Yes, I live in Minnesota, the very state that’s home to Walnut Grove, the setting for the Little House show. And, no, I’ve never been to Walnut Grove, home to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, and annual Wilder Pageant. It’s on my bucket list! And this summer, July 25 – 27, Walnut Grove is even hosting a Little House Cast Reunion.
So, since I haven’t been to Walnut Grove–yet–I thought I’d talk about my favorite historical landmark in the Twin Cities: the Mill Ruins Park area. Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, it’s an area that transports the visitor back in time to the late 1800’s when flour milling was a huge industry. It’s the birth place of a few companies you might be familiar with: General Mills and Pillsbury.
Central to the area is the Mill City Museum. The Washburn A. Mill was built back in 1874 and, at that time, was the largest flour mill in the world. But a mere four years later, an explosion racked the area, killing and injuring a number of people, and destroying five mills. The *new* Washburn A Mill opened in 1880 and was once again considered the largest in the world until Pillsbury built a mill across the river in 1981. The mills fell into disuse through the 1900’s then, in 1991, Washburn A. Mill was again victim to fire, leaving much of the building in ruins. Many of those ruins are still there today, existing as part of the Mill City Museum. And today the museum is a fun, educational staple of the area.
For me, the best place to view the museum is from the Stone Arch Bridge. This bridge, built of limestone and granite from the area, was completed in 1883 for James J. Hill’s Manitoba Railway. It links the east and west banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. The bridge was converted in 1994 to a pedestrian and bike trail and gives a panoramic view of the Minneapolis area including St. Anthony Falls and downtown Minneapolis.
What makes this area even more fun is that it’s surrounded by restaurants and shopping and walking paths. It’s easy to wile away an entire day there, and of course, it makes a great backdrop for a novel setting.
To be entered in a drawing for a copy of Rose’s The Widow’s Suitor, in the comments below let me know what your favorite historical site is in your area. Also, feel free to comment on all the posts from May 25, 2014 to now. The more often you comment, the more times your name will be entered into the drawing. Want to order Rose’s book today? Then click >here<.
Drawing is open to continental U.S. residents only and will be open until Friday, June 6, 2014 at midnight, central time zone.