The west end of the Stone Arch Bridge is arguably the most historically significant acre in Minnesota. It has been central to the region since indigenous people first gathered on the site because of the power provided by St. Anthony Falls. The Mississippi River and surrounding area have served as a hub for transportation and industry ever since—whether on or near the water. It was the Mississippi’s current that attracted industrial mills to the riverfront, and the burgeoning city made it necessary to connect the east and west banks, leading to the construction of the Stone Arch Bridge.
Similarly, the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam was created to extend commercial navigation of bulk commodities above the falls, making Minneapolis the head of the inland navigation system. But with growth comes change, and in 2015 the lock and dam was closed, signaling an end to commercial navigation past the falls. How does this closure affect the city, the state, their industry, transportation of resources, communities, and environment? How does it affect the river?
Join River Life coordinator Patrick Nunnally as he guides you, step by step, through the past, present, and future of the Upper St. Anthony Lock and Dam, St. Anthony Falls, and the surrounding mill neighborhood.
Participants should be prepared to walk on uneven and potentially damp terrain. Itinerary subject to change.
Patrick Nunnally, PhD, University of Iowa; MSLA, University of Minnesota, is coordinator of River Life program at the Institute for Advanced Study, which seeks to strengthen connections between the University and communities engaged in river sustainability. He is editor of the digital journal Open Rivers: Rethinking the Mississippi and author of The City, The River, The Bridge: Before and After the I-35W Bridge Collapse (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and the blog River Talk.