History & Heritage

Minneapolis wasn’t built in a day. This dynamic, prosperous city is the current incarnation of its unique past – a history impacted by the region’s natural beauty, its original indigenous and immigrant residents and its fluid relationship with the mighty Mississippi River.

1600-1850

CHARTING THE WATERS

Minneapolis was born on the Mississippi, on land the Sioux and Ojibwe people had long called home. Around 1680, Father Louis Hennepin christened scenic St. Anthony Falls, which, centuries later, would give the burgeoning city enormous industrial power. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the construction of Fort Snelling in the 1820s ushered more Europeans into this pristine region for trading, trapping and settlement.

1850-1930

FLOUR POWER 

Minneapolis grew beside the Mississippi River where St. Anthony Falls fueled the lucrative flour milling industry. From the 1880s to the 1930s, flour production made Minneapolis the milling capital of the world, and established modern corporate giants such as Cargill, General Mills and Pillsbury. Tourists and artists also flocked to the only waterfall on the river, spanned in 1883 by the landmark Stone Arch Bridge, which remains today.

1930-TODAY

COMING OF AGE 

A progressive city claiming many commercial, political, medical and cultural firsts, Minneapolis continues to make history, the city has one of the most stable economic bases in the country and includes global leaders Medtronic, Best Buy and 3M within its broad, successful business community.

PRESENT DAY

INCREASINGLY DIVERSE

Minneapolis has always been empowered by its people, including native residents, pioneers, immigrants and transplants from around the world. Many Lakota Sioux and Ojibwe names – Minnehaha, Minnetonka, Nokomis – attest to the continued presence of Minnesota’s first residents. The cultural influences of the city’s first settlers – Scandinavian, Irish, German, Italian, French-Canadian, Greek, Polish, Jewish and people of many nationalities – can be seen in neighborhood churches, businesses, architecture and events. A massive influx of Scandinavians in the late 1800s had a well-known and lasting impact on area culture. Today, the Minneapolis Saint Paul area hosts the largest Hmong and Somali populations in the country, as well as other diverse ethnic groups.

HONORING THE PAST

EXCEPTIONALLY ACTIVE

Minneapolis’ history is an interactive experience. From museums and landmarks to excursions and parks, fun and engaging opportunities immerse residents and visitors in the city’s past. Rightfully, Minneapolis never lost touch with its source, preserving and developing the Mississippi riverfront to combine restaurants, nightclubs, galleries and shops with historic buildings and natural wonders.


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