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Vol. 48, No. 1-2                                1989



Scott F. Anfinson
Minnesota Historical Society

© 1989 Minnesota Archaeological Society


Table of Contents
Historical Background
Archaeological Site Inventory

- Bassett's Creek
- Gateway
- West Side Mill District
- Gasworks Bluff
- Brewery Flats
- Milwaukee Road
- Boom Island
- Hennepin-Central
- Nicollet Island
- East Side Mill District
- Interbank

Historical Figures and Photographs  (big thumbnails)   (medium)   (small)
References Cited
Chronology Chart


This volume is Part 1 of a study on the archaeology of the central Minneapolis riverfront. Part 2 will be issued as Volume 49 of The Minnesota Archaeologist. Part 1 will provide the historical overview and site inventory, while Part 2 will present an overview of urban archaeology, summaries of the archaeological field work conducted over the last seven years, and interpretive plans.

These volumes are the result of an intensive research effort. More money has probably been spent on the archaeology of the central Minneapolis riverfront than on any other site in Minnesota. Prior to these publications, public presentations of that archaeological work have been limited to a few newspaper articles and occasional illustrated lectures.


This is indicative of the great failing of cultual resource management archaeology. The public pays for massive amounts of archaeological work yet rarely is told what they have paid for. Contract completion reports are buried in institutional archives unknown to most researchers and the public at large.

These two volumes of The Minnesota Archaeologist cannot provide every detail revealed by the literature search and archaeological testing. This detail is available in the research files and archaeological reports assembled at the Minnesota Historical Society. These volumes provide a comprehensive summary which should satisfy most needs of public education and profesional reporting.

Numerous individuals and organizations were essential to the completion of this volume. At the Minnesota Historical Society, I would like to thank the staffs of the Reference Library, the Audio-Visual Library, and the Manuscripts Collection. John Walstrom at the Map Library and John Wickre at Manuscripts were particularly helpful. The staff of the Minneapolis Public Library were also very helpful particularly Dorothy Burke. John Baule at the Hennepin County Historical Society was an enthusiastic supporter of the research. Various employees at the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Public Works, Northern States Power, and Minnegasco also aided the research.

When I started researching the central riverfront I was ignorant of its history and sources. Historians Jeffrey Hess, Robert Frame, and Nick Westbrook did much to help overcome that ignorance. Lucile Kane lent much needed inspiration through her excellent book and several conversations. Thora Cartlidge and Betsy Doermann of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board have also been very supportive, as well as Ann Calvert of the MCDA.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has been the most instumental agency in the success of the riverfront archaeology projects. They have gone much beyond their legal responsibilities to archaeology. They have recognized the value of archaeological resources and have promoted archaeology as an important element in riverfront interpretation. Robert Mattson has been the leader in this effort and his continuing support is much appreciated.

Last but not least, I would once again like to thank my family for their patience with me during my obsession with the central Minneapolis riverfront.

Scott F. Anfinson

Minnesota Historical Society

December 1990

Vol. 48, No. 1-2  © 1989 The Minnesota Archaeological Society

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