Nicollet Island developed as a microcosm of early Minneapolis, with water-powered factories, storefronts, block-long rowhouses, a mansion district, and a neighborhood that still stands as a sampler of the 19th century residential architecture.
The 40-acre island just above St. Anthony Falls next to downtown Minneapolis is the site of the first bridge anywhere across the Mississippi River (where Hennepin Avenue crosses now), as well as an early railroad crossing that divides the island in two. It is said to be the only inhabited island the entire length of the Mississippi.
The South Tip Tour focuses on the falls and the industry it attracted; the Hennepin crossing and the commerce that lined it; and the movers and shakers who populated Grove Street and built grand homes downriver from the railroad tracks.
This tour walks about a half mile; the tour guide is Chris Steller.