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ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE
CENTRAL MINNEAPOLIS RIVERFRONT

PART 2: ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONS AND INTERPRETIVE POTENTIALS


Historical Figures and Photographs

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Figure 1. Map of the Central Minneapolis Riverfront showing the route of the new West River Parkway (dark line, dashed where not constructed) and the location of the Hennepin Avenue bridge (circled).



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Figure 2: Stylized cross-sectional drawings of a breastshot grist mill (left) and a flutter wheel sawmill (right) from Ballard (1984). The basic technology depicted here was probably similar to that used in the government mills at St. Anthony Falls following the guide of Evans (1807).



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Figure 3: Fuller (1873) map of the west side waterpower canal showing the adjacent mills and subterranean tailraces (dashed lines).



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Figure 4a: Typical turbine arrangement from Howard (1976)..



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Figure 4b: Side view of the Pillsbury B Mill turbine with the turbine tube embedded in the bedrock.



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Figure 5: Detail of 1880 map from Greenleaf (1887) showing the waterpower systems on the east side and islands at St. Anthony Falls. An overhead cable extends across the St. Anthony millpond from the sawmill platform to Nicollet Island (far left). Another overhead cable extends up 3rd Avenue SE (top). A line shaft powers the factories on Main Street above the platform.



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Figure 6: Cross-section of the east channel of St. Anthony Falls showing the turbines, tailraces, and a tower drive for an overhead cable (from Greenleaf 1887).



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Figure 7: Cumulative map of the waterpower industries at St. Anthony Falls.



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Figure 8: Cumulative map of lumber milling industries at St. Anthony Falls.



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Figure 9: Chart showing the growth and decline of lumber milling and flour milling in Minneapolis in relation to population growth (from Borchert et al. 1983).



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Figure 10: Shevlin-Carpenter (North Star) Sawmill from the 1892 Rascher Atlas.



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Figure 11: Typical layout of a stone flour mill of 1878 from the Northwestern Miller (September 7, 1894). The basement contains the drive equipment, the first flour has mill stones, the middle floors have purifiers and bolters, and the top floor has dust collectors.



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Figure 12: End view and top view of the Northwestern Consolidated Elevator, one of the last of the old style elevators built in the St. Anthony Falls milling district. Note the multiple wooden bins.



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Figure 13: Cutaway view of a typical elevator of the late nineteenth century. Grain is brought in by rail (1) and weighed (2), then dumped into a hopper (3). A conveyor belt with cups then transports the grain to the head (4) at the top of the elevator where it is directed by a movable spout (5) to individual bins (6). The bins are funnel shaped at the bottom allowing downloading by gravity.



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Figure 14: Cumulative map of the grain milling industries at St. Anthony Falls.



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Figure 15: Drawing of the Minnesota Ironworks looking south (1871-72 City Directory).



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Figure 16: The Pray Manufacturing complex from the 1885 Sanborn Atlas. Note several smaller iron works towards the lower right.



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Figure 17: Cumulative map of the ironworking industries at St. Anthony Falls.



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Figure 18: The North Star Woolen Mill from an 1890 update of the 1885 Sanborn Atlas. The waterpower canal is beneath 1st Street at the top.



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Figure 19a: The Heinrich Brewery from the 1885 Sanborn Atlas.



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Figure 19b: The Noerenberg Breweryfrom the 1885 Sanborn Atlas.



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Figure 20: Cross-section of a typical late nineteenth century brewery (from the Western Brewer October 1904). The main sections moving left to right are the stock house, brewhouse, mill house, and office.



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Figure 21a: The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha RR Roundhouse from the 1892 Rascher Atlas.



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Figure 21b: The Union Depot (bottom) from the 1892 Rascher Atlas.



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Figure 22: Typical streetcar rails and paving methods used in Minneapolis in the late nineteenth century.



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Figure 23: The Minneapolis Gas Works from the 1912 Sanborn Atlas.



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Figure 24: Bohemian Flats from the 1892 Foote Atlas. Note the small, closely spaced houses.



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Figure 25: Locations of the major excavated archaeological sites along the central Minneapolis riverfront.



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Figure 26: Locations of 1983 West River Parkway test units in the northern half of the Bassetts Creek Area. The C,SP,M and O RR Roundhouse is at the right.



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Figure 27: Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha RR Roundhouse plan from the 1983 West River Parkway excavations (from Tordoff 1984). The turntable is at the left and the repair bays at the right.



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Figure 28: Side view and end view of a repair bay of the C,SP,M and O RR Roundhouse excavated in 1983 (from Tordoff 1984).



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Figure 29: Locations of 1983 West River Parkway test units in the southern half of the Bassetts Creek Area. The North Star Sawmill is at the top center with West Side Power Plant to the left of the sawmill.



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Figure 30: Drawing of a gang saw produced by the North Star Ironworks from the Mississippi Valley Lumberman May 21, 1886. Note the massive base similar to the one found in 1983 at the North Star Sawmill (Plate 1).



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Figure 31: North wall of the Pacific Sawmill exposed by the 1983 West River Parkway survey (from Tordoff 1984). The concrete pedestals are from the Great Northern Depot trainshed.



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Figure 32: Locations of the 1983 West River Parkway test units in the Gateway Area. Moving left to right are the Pacific Sawmill, the North Gateway Refuse Deposit, the Hennepin Avenue Bridges, the Union Depot, and the Gateway Residential Area.



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Figure 33: Profile of Excavation Unit 60 in the Gateway Residential Area (from Tordoff 1984). The dark deposit is the trash midden.



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Figure 34: East wall of the Union Depot excavated in 1983 (from Tordoff 1984).



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Figure 35: Locations of the 1983 West River Parkway test units in the northern part of the West Side Mill District.



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Figure 36: Locations of the 1983 West River Parkway test units in the northern part of the Gasworks Bluff Area.



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Figure 37: Locations of the 1983 West River Parkway test units in the northern part of Bohemian Flats.



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Figure 38: Locations of the 1983 test units in the southern part of Bohemian Flats. The gas tanks had been removed by the time of the excavations. The Heinrich Brewery is at the upper right.



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Figure 39: Top view of floors and foundation walls exposed by the 1983 excavations at the Heinrich Brewery (from Tordoff 1984).



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Figure 40: Final site plan of the 1985 excavations at the Hennepin Avenue Bridge (from Tordoff and Clouse 1985). The black dots were existing approach bridge support columns. The suspension bridge tower bases are towards the top (1854 bridge on right) and the anchor tunnels are at the bottom.



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Figure 41: Test locations in the vicinity of the Fuji-Ya restaurant in 1986 (from Tordoff 1986).



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Figure 42: Test units in the Fuji-Ya parking lot excavated in 1986 (from Tordoff 1986).



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Figure 43: Test excavation at the Palisade Mill in 1986 (from Tordoff 1986).



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Figure 44: Top view of 1986 excavation of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha RR Roundhouse (from Tordoff and Clouse 1987).



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Figure 45: Top view of 1986 excavations at the Pacific Sawmill showing the log slide on the left and the east wall on the right (from Tordoff and Clouse 1987).



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Figure 46: Top view of the masonry pedastals exposed by the 1986 excavations at the south end of the Gateway Residential Area (from Tordoff and Clouse 1987).



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Figure 47: Top view of the City Waterworks foundation walls exposed by the 1986 excavations (from Tordoff and Clouse 1987).



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Figure 48: South face of the west side canal gates exposed by the 1986 excavations (from Tordoff and Clouse 1987).



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Figure 49: Locations of east side suspension bridge features exposed by the 1988 monitoring of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge construction on Nicollet Island.



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Figure 50: Top view of the 1989 excavations at the Heinrich Brewery (from Szondy and Clouse 1990). The brewery foundations are in the unit at the right.



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Figure 51: Top view schematic of the Heinrich Brewery caves explored in 1989 (from Szondy and Clouse 1990).



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Figure 52: Top view of the Coon and Clapp Woolen Mill/Empire Flour Mill/Pillsbury B Elevator and tailrace excavations from 1989 (from Szondy and Clouse 1990).



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Figure 53: Tailrace tunnels at the north end of the West Side Mill District. The main tailrace in the center runs beneath 1st Street. The Columbia Mill, Bassett Sawmill, and City Water Works turbines are in the upper left, the Crown Mill turbines are in the left center, and the Standard Mill turbine in the lower center. The Empire Mill/Pillsbury B Elevator turbine is in the upper right.



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Figure 54: Study area of the Riverfront Development Coordination Board (from Berman 1980).



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Plate 1: Large machinery footing uncovered by the 1983 West River Parkway excavations at the North Star Sawmill.



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Plate 2: Tower base of the 1854 suspension bridge and Union Depot foundations uncovered by the 1985 Hennepin Avenue bridge excavations.



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Plate 3: Tower bases of the 1876 suspension bridge uncovered by the 1985 Hennepin Avenue Bridge excavations.



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Plate 4: Back wall and repair bays of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha RR Roundhouse uncovered by the 1986 West River Parkway excavations.



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Plate 5: East wall of the Pacific Sawmill exposed by the 1986 West River Parkway excavations.



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Plate 6: Log slide of the Pacific Sawmill uncovered by the 1986 West River Parkway excavations.



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Plate 7: Masonry pedestals uncovered at the south end of the Gateway Residential Area by the 1986 West River Parkway excavations.



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Plate 8: North face of the west side waterpower canal gates uncovered by the 1986 West River Parkway excavations.



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Plate 9: Looking south at the east wall of the West Side Power plant exposed by the 1986 construction on the West River Parkway.



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Plate 10: Looking west at the east side tower bases of the 1876 suspension bridge exposed by the 1988 construction on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.



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Plate 11: Looking south at the east side anchor housings of the 1876 suspension bridge exposed by the 1988 construction on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.



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Plate 12: Downstream, east side anchor link bars of the 1854 suspension bridge exposed by the 1988 construction on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.



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Plate 13: Brick floor and masonry foundation walls of the Heinrich Brewery exposed during the 1989 West River Parkway excavations.



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Plate 14: Excavations in 1989 at the west side tailraces near the back of the Empire Mill/Pillsbury B Elevator.




Vol. 49, No. 1-2   1990 The Minnesota Archaeological Society

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Updated 27
Aug 2000