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10/26/2000: Nicollet Island (Minneapolis)

10/26/2000: Nicollet Island (Minneapolis)

Join the group for a hike around Nicollet Island. Islands of the Mississippi in the area of Minneapolis, in their descending order, are Boom Island, where log booms formerly retained the lumbermen's logs until they were gradually supplied to the sawmills; Nicollet Island, a residential portion of the city, named in honor of the French explorer and geographer, Joseph Nicolas Nicollet; Hennepin Island, named for explorer Father Hennepin; Cataract Island and Carver's Island, just below the falls, named for Captain Jonathan Carver, who visited the falls in 1766; Spirit Island, a high remnant of the rock strata; and Meeker Island, an alluvial tract between the Franklin Avenue bridge and the Milwaukee Railway bridge, which was owned by Judge Bradley B. Meeker. Franklin Steele claimed the Nicollet Island when the east side of the Mississippi River was opened to white settlement in 1838. Several houses were built on Nicollet Island in the 1840's. In 1865, William Eastman and John Merriam bought Nicollet Island and decided to develop the southern part of the island as an industrial center. In 1869, an attempt to bring waterpower to Nicollet Island failed disasterously when the tailrace tunnel under the river collapsed at the southern tip of the island, which nearly destroyed St. Anthony Falls. The tunnel break was eventually plugged, but no further attempts were made to bring waterpower directly to Nicollet Island. Several prominent families built large houses on the northern part of the island in the 1870s. Eastman built several large stone and brick townhouse complexes beginning in 1877. In the 1920's and 1930's, the two largest Eastman apartment buildings and several mansions were torn down for the construction of De La Salle High School.

Meet at the Nicollet Island Inn on Nicollet Island, next to Hennepin Island and across from the St. Anthony Main district in Minneapolis. We will hike Nicollet Island, Boom Island, Mississippi Mile, the Stone Arch Bridge, and Riverplace.

Restaurant after the hike for dinner or dessert.

Minneapolis bridgehead area historical information

St. Anthony Falls historical information

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This webpage was last updated on September 30, 2002.