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Cultural Cornerstones

Key contributors to the Central Riverfront Neighborhoods.

Guthrie Theater

Film Society of MSP

MacPhail Center for Music

Mill City Museum

Open Book

Soap Factory

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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have local news or events to share?  Contact us.

Gold Medal Park to Be Preserved for 50 Years

Letter to the Editor - Together We Can Stop Crown Hydro

Opinion: Water Works Design Threatens Historic Riverfront

Crown Hydro Action Alert: Submit Your Comments to the Feds


Vote to Preserve Minnehaha Park and Mill Ruins Park

Just received from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board:

Help us out! If you love our parks, take a minute each day to vote for Minnehaha Park or Mill Ruins Park in the Partners in Preservation contest!

Both parks were announced Tuesday as two of 25 historical sites competing for a share of $1 million in funding for proposed projects aimed at preserving the sites’ historical significance.

Vote now, vote often

How to vote:

Please support our Parks System by taking the time to vote daily for Minnehaha Park or Mill Ruins Park and encourage your friends and family to do so as well. To vote:

  1. Go to
  2. ‘Like’ the page
  3. Click the VOTE tab on the left side
  4. Scroll down to find Minnehaha Park or Mill Ruins Park among the list of 25 sites
  5. Cast your vote!
  6. Vote once each day through Oct. 12

Site with most votes is guaranteed funding of up to $125,000

If funding is received, the parks will address important preservation projects.

Minnehaha Park proposes to address repairs needed for its limestone retaining walls along the creek as well as replacing stones in four of the five bridges along the creek. Mill Ruins Park proposes to implement Dig In!, a program that will engage people of all ages in a transformative, hands-on, archaeological experience within the Milling District of St. Anthony Falls in effort to unveil historical features that remain buried within the park.

Open houses: Oct. 8, 2011 

Please join the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board at open houses for each site Saturday, Oct. 8. Mill Ruins Park will host an open house from 9 a.m.-noon while Minnehaha Park will host its open house from 1-4 p.m. The open houses, free and open to the public, will allow visitors to learn about each sites’ history, its bid to win funding for proposed preservation projects and details about the projects and the effort to preserve historical significance.

Share your stories

We’d love to hear your stories about Minnehaha Park and/or Mill Ruins Park. Tell us what the parks mean to you and how they may be significant in your life. You are encouraged to share photos, too! Visit our Minnehaha Park and Mill Ruins Park Facebook pages to share your stories and photos.

About the parks

Overlooking the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Park, one of Minneapolis’ oldest and most popular parks, is home to several historic structures dating from 1894 and the WPA era of the 1930s. Minnehaha Park’s 850,000 annual visitors enjoy numerous summer activities, as well as the park’s natural beauty.

The 193-acre park features a 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs and river outlooks. The park contains oak, elm, silver maple, basswood, hackberry and cottonwood trees, as well as native prairie and woodland wild flowers.

The park currently offers a number of activities. Concerts, picnics, a disc golf course, volleyball courts, a bike and pedestrian trail and the wading pool are popular during the summer months. Many visitors enjoy viewing the falls and the park has become a popular site for weddings. The proposed project will preserve the historic structures currently in the park and ensure the enjoyment of Minnehaha Park’s current amenities for future generations.


Mill Ruins Park is located along the Mississippi River adjacent to St. Anthony Falls. The falls were the literal driving force behind the development of Minneapolis, providing power for lumber and flour mills. Minneapolis served as the Midwestern hub to transform wheat to flour and was known as the “flour capital of the world.” Iconic companies, mill owners and civic leaders that got their start at the river have left their mark on the Minneapolis landscape including Pillsbury, General Mills, Washburn, Cargill, Peavey and Loring.

As part of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Park with its 1.6 million annual visitors, Mill Ruins Park is mostly used for its trails, its up close access to ruins and the tailrace canal, its scenic overlooks and self-directed river quest. The proposed project would reveal mill features, engage the public in archaeology and increase opportunities for interpretation. The proposed use will contribute to the preservation of the Mill district for future generations.

St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam Tour with Mill City Commons


Zen Box Izakaya Opens Tomorrow!

The newest eatery in the Mill District opens tomorrow.  We'll be there.

Zen Box Izakaya

Zen Box Izakaya

Zen Box Izakaya

Zen Box Izakaya

Zen Box Izakaya Japanese Pub and Kitchen

602 Washington Avenue South, Minneaspolis, MN 55415

Phone - 612-332-3936

Web -
Facebook -


Tonight - RiverFIRST Presentation to Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Download - RiverFIRST: A Parks Design Proposal and Implementation Framework for the Minneapolis Upper Riverfront


Time:  5:00pm

Location:  Minneapolis Park and Rec Board, 2117 West River Road

NOTE - Included on the agenda:  Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI) formal presentation.  During the meeting, Park Board planning staff anticipate asking Commissioners to authorize a 45-day comment period on the MR|DI draft report.

Click here for the September 21 Agenda.  

For timely information regarding news and developments, community members are encouraged to sign up for the e-newsletter at or subscribe to the blog at


Rainbow Over the Metrodome

From yesterday morning...

Rainbow Over the Metrodome


Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam Tour - Fun, Free, Informative

Remember the dog in the animated movie "Up" that was immediately and frequently distracted by "Squirrel!"?  Well, that's how I react to "Tour!" 

I've wanted to tour the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam since moving to the Mill District two years ago, but our work schedules and packed weekends always seemed to take precedent over making time for the tour.  So, when Mill City Commons organized a private tour for members earlier this month, I signed us up right away. 

What a great way to spend an hour on a beautiful afternoon.  From the vantage point of the Lock and Damn facility, we gained a whole new perspective of the river, falls, bridges and riverbanks.  Our tour guide, Josh, provided a wealth of information, and we were able to get up close and personal with some of the powerful mechanics.  

In addition to the history, facts and figures discussed during the tour, the US Army Corps of Engineers has a variety printed materials available to take home.  Tours run through September, so if you haven't had a chance to enjoy one yet, there's still time this season.


Vote for Mill Ruins Park

From September 20 through October 12, 2011, local residents and people across the country are encouraged to vote for their favorite historic place from a diverse slate of 25 sites throughout the seven-county Twin Cities Area.

The winner of the public vote is guaranteed grant funds.  The remainder of the $1 million in grants will be given to a number of the other sites after review by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and an advisory committee. The committee, co-chaired by R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman, mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively, is composed of Twin Cities civic and preservation leaders.

Cast your vote for Mill Ruins Park here...

(voting results shortly after launch on 9/20/2011)

Constructed: 19th Century

Location: 103 Portland Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN


Mill Ruins Park is located along the Mississippi River adjacent to St. Anthony Falls. The falls were the literal driving force behind the development of Minneapolis, providing power for lumber and flour mills. Minneapolis served as the Midwestern hub to transform wheat into flour and was known as the “flour capital of the world”. Although most of the mills are gone, their stone foundations and elaborate races that powered the mills survive on the Mississippi riverfront. Some of these have been exposed at Mill Ruins Park, but much more exists underground. The park is open year round, providing over 1.6 million annual visitors with access to the park and trails for recreational use, guided tours and programs, and large public events.


The "Dig In!" project at Mill Ruins Park will engage people of all ages in a hands-on archaeological experience within the Milling District of St. Anthony Falls. The project will be an on-going public archaeological dig. Participants (who will be trained and supervised by professional archaeologists and field technicians) will help with excavation, documentation, and artifact processing. The project will provide people of all ages with the opportunity to actively engage in the preservation and enhancement of Minneapolis’ historic river resources.

Cast your vote for Mill Ruins Park here...

St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam Tour with Mill City Commons