Mill City Museum - Exploring Flour Power in Minneapolis

July 21, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Another excellent site from the Minnesota Historical Society is Mill City Museum in downtown Minneapolis.  Housed in the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, the museum chronicles the storied past of what once made Minneapolis the Flour Milling Capital of the World. 

Minneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum ExteriorMinneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum ExteriorHoused in the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, the museum tells the story of Minneapolis' rein as flour capital of the world. Nicknamed "Mill City", Minneapolis growth from a small 13,000 residents in 1870, to over 165,000 in 1890, is attributed to the construction and innovation of the Mills on the Mississippi River. Grain came from all over the Northern Plains by rail to be processed here. 

Minneapolis, MN -Gold Medal Flour Sign - 2Minneapolis, MN -Gold Medal Flour Sign - 2At the Mill City Museum. Photo by Dave Alexander. The power behind the boom in industry came from Saint Anthony Falls, the highest waterfall on the Mississippi River, which led to saw mills, woolen mills, cotton and paper mills, and our focus of the day, flour. 

Minneapolis, MN - Saint Anthony FallsMinneapolis, MN - Saint Anthony FallsPhoto by Dave Alexander. We started our tour with an excellent movie on the history of Minneapolis called "Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat". 

Local humorist, playwright and radio personality Kevin Kling takes a light hearted look at the city every half hour, and it's included in your admission price. There's a lot we didn't know about Minneapolis before watching this film and we think you'll find it very entertaining. 

After the film we took the self guided tour of exhibits, checked out the Baking Lab and soaked in the power of flour. 

Minneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum BisquickMinneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum Bisquick The museum also includes ruins of original brickwork and limestone walls that are all that's left from a devastating 1991 blaze.  It just so happened that the Minnesota Historical Society was working to build the museum at the time of the fire, and simply incorporated it into the overall theme. 

Minneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum Ruins - 2Minneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum Ruins - 2Photo by Dave Alexander. We wrapped up our tour of Mill City Museum with another excellent journey through history, this of the Mill itself on the Flour Tower.

Minneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum -Flour TowerMinneapolis, MN - Mill City Museum -Flour Tower We were impressed with the 8 story freight elevator ride through exhibits, complete with stories told by workers of the Mill, ending up on the 9th story observation deck overlooking St Anthony Falls and the Mississippi. 

Minneapolis, MN - River View - 2Minneapolis, MN - River View - 2View from the 9th story observation deck at Mill City Museum.

The Flour Tower and Movie alone are worth the price of admission to this most wonderful museum.  For more information, see the Mill City Museum official website HERE.

After, or before, your visit to the museum, be sure to check out Mill Ruins Park just beyond down by the river. On the National Register of Historic Places, walk around ruins of the Mill industry and over the historic Stone Arch Bridge. 

Minneapolis, MN - Mill Ruins ParkMinneapolis, MN - Mill Ruins ParkPhoto by Dave Alexander Minneapolis, MN -Mill Ruins Park Stone Arch BridgeMinneapolis, MN -Mill Ruins Park Stone Arch BridgePhoto by Dave Alexander. It's a fun way to spend the day with family and friends, and an entertaining way to learn about the history of Minneapolis. We recommend you set aside a couple of hours at the Mill City Museum, and check ahead for special events and concerts

In the meantime, here's a view from our eye while at the Museum and Mill Ruins Park. 


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