Attraction Spotlight: Saint Anthony Falls

Saint Anthony Falls - Image Credit:

Saint Anthony Falls are Minnesota’s only natural major waterfall. It’s located on the Upper Mississippi River in northeast of downtown Minneapolis. It’s a massively popular attraction for locals and visitors alike featuring a beautiful site and 1.8 mile self-guided walking trail with signs discussing the area’s history.

It was named after the Catholic saint Anthony of Padua being the birthplace of the former city of St. Anthony and Minneapolis when the two cities joined in 1872. Here is a look at more about the history of Saint Anthony Falls and why it’s so great to visit.

About the Falls

From 1880 to 1930, Minneapolis was the “Flour Milling Capital of the World” after the cities of Minneapolis and St. Anthony joined together to increase the economic power of milling operations. The natural falls of Saint Anthony Falls actually partially collapsed in 1869 in which they had to replace it with a concrete overflow spillway or “apron.”

A look at its history

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, dams and locks were constructed to extend navigation points upstream and today the falls are defined by these locks and dams located on the Upper Saint Anthony Falls just downstream of the 3rd Avenue Bridge.

The Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Navigation Project incorporated these locks and now the area around the waterfall is the historic district of St. Anthony Falls featuring the self-guided walking trail. The Saint Anthony Falls Historic District has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and runs from 8th Avenue Northeast extending downstream to 6th Avenue Southeast.

The area’s archaeological record is actually one of the most-endangered historic sites in the state. It has a rich history geologically, showing that the falls first appeared about 10,000 years ago.

Be sure to visit the beautiful, historical Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis.

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