Saint Anthony Falls

Saint Anthony Falls is the only natural waterfall along the entire length of the main branch of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. It was held sacred by the Dakota, who called it kakabikah (split rock). Oanktehi, the God of Waters and Evil, was said to reside below the falls itself. The three islands, later called Hannepin, Nicollet and Spirit Islands were likewise sacred, and another legend has the first wife of a warrior who took a second wife kill herself and her two children by rowing her canoe into the waterfall. This incident gave Spirit Island its name. As a portage point (place where boats needed to be dragged out of the water), the Saint Anthony falls area was a natural settlement area for natives.

In 1680, Father Louis Hannepin, who had previously brought Niagara Falls to European attention, came across the waterfall of the Mississippi, which he named for his patron saint, Saint Anthony of Padua. Hannepin claimed the waterfalls to be 18m in height, though later visitors claimed the falls were only 6m tall.

Geological research has revealed that St. Anthony Falls first appeared around 10000 years ago near the Glacial River Warren near present day Fort Snelling, creating a mighty waterfall 55m high. The geology of the region consists of a thin layer of hard Platteville Limestone overlaid atop the much softer Saint Peter Sandstone. As the waterfall descended, it carved away at the sandstone until the limestone layer collapsed under its own weight. This meant that the Falls eroded its way upstream at a phenomenal rate-1.2m a year, traveling to its current location at Minneapolis in the 19th century.

Saint Anthony Falls quickly became the driver for the Towns of St. Anthony and Minneapolis, powering several lumber mills, then textile and flour mills. Tunnels were dug into the soft sandstone to power the waterwheels. This also greatly increased the erosion of Saint Anthony Falls, which receded 7.9m/year between 1857 and 1869.

In 1869, the St. Anthony Falls Water Power Company agreed for William Eastman and John Merriam to build a tunnel under Hennepin and Nicollet Islands. On Oct 5, 1869 disaster struck when the limestone layer caved in, sweeping away much of Hannepin Island and collapsing much of the waterfall. Citizens on both sides of the river rushed to preserve the falls and prevent its destruction, which would have rendered all of the mills useless. After years of work and multiple dams and coffers, the falls were saved, with the Army Corp of Engineers finally preserving it with a concrete apron seen today.
Downtown, Minneapolis, Minnesota

This evil building was found from Flickr by user www78 . Original date: 2017-11-18 23:50:16

Tagged: , Minneapolis , Minnesota , St. , Anthony’s , Falls

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