cultural territorial networks

productive heritage



Minneapolis began its development in the early 19th Century as a transportation hub and milling center taking advantage of its location on the Mississippi River. It received grain and timber from the region, milled it into flour and lumber. For nearly a century it was the largest grain milling center in the world. Historically important railroads later connected the cities across the continent adding manufacturing and technology to the regional economy.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is the major horticultural research center for the University of Minnesota. It has developed many cold-hardy fruit cultivars that have led to a robust fruit production industry in Minnesota and neighboring states.
Mississippi River Locks and Dams, constructed and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are improvements on the Mississippi River that provided the water power to drive the milling industry and navigational improvements to enable large scale river transportation of its products to the world.
The St. Paul Ford Motors Plant is located on the Mississippi River and has been assembling trucks and cars there since 1924. It has been powered by hydroelectricity produced from the flow of the Mississippi. Scheduled to close in 2012, it is a brownfield industrial site.

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3.1 Horticultural research center – Minnesota Landscape Arboretum


The University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center (HRC) focuses on research programs to develop new plant varieties that are winter hardy in Minnesota. In addition to research ranges, its grounds include large public collections, gardens and exhibits of winter hardy plants. Its new plants continue to drive the Minnesota fruit production industry.

Since its establishment by the State legislature in 1878, what is now the HRC has developed many apple and other fruit varieties that can survive cold winter climates. In 1907 new land was purchased for the HRC that later became the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum of which the HRC is now a part.

The Arboretum has more than 1,000 acres (405 hec) of gardens, natural areas and extensive collections of northern-hardy plants.  Its HRC has produced over 100 cold climate fruit cultivars and many cold hardy flowering plants. Together, they continue to innovate to support the nursery, fruit production and landscape industries in Minnesota.

Web: Horticultural Research Center –Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

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3.2 Mississippi River Locks and Dams, St. Paul District Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army


The St. Paul District Corps of Engineers created and maintains the locks, dams and navigational channel that supported the grain and lumber milling industries at the Falls of St. Anthony. Its facilities continue to support riverfront industries, including commercial barge and recreational boat traffic, as well as power generation.

In 1866, the Corps of Engineers began a series of improvements to the Minneapolis-St. Paul reach of the Mississippi River to improve navigation. Beginning in 1880, flour millers at St. Anthony Falls especially pushed for reservoirs above the falls to increase the flow of water to keep their mills turning longer and more consistently.

The Corps of Engineers continues to manage and maintain the locks, dams and channel so important to commercial and recreational boat traffic. It also interprets the riverfront history and that of the Corps’ activities on the river through tours and its visitors’ center located above and adjacent to the upper falls locks and dam.

Web: Mississippi River Locks and Dams

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3.3 Ford Plant, St. Paul MN


The St. Paul Ford Motors Plant located on the Mississippi River will soon be closed and the site will be opened for redevelopment. It is a contaminated brownfield industrial site. The City of St. Paul has sought redevelopment ideas to transform the land into 21st century sustainable land uses.

In 1924 the Ford Motor Company open a large assembly plant on the Mississippi River. In most recently it specialized in the production of Ford Ranger Trucks. By 2007 Ford sold the 15 megawatt hydropower plant, that historically powered the plant, and has extended the closing date from 2008 to 2012.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has set a high bar on sustainability saying that he hopes it can be a zero-emissions urban development. The site could be a 'green' manufacturing plant, a transit village, an R&D park, or even a large public park. Plans have been put forth for its future, some by graduate students at the University of Minnesota.

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