Best Historical Sites in Minneapolis

The city of Minneapolis in Minnesota is blessed with a number of famous historic sites. Once the home to the mighty Mdewakanton Sioux tribe, the city was first explored by French voyagers in approximately 1680. The area continued being the site of numerous artists, explorers, adventurers and farmers. It even supported an United States Army base, one of the furthest west at its time.

Ultimately, the U.S. government purchased the land from the band of Dakota and the Minnesota Territorial Legislature established the city on the west bank of the Mississippi in 1856. Rail service began in 1867, linking Minneapolis and Chicago. The city of St. Anthony, built on the east bank, joined with its west bank counterpart in 1872 to form a united city.

Minnesota is privy to a number of organizations that push for the preservation of history. The Minnesota Historical Society operates a number of sites throughout the state. Minneapolis itself utilizes its Parks and Recreation Board to mandate the challenges and implementation of historic places. The National Parks Service also oversees a number of the city’s historic locals.

One of the oldest interesting historical sites is Fort Snelling. It is situated where the Minnesota and Mississippi come together on top of a river bluff. The fortification is protected by the two river banks and a large defensible park. Construction began in 1820 and formed the roots of the fledgling city.

Another major historic site of interest in Minneapolis is Saint Anthony Falls. Located just northeast of downtown, the waterfall has the distinction of being the only falls on the Upper Mississippi. Beginning in 1869, much of the original falls were replaced by man-made structures until they now appear to be completely artificial.

Located in the Minnehaha Falls Park, the Minnehaha Depot is one of the nation’s oldest train depots, built in 1875. Called “The Princes” due to its delicate details. It first began as a train ticket counter, then was modified to become a street car vendor. Today, the depot stands across the street from the Hiawatha Lane light rail.

Completed in 1929 just before the stock market crash, the opening of Foshay Tower was one of the most anticipated events of the era. The tower was dubbed the “first skyscraper west of the Mississippi,” stands 607 feet (185 m) tall and features 32 floors. The opening of the Foshay was a media event, even featuring a new march from John Phillip Sousa. However, Wilbur Foshay went bankrupt within three weeks of the Foshay opening.

Widely considered the most important music venue in the Twin Cities, First Avenue is responsible for helping establish the careers of countless artists. Bands and performers like Semisonic, Soul Asylum, Husker Du, The Replacements, Atmosphere, Dillinger Four and, of course, Prince. First Avenue also has the distinction of being featured in the film “Purple Rain.”

The city of Minneapolis is awash in history from all facets of its culture. One can truly appreciate each exploration into the different venues and sites by making good use of an elaborate system of preservation. In addition to the sites explored here, hundreds of other locations exist that make this city’s past rich and rewarding.