Construction of the Apron at St. Anthony Falls, Mississippi River
by Anna Freyberg, Public Programs Intern, Hennepin History Museum
eLibrary Minnesota Resources (for Minnesota residents)
1. "Minneapolis." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 14 May. 2018. Accessed 18 Jun. 2020.
2. "Mississippi River." Geography, Gale, 2016. Kids InfoBits Presents. Gale In Context: Elementary. Accessed 18 June 2020.
3. "Pillsbury Company: Pillsbury A Mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota, c. 1900–1910." Image. Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 8 Feb. 2020. Accessed 18 Jun. 2020.
Additional Resources for Research
1. Anfinson, John O. “St. Anthony Falls: Timber, Flour and Electricity.” in River of History: A Historic Resources Study of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, National Park Service, November 22, 2019.
2. Carroll, Jane Lamm. “Engineering the Falls: The Corps of Engineers' Role at St. Anthony Falls.” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oct. 27, 2015.
3. Flour Power: The Significance of Flour Milling at the Falls (PDF). Minnesota History Magazine, Spring/Summer 2003.
4. Flour Power. Season 1: Episode 1 in “Minnesota Experience.” tpt.org, 2018.
5. Huber, Molly. “St. Anthony Falls Tunnel Collapse, October 5, 1869.” MNopedia, May 10, 2011.
6. “Minneapolis Flour Milling Boom,” Mill City Museum, Minnesota Historical Society.
7. St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board. Minnesota Historical Society. 2011.
Teaching Guide: Construction of the Apron at St. Anthony Falls, Mississippi River
Primary Source Analysis
For each source, ask students to indicate:
- the author's point of view
- the author's purpose
- historical context
For inquiry-based learning, ask students to:
- explain how a source tells its story and/or makes its argument
- explain the relationships between sources
- compare and contrast sources in terms of point of view and method
- support conclusions and interpretations with evidence
- identify questions for further investigation
This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Construction of the Apron at St. Anthony Falls, Mississippi River , in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.
1. What is the purpose of an apron? How was it able to preserve the falls?
2. What makes St. Anthony Falls unique? Think in terms of geology, economics, history, etc.
3. Which important industries in Minneapolis did the water power of St. Anthony Falls make possible?
4. Why was Congress willing to give Franklin Cook such a large amount of funding to repair the falls?
5. What would have happened if Cook and the Army Corps had not been successful in preserving the power of the falls? Think about and discuss the importance of St. Anthony Falls within Minneapolis’ history.
1. Identify all the ways in which the water power of St. Anthony Falls has impacted your life. Think about where you live or what you ate for breakfast. (If you had cereal, what company manufactured it?)
2. How many products can you name that were made through the power of St. Anthony Falls?
3. Look at the photos from the set and think about how the apron would have been constructed using 1870’s resources and technology. What are your initial reactions? How would the construction processes of the apron be different if it was built today?