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Minneapolis History

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  • 1805
    Dakota Indians cede 100,000 acres of land including Minneapolis to the US government.
  • 1848
    First white settlers arrived at St. Anthony Falls.
  • 1855
    City of St. Anthony incorporated March 3.
  • 1856
    Town of Minneapolis incorporated March 1.
  • 1869
    Hennepin Avenue sports a variety of stores selling everything from tea to fishing tackle and is Minneapolis' main street.
  • 1872
    Minneapolis and St. Anthony merge.
  • 1878
    The Washburn A Mill (completed in 1874) explodes, killing 18 men and leveling one-third of Minneapolis' milling capacity in one night.
  • 1880
    Minneapolis' population is 46,887 - 38th largest city in the nation.
  • 1880
    Minneapolis is the nation's leading flour-milling center until 1930.
  • 1889
    Minneapolis is the nation's leading saw-milling center until 1905.
  • 1890
    Minneapolis' population is 164,738 - 18th largest city in the nation.
  • 1902
    George Dayton opens his dry goods store in a new downtown building
  • 1905
    Minneapolis City Hall is built.
  • 1914
    The ninth Federal Reserve Bank of the United States opens in Minneapolis.
  • 1918
    In Minneapolis, one-half of the labor force is women due to World War I.
  • 1925
    Minnesota Valley Canning of Minneapolis creates a "giant" for an icon. It is neither jolly nor green until a decade later.
  • 1934
    The teamsters go on strike in Minneapolis. Due to conflict with the police and National Guard, 200 strikers are injured and four are killed.
  • 1940
    Minneapolis' population is 492,370 - 16th largest city in nation.
  • 1945
    Hubert H. Humphrey is elected mayor of Minneapolis.
  • 1948
    KSTP television station is the only station west of Chicago.
  • 1950
    Population reaches record high at 521,718.
  • 1954
    Open heart surgery pioneered at University of Minnesota.
  • 1960
    Renowned Guthrie Theater opens.
  • 1960
    Minneapolis' population is 482,872 - 25th largest city in nation.
  • 1975
    IDS Tower (775 feet) is built.
  • 1982
    Most costly fire in Minneapolis' history destroys Donaldsons and Northwestern National Bank buildings.
  • 1987
    Minnesota Twins defeat the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series.
  • 1988
    Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opens - it is the largest urban sculpture garden in the world.
  • 1990
    Minneapolis' population is 368,383 - 42nd largest city in the nation.
  • 1990
    Target Center opens as NBA Timberwolves home.
  • 1991
    Minneapolis Convention Center opens
  • 1991
    Historic State Theater reopens with "Carousel"
  • 1991
    Minnesota Twins defeat Atlanta Braves and win the World Series
  • 1993
    Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton is elected. She is the first woman and first African-American mayor in the history of Minneapolis.
  • 2002
    University of Minnesota Golden Gophers win three national titles in one year for the first time ever - in wrestling, ice hockey and golf.

The landscape of the Twin Cities, with its many lakes and high river bluffs, is dramatic and stunning. As the glaciers that once covered the area here pulled back at the end of the last Ice Age, they dredged out the land and left huge geological landmarks. In certain places the evidence is still visible, with the most obvious example being more than 25 lakes in the seven-county metro area.

Twin Cities early on The Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, had quite different beginnings. Minneapolis and St. Paul sit astride two rivers, the Mississippi, which begins in northern Minnesota, and the Minnesota River, which flows south of the metro area. The downtowns are located just 13 miles apart, each situated on the banks of the Mississippi.

The first modern people to live here were the Dakota, and their story is a large part of the region. The area was a special place for these Native Americans, and their ceremonies are still enacted for special occasions. The waters of Lake Minnetonka, St. Anthony Falls, Minnehaha Creek, Minnehaha Falls, and the bluffs over the Mississippi are just some of the spots that they hold sacred. Visitors can still view burial mounds overlooking the river at Mounds Park in St. Paul.

Perhaps the first white man to discover the enchantment of the area was Father Louis Hennepin, a French missionary. In 1680, he came upon St. Anthony Falls, the only falls on the entire length of the Mississippi River. The county of Hennepin (which includes Minneapolis), Hennepin Avenue, which is a major downtown artery, and many other local spots are namesakes of this early explorer.

For more Minneapolis History Resources:

A History of Minneapolis