the Mississippi River in the mid-19th century. Learn how water can create power and the riverfront’s long role in supplying hydropower at Water Power Park, 2 where you can get a close-up view of the falls.

    The 3 horseshoe dam you can see in the river today is the successor to the rock-filled, timber-crib dam that was completed in 1858. This cooperative effort of the milling companies on both sides of the river was the first man-made dam across the Mississippi. It channeled the water into millponds on each side of the river.

    The East Side A commercial area for the early com- munity, the Northeast and Southeast areas once again bustle with shops, restaurants and galleries. The historic 1 Ard Godfrey House (1849) is

    the oldest frame house remaining in the city and was the location for many meet- ings that helped shape the new com- munity of St. An- thony. The house is open for tours on weekends from May 31 to Aug. 31. 2 Our Lady of Lourdes

    Church, built in 1857, is the oldest continuously operating church in Min-

    neapolis and this year will celebrate a major renovation.

    The long-gone but impressive 3 Industrial Exposition

    Building (1886-1930s) was the site of Minnesota’s first presi- dential nominating convention, the 1892 Republican Conven- tion (the only presi- dential convention held in the state until 2008).

    In the city’s early years, historic 4 Main Street was

    part of the Red River oxcart trail that brought trade goods from northern Minnesota to the boat landings in Saint Paul in exchange for manufactured goods. The restaurants in Riverplace and St. Anthony Main occupy historic rehabilitated commercial and industrial buildings. The handsome 5 Martin-Morrison Blocks

    (1858) date from the city’s early years, as does the 1855 Upton

    Block – the oldest surviving brick structure in Minneapolis.

    The power of St. Anthony Falls first was harnessed for

    sawmilling, and for many years Min- neapolis was the lumber milling capital of the nation. Flour mills later supplanted

    the sawmills, and the Minneapolis riverfront

    grew into the largest direct- drive waterpower operation the world has ever seen.

    This flour milling was the world’s first industrial-scale food processing and made Minneapolis the flour milling capital of the world from 1880 to 1930.

    The limestone 6 Pillsbury A Mill is one

    of two National Historic Landmarks on the

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    Our Lady of Lourdes, 2007

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    Stone Arch Bridge, 1900

    Oxcarts on Main Street, 1854 Minnesota Historical Society

    Minneapolis riverfront, recognized for its significance as the birthplace of the Pillsbury Company and the largest flour mill in the world when it was built in 1881. It was also the first mill in the world to install electric lights. 7 The Soap Factory, an art gallery specializing in cutting-edge visual arts, is housed in the historic National Purity Soap Factory building and is one of the many riverfront organizations celebrating an important anniversary this year.

    8 Father Hennepin Bluffs Park is one of many riverfront park areas owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. It is believed to be where Father Louis Hennepin became the first white man to see the falls while traveling with the Dakota in 1680. Today the park’s band shell features summer music. The lower portion of the park offers a view of the only remaining segment of the waterfall ledge that has not been covered by a concrete apron. The Park Board, many of whose original founders were riverfront businessmen, also celebrates an important anniversary in 2008 (Congratulations on 125 years!).

  • Nicollet Island & the River

    North Loop


    Base map © Hedberg Maps, Inc.



    Mill District








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    If you’d like to learn more about the birth

    of the City of Minneapolis at St. Anthony Falls

    on the Mississippi River, visit

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    The West Side Explore the North Loop’s wide variety of shops, restaurants and galleries. The Theatre de la Jeune Lune offers a year- round season of plays known for their visual uniqueness.