St. Anthony Falls – How Waterpower Built a City Walking Tour

Stone Arch Bridge with falls, Minneapolis

St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the largest natural falls on the Mississippi River. People have always been drawn to the power and beauty of St. Anthony Falls. For Native Americans, the falls possessed religious significance and harbored powerful spirits. For the early European and American explorers, the falls provided a landmark in a vast wilderness, as well as an interesting geological phenomenon. During the 19th century, settlers, tourists, and artists were drawn to St. Anthony Falls’ picturesque beauty, while entrepreneurs seized the waterpower of the falls for their lumber and flour mills. Meanwhile, promoters of river transportation viewed St. Anthony Falls as an obstacle to be overcome, as they dreamed of extending navigation on the Mississippi River above Minneapolis.

The 90-minute walking tour will highlight the natural landscape and the human infrastructure still visible as a testament to the constantly changing physical and economic forces that made Minneapolis the city that it is today.

The tour guide is David Berg. David is a lifelong resident of Minnesota and holds a degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife Linda reside in south Minneapolis. For 25 years Mr. Berg was employed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a Ranger/Naturalist with Minnesota State Parks. A major portion of his time was spent presenting interpretive programs for school groups and the general public. Mr. Berg then took a position with the Minnesota Historical Society at their newest historic site – Mill City Museum in downtown Minneapolis- where, for 13 years, he portrayed William de la Barre, the hydro engineer who, in 1885, “re-engineered St. Anthony falls” to maximize the power of falling water to run the largest flour mills in the world, making Minneapolis the city that it is today! Mr. Berg and his wife both retired in 2016 and keep busy using their time and talents volunteering for church and civic organizations.

Next Tour Date: Tuesday, July 2 • 6-7:30pm

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