Posted 12/8/14 by Miles Young in Lifestyle

A Quick Tour of Landmarks that Created Minneapolis History

With so many things to do in Minneapolis, trying to plan your own list of “must see places” becomes hectic and downright confusing. But if you stay close to a landmark like the East Lake Community Library, built in 1924 to accommodate the immigrant population, you can spend your time well. The oldest Lake Library Branch, the East Lake Community Library, had the first woman librarian at the helm, Gratin Countryman.

The Milwaukee Trail-Seward

Milwaukee Avenue Historic District in Seward served as a resting place along the trail between St. Anthony and Fort Snelling. When the city grew, railroad tracks replaced the trail. To accommodate the nearby railroad workers, small homes with gingerbread decoration served as a home base. Built in 1884-1886 for lower-income residents, some of the houses underwent restoration; now a bicycle and pedestrian mall surround them.

Mill City Museum


Downtown Minneapolis was home to the old Washburn, a flour mill built on the banks of the Mississippi River. After extensive renovation, today the museum shows off the history of flour milling and the impact it had on the city’s development. Don’t miss the Flour Tower eight story elevator show, or the hands on Baking and Water Labs. The tour lasts about two hours and adult tickets are just $11. If you’d like to stay close to the Mill City Museum, there are plenty of inexpensive Minneapolis hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Downtown featuring a restaurant, fitness center, and pool.

Amos B. Coe House

The Amos B. Coe House in Steven’s Square is a true representation of Queen Anne style construction, showing splendid porches and picturesque balconies. Built around 1884-1886, the architects designed the home for upper middle class residents. It now serves as the Minnesota African-American History Museum and Cultural Center.

Alden B. Smith House

Located in Loring Park, the Alden B. Smith House, built in 1886, shows fine masonry stone and round-arched windows, representing the Richardsonian Romanesque design. William Channing Whitney designed the magnificent home at the turn of the century, in a fashionable neighborhood. Its recipient was Alden B. Smith, who made his fortune as a partner in a Sash and Door.

McPhail School of Music

Built in 1923, this Gothic Revival music school for the performing arts was the first of its kind. It grew from two rooms to one of the largest schools of music and dramatic arts in the United States.

Cappelen Memorial Bridge

Known as the Franklin Avenue Bridge, and located near Prospect Park, it spans over 1,000 feet across the Mississippi River, connecting south and south-east Minnesota. Constructed in 1919-1923, it’s the first steel-reinforced arched concrete bridge.

Of course, the Lumber Exchange Building, Bakken Museum of Electricity, the Mary Tyler Moore Statue, and the Mall of America are the most popular sites. However, seeing history from a different point of view is inspiring.

If you have visited other landmarks you’d like to share, please write your response in comment section.

Miles Young

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Miles Young is a freelance writer with a passion for sports, music, and pop culture. When he's not working on his latest feature story, he's out walking his dog or catching up on Game of Thrones.