Much of the early development of Minneapolis was tied to the hydropower of St.Anthony Falls. In the video above, you can see how the map of Minneapolis shows the gathering of industries by the river. Between 1848 and 1887, Minneapolis led the nation in sawmilling. During the peak of this activity, at least 13 sawmills were operating on the falls. The flour milling industry, dating back to the government mill built at Fort Snelling, quickly outpaced sawmilling and became the dominant industry in Minneapolis. During this time, St. Anthony, on the east side, was separate from Minneapolis and existed as two different cities. St. Anthony found its manufacturing district declining, while Minneapolis was booming. Citizens wanted to merge the two cities, but a vote among the cities rejected this idea. Minneapolis incorporated as a city in 1867. The two cities were pushed toward a merger by the collapse of the falls due to a geological incident. With help from the federal government, the falls were restored and Minneapolis merged with St. Anthony in 1872.
Between 1880 and 1930, Minneapolis led the nation in flour production, earning it the nickname "Mill City". Minneapolis surpassed Budapest as the world's leading flour miller in 1884, and production stood at about 7,000,000 US dry barrels. In 1900, Minneapolis mills were grinding 14.1 percent of the nation's grain. The flour milling industry also led to the growth of banking in the Minneapolis area. Mills required capital for investments in their plants and machinery and for their ongoing operations. By the early 20th century, Minneapolis was known as "the financial center of the Northwest".
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