With the recent revitalization of the Minneapolis Warehouse District and the surge in construction of condominiums and other buildings near the banks of the Mississippi, the landscape of the city seems to change almost daily. Not so long ago, however, this newly desirable area was blanketed by railroads serving the lumber and flour mills and other industries powered by the enormous Falls of St. Anthony.
In Minneapolis and the Age of Railways, Don Hofsommer presents Minneapolis from the 1860s into the 1950s, when railroads served as a unique link between city and countryside. Rails carried wheat and helped make Minneapolis the flour milling capital of the world; brought logs to Minneapolis to be processed into lumber that built towns and farms across the prairies; and delivered coal and all manner of manufactured goods and merchandise to Minneapolis, to its vast hinterland to the north and west, and beyond to the Rockies and the Pacific, making the growth of America’s northern heartland possible.
Railroads also provided efficient, long-distance transportation for hundreds of thousands of people who traveled via Minneapolis. The Milwaukee Road and Great Northern passenger terminals in Minneapolis were vibrant places—the heart of the city—pumping passengers, mail, and express parcels into the nation’s steel-rail cardiovascular system.
Illustrated with more than 200 period photographs and maps detailing the city and the tracks that crossed it, this remarkable book reflects a time not so long ago when the locomotive dominated the landscape and set the tempo for the nation—the age of railways.
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Don L. Hofsommer is professor of history at St. Cloud State University. He is the author of many books on railroad history, including The Tootin’ Louie: A History of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway and The Great Northern Railway: A History, both published by Minnesota.
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