In 1680, the French explorer Daniel Greysolon explored the area of what is now Minnesota to increase French dominance in the area. On this exploration, he met other explorers such as Father Louis Hennepin, a Catholic missionary. During this expedition, Father Hennepin discovered and explored the falls and named them St. Anthony, after his patron saint Anthony of Padua. This landmark was shared widely with an audience in publications describing the Louisiana territory. Over time, the land where Minneapolis currently sits was acquired by the United States through a series of treaties and purchases with the Dakota, England, and France. Land east of the river was claimed by the England and then by the United States, while land west of the river was claimed by France and Spain. In 1803, the land west of the river was acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase.
To further secure the area purchased by Zebulon Pike in 1805, Fort Snelling (U.S. Military Base) was established in 1819 to extend United States jurisdiction over the area. The soldiers needed to supply the fort so they planted wheat and built a lumber and flour mill by the falls in 1822. In the 1830s, plans to build a settlement in the east bank of the river. Dealings with the Dakota and the government led to Colonel Stevens operating a ferry service across the Mississippi and the first permanent dwelling of what would be Minneapolis in 1850. As Fort Snelling became smaller, this spurred development of the village of Minneapolis.
Franklin Steele bought land along the river with the purpose of building a sawmill at St. Anthony Falls, which was operational in 1848. Steele founded a townsite in 1849 and gave it the name "St. Anthony". The town quickly grew with workers. In addition to the first sawmill and several others that followed, a grist mill was built in 1851. Early on the community on the west bank of the river tried several names, rejecting Albion, All Saints, Lowell, Brooklyn, Addiseville and Winona. The twenty-four small lakes that are now within the city limits led Charles Hoag, Minneapolis's first schoolmaster, to suggest Minnehapolis, derived from Minnehaha and "mni", the Dakota word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city. The first bridge over the Mississippi River was built at Hennepin Avenue, around 1865. The Hennepin Avenue Bridge was the first bridge built over the full width of the Mississippi River and was built in 1854. The bridge was built at a cost of $36,000 and had a toll of five cents for pedestrians and twenty-five cents for horsedrawn wagons. Rails were finally built in Minnesota in 1862, when the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad built track in the area which continued throughout the 1860s.
Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover image by McGhiever and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 and sourced from Wikipedia.