Minnesota is a state full of history. When Thomas Jefferson initiated the Louisiana Purchase, he had no idea that the land contained such vast resources. Minneapolis, the city to the west of the Mississippi River, was the flour milling capital of the world based on its close proximity to the river. The population of Minneapolis expanded rapidly with the help of some great founders. Summer is the best time to visit historically important sites in Minneapolis because many of these locations are only open for tours from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
Stone Arch Bridge

(credit: CBS)

The Stone Arch Bridge
6th Ave SE and Main St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Built in 1893 by railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill, the Stone Arch Bridge was the main link between the east and west milling districts along the Mississippi. This passageway allowed for increased traffic from one side of the river to the other. See this site with a bike ride or two-mile walk along the designated trail. The best view of the St. Anthony Waterfalls and the Minneapolis skyline can be seen from this bridge. Directly adjacent to the bridge is the Mill Ruins Park, another famous and beautiful site.

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(credit: nps.gov)

St. Anthony Falls
704 S 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 313-7793

The only true waterfall on the Mississippi River, the Falls are known as the birthplace of Minneapolis. St. Anthony Falls is located along the historic Riverfront District in Minneapolis where rehabilitated historic homes and buildings can be seen as well. The power generated from these falls provided a foundation for an industrial boom in the area. Although first used as a spiritual location for the Dakota Indians, entrepreneurs saw the potential and built up a flour mill alongside these waters. The falls are best seen from the Stone Arch Bridge, another important location for Minneapolis history.

(credit: Andrea Wodele)

The Minnehaha Depot
Minnehaha Parkway and Highway 55
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(651) 228-0263

An important and popular transportation hub located near the Minnehaha Falls, the Depot was part of the Milwaukee-St. Paul-Chicago railroad until 1963. Many important founders of Minneapolis used this hub during travels to St. Paul and eventually the west coast. The close proximity to beautiful Minnehaha Falls made this stop a popular site for picnics and sightseeing. Visit this site during a tour and see relics of the past including a telegraph and old typewriter.

(credit: Andrea Wodele)

The John H. Stevens House
4901 Minnehaha Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 722-2220

John Harrington Stevens was known as the Father of Minneapolis. He was a “farmer, merchant, editor, and historian; served as a state legislator; and was founder and first president of the state agricultural society.” Stevens’ house was the first authorized dwelling in Minneapolis on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Originally located by St. Anthony Falls, the house was moved to Minnehaha Park in South Minneapolis. The Stevens house also served as the first courtroom and the first school in Minneapolis.

(credit: Andrea Wodele)

The Longfellow House
4800 S Minnehaha Park Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 230-6520

The Longfellow House is a slightly smaller replica of the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home in Cambridge, Massachusetts built by the great admirer of poetry, Robert ‘Fish’ Jones. Jones was a prominent Minneapolis businessman who also built a zoo for the enjoyment of the residents in Minneapolis. The Longfellow Zoological Gardens were located behind the house in the early 1900s and were visited frequently by locals. The house had been used as a library, business office and a haunted house attraction before being restored as a museum.

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Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for eight years. She loves covering all things Minnesota and her work can be found on Examiner.com.