illing Era power for our society, in this age of alternate forms of energy, falling water may seem like a quaint old-fashioned way to power a mill.

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1 Saint Anthony Falls Historic Walking Tour The tour starts at the Father Hennepin Park sign shown below, a half block south of the intersection of SE Main Street and SE 3 rd Avenue on the east side of the river which lies a few blocks south of Hennepin Avenue. Introduction Minneapolis began at Saint Anthony Falls. Water cascading over the falls provided power that could drive mills and machinery. The falls area has gone through many changes over time. Originally it was a natural waterfall, but by the1820 s, the first sawmills were built to harness the falls power. When the forests were depleted, flourmills gained prominence, making Minneapolis the largest milling center in the nation. Flourmills continued to dominate the falls until the 1960 s. Today the falls and river area is undergoing a revival as people and businesses begin to again appreciate its beauty. Stop 1 You are standing at one of the more unusual national parks in the United States. During the tour, you will move back and forth through time. Imagine the area as a natural waterfall, during its sawmilling and flourmill eras, as well as its present transformation into a treasured national park. If you close your eyes, you can hear the sound of the falls through the noise of the city. Early explorers reported that they could hear the falls roar many miles downstream. Open your eyes and you can see the Pillsbury A Mill, an obvious sign of the falls flour milling history. Turn south, towards the Stone Arch Bridge, and proceed a short distance to the Pillsbury A Mill sign. Read the sign text to answer the question below. Stop 2 Flour M illing Era Even though hydroelectric dams are still an important source of power for our society, in this age of alternate forms of energy, falling water may seem like a quaint old-fashioned way to power a mill. When did water power stop being used to drive the Pillsbury A Mill? a) In the 1880 s, when indoor plumbing became common in most homes. b) In the 1900 s, when electric lights became common in most homes. c) In the 1940 s, when automobiles became common in most households. d) In the 1950 s, when television became common in most homes. e) In the 1990 s, when personal computers became common in most homes. Continue south towards the Stone Arch Bridge, following the path on your right to the small marker for Pettingill s Wonderful Water. 1

2 Stop 3 Natural Waterfall Era The late 1800 s saw a boom in health spas. Below this spot at the bottom of the river bluff, M.P. Pettingill hoped to build a health resort that would rival its more famous competitors. Why did Pettingill s 1875 health resort fail only a few years later? Continue south towards the Stone Arch Bridge, along the trail to the small marker for the Portage Trail. Stop 4 Natural Waterfall Era The path beneath you is the same route as the ancient portage trail around the falls. River travelers had to land and carry all their possessions and canoes around the falls. Portage is a French word, that means to carry. Since the oldest memory of the falls, the portage trail was always on the east riverbank. As you walk this trail, you will be following the footsteps of almost every traveler, native, voyageur or explorer who visited the falls before the early 1800 s. This painting (left) of Father Hennepin at Saint Anthony Falls decorates the walls of the State Capital in St. Paul. The painting appears to show Father Hennepin and his party viewing the falls from the river s west bank. Considering the information above, is the painting s setting likely to be correct? Continue south towards the Stone Arch Bridge, along the trail past the first stairway down to the bluffs (which has been closed off for repair) until you come to the second stairway just before the Stone Arch Bridge. During winter, this stairway is closed, so you should proceed to Stop 6, but if the stairway is open, you can go down the steps to view the bluff rock and see the bridge from a perspective that many visitors miss. Stop 5 Natural Waterfall Era The soil above the river bluffs is glacial sediment, twenty thousand years old. Streams cut through this glacia l soil to uncover bedrock layers. These rocks formed from marine sediments deposited nearly 450 million years ago. A carbonate rock unit called the Platteville Formation forms the top of the bluffs. The Platteville is strong enough to resists erosion. Vertical cracks, called joints, run through the rock. When it does break, it forms vertical cliffs. Beneath the Platteville lies the Saint Peter Sandstone that was once beach sand. Its sand grains are only weakly held together and is easily eroded. The rock usually forms sloping, vegetation- covered slopes (see photo on next page). 2

3 Thus, the bedrock of this area basically consists of a strong rock layer that overlies an easily eroded rock layer. If flowing water makes its way through the Platteville Formation, it can remove the underlying Saint Peter Sandstone. As the sandstone is eroded away, the overlying rocks collapse, breaking along fractures, to form a new cliff face. Add flowing water and you have a waterfall. Note that the large block seen here is almost ready to fall; do not climb up to it or beneath it. The stones of the Stone Arch Bridge were cut from the same rock. You can get a closer look at this rock when you cross the bridge. If you go beneath the first arch of the bridge and face the river, the curved surface of the arch across from you creates a nice echo effect. Climb back up the stairs and stop at the Information Kiosk at the end of the Stone Arch Bridge. Stop 6 Natural Waterfall Era On the kiosk, look for the map labeled The Falls of Saint Anthony (upper right) that shows the falls retreat through time. Saint Anthony Falls first formed nearly eight and a half miles south of here when an older and larger waterfall split in two. Based on th e map, how long did it take the original, much larger waterfall to retreat from downtown St. Paul to the Fort Snelling area? How long did it take the much smaller Saint Anthony Falls to retreat from the Fort Snelling area to its present position in downtown Minneapolis? Based on how long it took Saint Anthony Falls to retreat the eight and a half miles (~ 45,000 ) from the Fort Snelling area, how long do you think the falls would take to retreat its last 1000 if the Army Corps of Engineers had not built a concrete apron and wall to hold it in place? a) roughly 25 years c) roughly 2, 500 years b) roughly 250 years d) roughly 25,000 years Turn and walk towards the Stone Arch Bridge, watching out for bikers. Stop at the Stone Arch Bridge sign at the start of the bridge on the north, upstream side. 3

4 Stop 7 Flour Milling Era In 1856, James J. Hill came to St. Paul. Hill rose through corporate ranks and soon become the president of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company, renamed the Great Northern Railway, in James J. Hill s most famous contribution to the Saint Anthony Falls area was the Stone Arch Bridge, officially opened in Hill s Stone Arch Bridge was built for his railroad and was not open to the public. The bridge is built of stone blocks that came from the same rock that forms the waterfalls edge. What was the main purpose of James J. Hill s Manitoba line? In other words, why was it important to the falls flour milling operation? Before continuing to the next stop, cross over to the south, downstream side of the bridge (taking care to watch for bike traffic). During the 1950 s-1960 s, the Army Corps of Engineers built a lock at Saint Anthony Falls to allow barge traffic to move past the falls. As part of this effort, the Tenth Avenue Bridge was taken down so barges could freely move up and down river. What evidence still remains to be seen of the Tenth Avenue Bridge? Cross back over to the other side of the bridge and continue along the bridge to the Sawmilling sign on the north side of the bridge. Stop 8 Sawmilling Era You are now looking down on the East Channel of Saint Anthony Falls, the first part of the falls area to be settled by Euro-Americans. The first sawmills were built upstream of this location on wooden platforms built out over the channel falls. Water rushing over the falls beneath the platforms drove the mills saws. The falls that gave birth to Saint Anthony are now largely hidden by trees and Excel Energy buildings, but if you look along the base of the riverbank, you can also see one of the water tunnels that ran beneath the Pillsbury A flour mill. Later mills were built along the river bank with tunnels to divert flowing water beneath them. The riverbank mills remain as testimony of the falls influence in Minneapolis history. This early sawmilling gave birth to Minneapolis, but came with its own price. How did sawmilling operations indirectly contribute to Minnesota s history of being a leader in medical inventions and innovations? One of the sign s images shows a large fire raging through the sawmill yards. Why do you think that fires would be a particular worry for the towns of Saint Anthony and Minneapolis during the falls sawmilling era? 4

5 Continue on across the Stone Arch Bridge until you come to the small metal plaque on the upstream side of the bridge that celebrates the Army Corps of Engineers. Stop 9 Sawmilling & Flour Milling Eras Below you Hennepin Island divides the falls into an east and west channel. The buildings that dominate the island belong to the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL). Part of the University of Minnesota, Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory is home to the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED). Behind this building you can see some of Excel Energy s equipment and buildings, part of a continuing legacy of hydroelectric power at the falls. Between the remaining falls and the buildings you can see a broad sloping surface lined by walls. This is a spillway, built to divert water safely over the falls during periods of high water floods (see photo above). You may be able to see a second set of small falls above the main falls. These are actually dams, originally built to channel most of the river flow from this central area to the two mills platforms on either riverbank. Notice the rushing water of the remaining open falls to the left of Hennepin Island (see photo on next page). This section of falling water is a remnant of the original falls. The falls that powered the platform and riverbank mills on the east bank are largely hidden by modern construction, those that powered the west bank mills were removed to make way for the large lock on your left. Only the central part of the falls survived. It was the one part of the falls never used for waterpower. Over the years, the reports of Saint Anthony Falls size varied dramatically. Which of the following do you think came closest to correctly reporting the falls height? a) Father Hennepin, a French Priest, reported the falls as being 40 to over 60 high. b) Jonathan Carver, a Connecticut explorer reported the falls as being 30 high. c) Major Forsyth, an Indian Agent reported the falls as being 16 to 20 high. d) Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a missionary reported the falls as being 40 high. (For this one, you may find it useful to look at the wall at the bottom of the falls on the right. The wall is roughly six feet tall, so you can use it to estimate the falls height.) In the far background you can see the towers of the Hennepin Avenue suspension bridge (see photo on next page). This is actually the fourth Hennepin Avenue bridge. The first of these was a simple suspension bridge, which was the first bridge to cross the Mississippi River anywhere along its length. In tribute to that first bridge, all three of the following Hennepin Avenue bridges have been suspension bridges. 5

6 Cross to the other side of the Stone Arch Bridge, to look at the long gravel bar described below and the area where Spirit Island once stood. Then cross back to the north, upstream side of the bridge and proceed to the Changing the Shape of the Falls sign to answer the question for Stop 10. Stop 10 Natural Waterfall Era Below you a long gravel bar marks the edge of the barge canal leading to the upstream lock. Towards the downstream end of this gravel bar, there used to be an island known as Spirit Island. Although Spirit Island was never inhabited by humans, who did live on the island for centuries and fished its waters? The section of falls that powered the early platform sawmills on the west bank was removed to put in the large lock to the west (completed in 1963). A lock allows barges and boats to pass by the falls. It is essentially a water elevator. When a boat enters one side of the lock, the lock operator will close the waterproof doors and pumps will raise or lower the water level, allowing the boat to move out the other doors when they are opened. The lock was not the only construction project necessary to let barges move up and down the river. Take a moment to examine the exposed sides of the bridge below the railings. What change in building materials occurs at this point? Why do you think they had to redesign the bridge and replace a couple of its arches just in this area? 6

7 Once more, brave runners and bikers to cross to the other side of the bridge and go to the two signs mounted by the binoculars. Stop 11 Flour Milling Era This is where the west bank milling operations were concentrated. The building that looks like it is in ruins is what remains of the second Washburn A mill. In 1991, the abandoned mill building was destroyed by fire. The Minnesota Historical Society acquired the ruins and converted them into the Mills City Museum, which showcases the history of the falls and its milling operations. A second row of mills, now long gone, filled the grass covered slope of the riverbank. The only reminder of these mills is the row of gravel-filled trail races, the remnants of the tunnels that channeled water beneath the mills to drive thei r machinery. Milling at the falls not only produced flour, but led to other businesses as well. Name at least one other business that found a home at the falls because of the milling operations. Continue down the Stone Arch Bridge until you come to the only two black stones in the bridge sides. Stop 12 Flour Milling E ra Looking over the side of the bridge onto the tunnels and paths, you will see ruins that were once part of the basement and tunnel structures beneath a row of small mills. For many years, there were two rival cities on each bank of the river, Minneapolis on the west and Saint Anthony on the east. Consider how many mills there must have been on this side compared to the few tunnels you saw on the east bank. How might this difference help to explain why Minneapolis eventually grew to incorporate Saint Anthony? 7

8 Continue to the end of the Stone Arch Bridge and information kiosk just beyond the bridge s end. walk up to the Stop 13 Park Era Transforming Saint Anthony Falls from a natural waterfall into an industrial center built the city of Minneapolis and affected forests, agriculture, railroads and towns across the upper Midwest. The falls natural beauty was largely lost and the impacts of milling operations at the falls affected much of the state one way or another. As an example, how did milling operations at St. Anthony end up affecting the Ojibway people living near Lake Itasca? Fortunately, there is a concerted effort to preserve what remains of the falls area and its history. Although this tour is at an end, you are encouraged to either follow the trail below the Stone Arch Bridge to explore Mill Ruins Park or walk up the street towards the ruins of the Washburn A Mill to visit the Mills City Museum. The Mills City Museum was built in the ruins of the second Washburn A Mill. What happened to the first Washburn A Mill? All photos on the tour are copyright free, except for the historic image of Spirit Island and the painting of Father Hennepin at the falls. Those two images are courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society. 8

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