Twin Cities 2013 Conference
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2013 Annual SIA Conference

Post-Conference Tours (June 2, 2013)

Sunday Tour 1: Mississippi Riverfront and Mill City Museum
(Sunday, June 2, 10:00 to 3:00)

This tour will look at the history of Minneapolis and its flour milling legacy. The tour will begin with a 1.5 hour-long bus tour of the historic Minneapolis Riverfront District. The Riverfront District and St. Anthony Falls were the birthplace of the City of Minneapolis and the hub flour milling activity. Minneapolis was a national leader in flour production and innovation. The water-powered mills and support industries lined the banks of the Mississippi River and the area reputedly had “the most intensive and extensive direct drive water power ever developed” (Szondy and Clouse 1990:77). Although all of Minneapolis’ flour mills are now dark, many of the physical remains of the industry are present. During this tour you will see this significant urban industrial landscape by bus, followed by a visit to the Minnesota Historical Society’s Mill City Museum.

The Mill City Museum is located within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and the National Park Services Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The museum is housed in the Washburn A Mill. This mill, listed as a National Historic Landmark, was designed by Austrian engineer William de la Barre and, at the time of its completion in 1880, the mill was thought to be the largest in the world. A fire in 1991 consumed the machinery and artifacts within the Washburn A, and almost completely destroyed the structure. Despite the devastation, the Minnesota Historical Society stabilized what remained on the mill and built into its ruins the Mill City Museum. The museum showcases the history of the Minneapolis waterfront, flour milling, technological change, business history.

Included in the museum visit are tickets to the Flour Tower and Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat. In the Flour Tower you will take a freight elevator to different floors of the building, each of which is designed to look like a floor in a working flour mill. On each floor a story about the mill and milling is told by former Washburn A Mill employee. Upon exiting the Flour Tower on the 8th floor, visitors will see the extant milling equipment which is interpreted by museum staff. The Flour Tower concludes with a visit to the 9th floor observation deck to view St. Anthony Falls. Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat is a fun and informative look at Minneapolis’ social, cultural and physical make-up.

This tour will leave from the St. Paul Hotel at 10:00 am and return at 3:00. Box lunches will be provided.

Sunday Tour 2: St. Paul Union Depot (Sunday, June 2, morning)

This walking tour will visit the recently renovated St. Paul Union Depot. During its heyday in the 1920s, the Union Depot served 20,000 passengers and had 300 trains passing through per day. The updated and accurately restored facility reopened in December 2012 and plans to provide local and intercity bus service, Amtrak rail service and light rail service by the end of 2014.  This tour will depart from the St. Paul Hotel in the morning and return before noon. This tour involves walking about 1.5 miles so plan accordingly; wear comfortable shoes and bring water!

Society for Industrial Archeology
Tel.: 906-487-1889

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