Endless reasons to visit the
Minneapolis Riverfront District
Help Minneapolis celebrate its birth
and other significant anniversaries
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
To learn more about the birthplace of Minneapolis,
To learn more about Minneapolis’ 150th anniversary,
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.
For things to do in the Minneapolis Riverfront District, +
Information hotline: (612) 673-5123 +
Visit Minneapolis’ birthplace
on the Mississippi River
Walking tour map inside
First bridge to cross the Mississippi River, at what is now
Hennepin Avenue, shown in 1868
& the River
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,
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 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-
May 31 to
2 Our Lady of Lourdes
Church, built in 1857, is the oldest
continuously operating church in Min-
neapolis and this year will celebrate a
The long-gone but impressive
3 Industrial Exposition
Building (1886-1930s) was the site
of Minnesota’s first presi-
convention, the 1892
tion (the only presi-
held in the state
In the city’s early
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
capital of the
nation. Flour mills
the sawmills, and the
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.
6 Pillsbury A Mill is one
of two National Historic
Landmarks on the
Our Lady of Lourdes, 2007
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!).