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Hennepin Avenue Bridge

[Photo: Aerial view of Minneapolis milling district.]
The Hennepin Avenue Bridge crosses the Mississippi River and over Nicollet Island. It is the second bridge from the bottom, with the tall suspension towers.
Photo: National Park Service/Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
[Photo: The Hennepin Avenue Bridge and Minneapolis Main Post Office.]
The Hennepin Avenue Bridge and the Minneapolis Main Post Office.
Photo by Ben Lee

Site submitted by: Steve Lee


River Mile 854.30 — On Both Banks




Explorers should check out the information posted under the west (RDB) end of the bridge, describing the construction of the four bridges that have spanned the river at this point, including uncovered footings of the 1855 and 1876 bridges.

In 1851 Franklin Steele established a ferry in this area. In 1854-55 the first suspension bridge across the Mississippi River was built here. The engineer, Thomas Griffith, had been an assistant in building the Niagara Falls suspension bridge. The bridge was 620 feet long, 17 feet wide, with wood towers with stone bases. It operated as a private toll bridge until 1869. A second bridge was built to carry the increasing traffic in 1876, this bridge was 32 feet wide. This bridge was outgrown in only 14 years and a steel arch bridge was built in 1891. This bridge was 56 feet wide, had 12 foot sidewalks, and street car tracks.

(Second bridge at site was in 1876, a stone tower suspension bridge, then in 1888 a iron arch bridge) (Padelford ?).

In 1990 the current Hennepin Avenue Suspension Bridge was built on the site. During construction many buried features of earlier bridges were uncovered.


Content © 2005 Friends of the Mississippi River and each item's authors.
The Mississippi River Field Guide is provided by Friends of the Mississippi River.