Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Day 5 - Minneapolis

October 2016 - Minneapolis MN

John headed out to the Ryder Cup, so excited at 7:30 after grabbing breakfast.

Steps covered on this walk - 16,813 or 7.16 miles.

I had made reservations for the Riverwalk Food tour online.

3 hour Saturday walking tour of Minneapolis Mill District and Northeast Minneapolis neighborhoods
11:00 - 2:00pm Saturdays
Flat route with slight inclines and declines, approximately 1.5 miles, standing most of the time, bathrooms available at some stops
5 stops with 10-12 tastings on Saturdays.
Tour limited to 12 people, advance tickets required.
Begins at Gold Medal Park (S 10th Ave & S 2nd Street), located next to the Guthrie Theater (818 South 2nd Street), ends in Northeast Minneapolis

It's a 30 minute walk from the hotel. So I start out at 10AM to get there for 10:45.

I got turned around at the new stadium and it is a rather seedy area even at 10AM so I grab a cab.

Despite being worried I'd be late, I was the first one there.

Andrea was our tour guide. She was so knowledgeable and fun. We were eight people in all. One couple, 3 girlfriends from the area (not too sure they were interested in the history) 2 ex- New Yorkers, now living in Florida, whose husbands were also at the Ryder Cup and myself.

Andrea took care of everyone's food allergies. The couple were lactose intolerant, 3 gf - one had some allergies, and NY one had a severe peanut allergy. She was so excited that she would be able to try Thai food without worrying about the peanuts. Andrea had arranged for everyone needs to be accommodated.

We started off at the Gold Medal Park named for the flour company.

Gold Medal Park, which opened in May of 2007, is among Minneapolis' newest parks. The area was a gathering place for Minnesotans in the aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse that occurred on August 1, 2007.

I did not know/remember about the I-35W bridge collapse but Andrea told the story.

During the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007, it suddenly collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145. The bridge was Minnesota's third busiest, carrying 140,000 vehicles daily. The NTSB cited a design flaw as the likely cause of the collapse, noting that a too-thin gusset plate ripped along a line of rivets, and asserted that additional weight on the bridge at the time of the collapse contributed to the catastrophic failure.

In 2006, the Guthrie finished construction of a new $125 million theater building along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The design is the work of Jean Nouvel, along with the Minneapolis architectural firm Architectural Alliance and is a 285,000 square foot (26,500 m²) facility that houses three theaters: (1) the theater's signature thrust stage, seating 1,100, (2) a 700-seat proscenium stage, and (3) a black-box studio with flexible seating. It also has a 178-foot cantilevered bridge (called the "Endless Bridge") to the Mississippi which is open to visitors during normal building hours. The outside of the building's walls are covered in large panels which display a large mural of photographs from past plays visible clearly at night. J

Our first food stop, Saturday Market, for a chocolate chip cookie from the Salty Tart.

The first Washburn A Mill, built by Cadwallader C. Washburn in 1874, was declared the largest flour mill in the world upon its completion, and contributed to the development of Minneapolis. On May 2, 1878, a spark ignited airborne flour dust within the mill, creating an explosion that demolished the Washburn A and killed 18 workers instantly. The ensuing fire resulted in the deaths of four more people, destroyed five other mills, and reduced Minneapolis’s milling capacity by one third. Known as the Great Mill Disaster, the explosion made national news and served as a focal point that led to reforms in the milling industry. In order to prevent the buildup of combustible flour dust, ventilation systems and other precautionary devices were installed in mills throughout the country.

Mill City Museum is a Minnesota Historical Society museum in Minneapolis. It opened in 2003, built in the ruins of the Washburn "A" Mill next to Mill Ruins Park on the banks of the Mississippi River. The museum focuses on the founding and growth of Minneapolis, especially flour milling and the other industries that used water power from Saint Anthony Falls.

In 1991 a fire nearly destroyed the old mill, but during the late 1990s, the city of Minneapolis, through the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, worked to stabilize the mill ruins. After the city had cleaned up the rubble and fortified the mill's charred walls, the Minnesota Historical Society announced plans to construct a milling museum and education center within the ruins. Construction on the museum began in March 2001. Designed by Tom Meyer, principal for the architectural firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, the museum is a new building built with the ruin walls of the 1880 Washburn A Mill.

I would love to have had the time to visit the museum.

By 1880 a new Washburn A Mill, designed by Austrian engineer William de la Barre, opened as the largest flour mill in the world, a designation it retained until the Pillsbury A Mill opened across the river in 1881.

This area has been gentrified into fabulous condos with green roofs and/or courtyards.

The North Star Woolen Mill is located in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, was originally a textile mill for the North Star Woolen Company. The mill was built in 1864 by W.W. Eastman and Paris Gibson on the west side of the west side canal. High quality wool blankets, scarves, flannels, and yarns were manufactured at the facility and it became the nation's largest manufacturer of wool blankets by 1925.

City Hall, located at 350 South Fifth Street, is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. Washington School, the first schoolhouse in Minneapolis west of the Mississippi River, was demolished to make way for the new building. Groundbreaking took place in 1889, and the cornerstone was laid (a story off the ground) in 1891. Construction did not officially end until 1906, although the structural exterior was essentially complete by the end of 1895. The county began moving in to its side (4th Ave.) in November 1895, while the city (3rd Ave.) side was not occupied until December 1902. Cost was about $3,554,000, which works out to 28¢ per cubic foot ($10/m³).

When constructed, the building claimed to have the world's largest four-faced chiming clock. At 24 feet, 6 inches (just under 7 1/2 meters), the faces are 18 inches (45.7 cm) wider than those of the Great Clock in London (which houses the famous hour bell Big Ben). The tower housing the clock reaches 345 feet (105 m) in height, and was the tallest structure in the city until the 1920s when the Foshay Tower was built.

Now a hotel set in a historic train depot in downtown Minneapolis, we were told it is full of old train memorabilia.

So now you're thinking, where's the food, this IS a food tour, right??

We make a stop at Minneapolis' first Thai restaurant. Sawatdee began in 1983 as the first Thai restaurant in the five-state area.

We walk a block to the Old Spaghetti Factory, we have one in Toronto. But for some of our group they had never been in one.

Many of the chain's restaurants are located inside renovated warehouses and historic locations. The restaurant decor traditionally features antiques, including chandeliers, brass headboards and footboards as bench backs for booths. 

Founded by Jerome I. Case in 1844 as the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company, the company operated under that name for most of a century, until 1928. In some of its advertisements the name was styled J.I. Case T.M. Co. for short. Another business founded by Jerome I. Case, the J.I. Case Plow Works, was an independent business. When the Plow Works was bought by Massey-Harris in 1928, the latter sold the name rights to the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company, which reincorporated as the J.I. Case Company.

Each restaurant's most prominent feature is a streetcar in the middle of the restaurant with seating inside.

Now you are saying what about the food??

We shared a plate of garlic cheese bread with marinara sauce.

Then a plate of  spaghetti and mizithra cheese & browned butter tossed with garlic and spaghetti with meat sauce.

We are stuffed!

Technological advances in flour milling were already in place by the 1880s, when 18 different millers operated in Minneapolis. From that point on and for the next 50 years, mergers and changes in business administration were the primary developments in the industry.

Northwestern and their new Ceresota flour brand name were established in July 1891 by a group of businessmen led by former lumberman John Martin at six independent existing mills—the Crown Roller (2,500 barrels/day), Columbia (2,000), Northwestern (1,600), Pettit (1,600, to be an elevator), Galaxy (1,500) and Zenith (1,100).

After the center of U.S. flour milling moved to the east coast, the company's A and F Mills closed during the 1940s and 1950s. Of the 34 Minneapolis flour mills, only four are still standing on the Mississippi's west bank. Of the four, the Crown Roller Mill and the Standard Mill were Northwestern mills (the A and F mills). Of concern to preservationists, Omni Investment had plans to build a condominium development on top of the remains of the Northwestern B mill and adjacent archaeological sites but the plan is stopped and is now in the court system. Elevator A, now known as the Ceresota Building, and the Crown Roller Mill are in use today as office buildings. The Standard Mill became the Whitney Hotel but closed and it has become post condos. From what Andrea said, many stars stayed here in its heyday. Ike and Tina Turner, rolling Stones, Kurt Cobain to name some.

One of several weddings taking place.

Thank goodness, it is a thirty minute walk across the bridge.

The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system on the North American continent. Flowing entirely in the United States (although its drainage basin reaches into Canada), it rises in northern Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 31 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth longest and fifteenth largest river in the world by discharge. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky,Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

We've now seen the Mississippi in all the states except Iowa.

The Stone Arch Bridge is the only bridge of its kind over the Mississippi River. It is made of native granite and limestone, and measures 2100-feet long by 28-feet wide. The bridge consists of 23 arches, and spans the river below St. Anthony Falls.

The natural falls were replaced by a concrete overflow spillway (also called an "apron") after it partially collapsed in 1869. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, a series of locks and dams was constructed to extend navigation to points upstream.

Named after the Catholic saint Anthony of Padua, the falls is the birthplace of the former city of St. Anthony and to Minneapolis when the two cities joined in 1872 to fully use its economic power for milling operations. From 1880 to about 1930, Minneapolis was the "Flour Milling Capital of the World".

Looking  back towards the Guthrie.

The Pillsbury A-Mill, situated along Saint Anthony Falls, held the title of largest flour mill in the world for 40 years. Completed in 1881, it was owned by Pillsbury and operated two of the most powerful direct-drive waterwheels ever built, each generating 1,200 horsepower (895 kW). The mill still stands today on the east side of the Mississippi River and has been converted into resident artist lofts.

Despite the convention of the time, Pillsbury decided that he wanted his new mill to be designed by an architect in order to make the building visually appealing. Architect LeRoy S. Buffington, with the loose advice of several engineers, carried out the design. Construction started in 1880 and was finished in 1881 under a contractor named George McMullen. The mill was built to put out 5,000 barrels a day when at a time when a 500-barrel mill was considered large. For some years the mill was not run at its intended capacity. Part of the building was used as a warehouse and other purposes.

Due to vibrations of milling machines and poor design in 1905 the mill was fortified and certain sections were rebuilt. To this day, the walls bow inward 22 inches (560 mm) on the top. Unlike other similarly large mills in the area, most notably the Washburn A Mill, the Pillsbury A Mill never exploded or caught fire. As a result, it still contains its original wood frame.

Next food stop Tuggs.

We were given a couple of beer samples.

Deep fried cheese curds and popcorn.

There aren't many cobblestones left in Minneapolis. There are even fewer bars who can date back to the 1890's. Pracna on Main was the oldest bar on the oldest street in the city. Located next to the St. Anthony Main theater, the aged restaurant was known for their well-selected beer list and a stone wall lined dining room steeped in history.

Pracna opened in 1890 in a partnership with Frank Pracna and the Minneapolis Brewing Co., brewers of Golden Grain Belt beers.

In 1909, Edward L. “Boney” Denell became owner, and renamed it Denell’s Bar, with Grain Belt maintaining financial control.

The start of Prohibition in 1919 doomed Denell’s and dozens of other saloons in the Twin Cities. Denell’s soon became a machine shop and also had a reputation as a “house of ill repute.”

Prohibition’s repeal saw a return to the saloon business, but it struggled and the building resumed operating as a machine shop and also as a home to a mattress maker and a heating company.

Another wedding!

Another food stop! Gelato at Wilde Roast named for Oscar Wilde. 

We were given as many samples as we liked. We could then select one or two favourites and given a cup.

White chocolate mocha.

We part company and I decide to walk back to the hotel.

It's a 50 minute return trip to the hotel. My route took me back by the Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theatre.

I trace our steps back to gold Medal Park.
Crossing this bridge instead of the Stone Arch might have been a shorter walk...

"The falls are going out!" cried the alarmed citizens of St. Anthony on October 5, 1869. A tunnel being dug under the river bed to bring waterpower to Nicollet Island had collapsed. A giant whirlpool formed below the island as the river rushed into the hole. Efforts to plug it with log rafts, dams, and mud were all unsuccessful. New breaks opened up and swallowed the lower part of Nicollet Island. The problem was finally fixed in 1876 when the US Army Corps of Engineers constructed a large dam underneath the entire river bed.

A piece of equipment now a work of art.

The mighty Mississippi must have a steamboat.

Plaque above the entrance to the Mill City Museum.

The Advance Thresher/Emerson-Newton Implement Company buildings  are a pair of buildings designed by Kees and Colburn. The two buildings are united under a common cornice and appear to be a single structure. However, the two buildings were actually built four years apart. The Advance Thresher Company building was built in 1900 and has six floors. The adjacent Emerson-Newton Plow Company building was built in 1904 and has seven floors.

The architecture of the buildings was influenced by Louis Sullivan. They are ornamented with terra cotta details that are more Classical Revival in nature. The buildings were renovated into offices in the 1980s. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places for local significance in architecture for exemplifying the Sullivanesque style influencing large industrial and commercial buildings at the turn of the 20th century.

U.S. Bank Stadium is a fixed-roof stadium on the former site of Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. U.S. Bank Stadium serves as the home of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). The Vikings played at the Metrodome from 1982 until its closure in 2013 and before that at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota from 1961 to 1981.
Architecture firm HKS, Inc., also responsible for the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium and the Indianapolis Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium, decided to go for a lightweight translucent roof and glazed entrances with giant pivoting doors, aiming to get as much natural light from the outside as possible.

The Foshay Tower was built in the 1920s and topped City Hall as the tallest building.


  1. Tsk! Tsk! No photos of St. Paul? You don't know the rivalry between the two very different cities? (You certainly covered a lot of territory in "that other city" tho and got some good photos). St. Paul has different but many wonderful opportunities for visits and photo shoots!

    1. We just didn't have enough time!! Originally John was going with a buddy who then backed out and I said I'd go to keep him company on the drive. So we added a few days to the start and couldn't add any at the end as we both had to be home this week. Otherwise we would have stayed a few more days and visited "that other city"!!!

      We will definitely go back as I thought it was a great city/state to visit.

  2. Great photos. I love the old ruined mill and the new museum built there. It's important to preserve our past.

  3. Oh my goodness, that was a tour and a half! I'm not surprised you needed to put your feet up. The food looks absolutely delicious, I probably should have read your post after eating as I am now starving. Beautiful photos too. #MMBC

  4. You did all of this in one day! WOW! So many things to see here! Loved seeing the Pilsbury sign, and the violinist, and the other musical band. Fun to see all these weddings going one! Good, they had food around,gelato and cookies are some of my favorite snacks. Many thanks for sharing this whirlwind experience with SEASONS! And for showing all these details - it was really fun! Now have a restful week:)

  5. That was a wonderful tour! And now I really want to visit the Twin Citiess. So much to see ... it would probably take us a week to cover all you did in a day!

  6. Wow, what a great tour you had! Loved the flour mill. . .we used to have those in Washington State as well, and the food you showed us. . .inspired a trip to the kitchen for me! Great post, Jackie.

  7. Jackie, I love this post. What's not to love? Weddings, food, and more food, and Pillsbury...oh my! It's my kind of place. Love your pics as always.

  8. Your photos are amazing...thanks so much for the from Outdoor Wed

  9. You had such a fun time!! The bread in the market looks so good!

  10. What a fun set of photos. How cool to have seen the Mississippi in all states except one - is that on your list?

  11. What an adventure! Not only did you eat until you dropped but you seemed to have learned quite a bit about Minneapolis. Impressive photos!

  12. What a great day! My husband has relatives in Minneapolis so we go our reasonably frequently but not for a few years, so we're overdue a return. This is going on my list for when we get back there. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  13. Whew what a tour and walk. Lots of interesting things to see along the way. I think I would have chosen to walk home afterward also!

  14. Oh my! These are my favorite kind of tours! You saw a ton of places in the city (and the weather was nice). I really like cheese curds. It is something I tried for the first time like a year ago and now, I dream of the next time I am going to have them.

  15. Incredible amount of fascinating scenes. Loved the old mill and clock tower. Amazed how many wedding parties are wandering the streets.

  16. I love a good food tour! Such a fun way to get a unique perspective of a city. Nothing better than a mix of information and treats! And those deep fried cheese curds look delish! :D

  17. A very comprehensive tour - you did loads! I remember that road collapsing - very scary. The old mills are fascinating...sounds like you learnt a lot of the tour. #citytripping