A Little Time and a Keyboard: Rambling Along the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Rambling Along the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis

Rambling Along the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis

Rambling Along the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis

Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis not only present an opportunity for ambling and enjoying views of the Mississippi River but also a peek into the history of the city, the importance of the river, the development of industry and how all of this wrapped in the heritage of the city today.



Flour Mill Ruins that can be explored at Mill City Museum.
Flour Mill Ruins that can be explored at Mill City Museum.
Reflecting on the Flour Mill History of Minneapolis

Minneapolis was once an international leader in producing flour. Known for a time as the "Flour Mill Capital of the World," the city had a high of about 25 mills along the river. At Mill Ruins Park, we visited the remains of some of these mills. Washburn-Crosby, General Mills and Pillsbury all trace roots to Minneapolis. Washburn-Crosby launched Gold Medal Flour. Today, both Washburn-Crosby and Pillsbury are part of General Mills. So, you probably have a piece of Minneapolis history in your pantry!

Mill Ruins Park displays a variety of Minneapolis flour mill ruins.
Mill Ruins Park displays a variety of Minneapolis flour mill ruins.
During a previous visit, we visited Mill City Museum built within the ruins of what was once the world's largest flour mill. Flour dust can easy catch fire, so mills were prone to fire. This is in fact how some of the mills in Minneapolis were damaged. Throughout the ruins and along the Stone Arch Bridge, we discovered historical markers with information about the rise of the industry in Minneapolis as well the Stone Arch Bridge and the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam.

Tip --> As you explore the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, stop in at Hot Hands Pie & Biscuit for some PHENOMENAL biscuits and pie. My recommendation -- a biscuit AND a slice of caramelized peanut butter pie!


To see some neat ruins, we descended down to the canal. You really begin to wonder about the history and stories each holds. While you are looking at ruins, you also can not but help but note the beauty of the area.

Admiring the construction of the Stone Arch Bridge of Minneapolis from below.
Admiring the construction of the Stone Arch Bridge from below.

Strolling Along the Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge is a former railroad bridge constructed in the 1880's. Today, the bridge is used for pedestrian traffic and as a bicycle trail. Constructed with native granite and limestone, the architectural marvel consists of 23 arches. Crossing the Mississippi River just below St. Anthony Falls, visitors are treated to incredible views.

There are 23 arches to the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis
There are 23 arches to the Stone Arch Bridge.

While crossing the bridge, you will easily notice where people are enjoying views. Full of power, St. Anthony Falls entices all to pause and take in the scene. St. Anthony Falls is important historically and became the main source of power for lumber and flour mills. The falls partially collapsed in 1869 and a concrete slab was put in to fortify it.

St. Anthony Falls thundering on the Mississippi.
St. Anthony Falls thundering on the Mississippi.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made improvements in 1937. Locks and dams were put in in the 1950's and 1960's. The falls certainly are a wonder of engineering and beautiful to look at. During our visit, we even noticed a newly married couple posing for socially distanced photo! In non-covid times, there is a visitor center and tours of the locks as well.

Exploring Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park on our anniversary!
Exploring Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park on our anniversary!
Mill Ruins Park and the Stone Arch Bridge treated us to a pleasant summer afternoon exploring. We found our adventure a fun way to stretch our legs while learning after our long road trip day. Both points of interest are easy to add to any Minneapolis adventure.


Rambling Along the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis



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