As part of the American frontier, Minnesota attracted settlers and homesteaders from across the country, with its growth initially centered on timber, agriculture, and railroad construction. Into the early 20th century, European immigrants arrived in significant numbers, particularly from Scandinavia, Germany, and Central Europe; many were linked to the failed revolutions of 1848, which partly influenced the state's development as a center of labor and social activism. Minnesota's rapid industrialization and urbanization precipitated major social, economic, and political changes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the state was at the forefront of labor rights, women's suffrage, and political reform. Minnesota is considered Democratic-leaning, having voted for every Democratic presidential nominee since 1976, longer than any other U.S. state. (Full article...)
Saint Anthony Falls, or the Falls of Saint Anthony (Dakota: Owámniyomni, lit.'whirlpool') located at the northeastern edge of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the only natural major waterfall on the Mississippi River. Throughout the mid-to-late 1800’s, various dams were built atop the east and west faces of the falls to support the milling industry that spurred the growth of the city of Minneapolis. In 1880, the central face of the falls was reinforced with a sloping timber apron to stop the upstream erosion of the falls. In the 1950s, the apron was rebuilt with concrete, which makes up the most visible portion of the falls today. A series of locks were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s to extend navigation to points upstream.
The falls were renamed from their Dakota title in 1680 by Father Louis Hennepin after his patron saint, St. Anthony of Padua. The towns of St. Anthony and Minneapolis, which had developed on the east and west sides of the falls, respectively, merged in 1872 to fully use the power of the falls for milling operations. From 1880 to about 1930, Minneapolis was known as the "Flour Milling Capital of the World". (Full article...)
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