Resources, Assets, Comrades, and Neighbors

The local historian’s network is filled with labors of love and deeply committed professionals. With resources like these, it’s a wonder anything ever gets forgotten.

Minnehaha Park websites:

The Park Board’s Minnehaha Park web site has Dave Smith’s Minnehaha park history, and they have updated it through 2015.

The John H. Stevens House is in Minnehaha Park and is Minneapolis’ first settler’s house. It has been subjected to three arson fires, and its future is not certain.

The Longfellow House in Minnehaha Park is mostly a sad waste from the historian’s perspective. The former owner, “Fish” Jones, once had a delightful Facebook presence.

The Minnehaha Depot is owned by the state historical society and is on Facebook and on flickr. The Minnesota Transportation Museum provides the volunteers who open the place in the summer (Sundays only?)

The Refectory houses the Sea Salt Eatery. has a list of plants in the park.

Minneapolis and Hennepin County web resources:

Hennepin History Museum is the County Historical Society for Hennepin County. Home to amazing treasures and unique information about the Falls. (And of course other places in Hennepin County.)  Find HHM on Facebook, and HHM on Twitter.

The City of Minneapolis is posting a lot of old images and documents on  This is a newish effort from 2015: here’s hoping it continues for a long, long time.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District are the people who protect the Minnehaha watershed: Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi River. And they announce when it’s safe to canoe the creek, too. MCWD is on Youtube and on Facebook.

The Hennepin County Library puts some wonderful resources on-line, notably the City Directories, but deep research happens downtown at the Special Collections department on the 4th floor. In autumn of 2016, the library put a lot of Minnehaha (and other) history on line. The Digital Collections web pages are chock full of marvelous stuff, like the Hennepin History magazine, fully searchable. Minneapolis building permits are also on the library web site.  This is the best thing to happen for local history researchers in years.

Lakewood Cemetery is the premier resting place for so many of those early settlers who have left us their stories. The “burial search” feature locates grave sites. At one point, searches were allowed for nearby graves, but they have removed that functionality.

The historical Minneapolis Tribune is searchable, with a partial run of issues in the early years. Beginning in 1867 and continuing through 1922.

Hennepin County Property Tax Database is an exceptional resource for locating lot lines, addition names, and finding out how much the neighbors paid for their house.

Minnesota web resources:

Minnesota Reflections at The Minnesota Digital Library is a growing repository of statewide historical images and documents. Many significant documents can be found here. Especially of interest are documents relating to the Park Board.

The Minnesota Historical Society is huge and well-funded. After an interregnum from June 2023 to April 2024, some of their collection has returned to their website. Vey low resolution photographs (less than 50 KB) are available for public viewing.  The Directory of Minnesota Photographers from MNHS contains incredibly useful information, and was archived in 2021. The archives of their Minnesota History magazine are searchable.  The People Finder search is sometimes useful.

The University of Minnesota has some interesting Minnehaha images.  And series of historic aerial photography.

The St. Paul City Directories are available through the St. Paul Public Library.  Because people did so move back and forth across the river.

Even the DNR gets involved in presenting information about Minnehaha Park.  Lidar imagery!

National web resources:

The Political Graveyard is a labor of love by a county official in Ann Arbor, MI. There’s nothing like a grand obsession, truly.

The Historical Markers Database is a fine and growing effort, needs more hands. Hiawatha and Minnehaha are missing as of April 2024.

The Library of Congress has a surprising amount to contribute to local history, including old newspapers (in a terrible interface).

Interestingly, the University of Michigan‘s “Making of America” website gives different results that the Cornell University “Making of America” website.

Find-a-Grave often includes biographical data from

There’s plenty of interesting info in the HathiTrust Digital Library.


Minneapolis Park History was Dave Smith’s history blog that applified his exceptional work from City of Parks, written for the Park Board’s 125th anniversary. Dave created the on-line Park Board Proceedings and Annuals list, such a genuinely handy resource that is being maintained on as of Nov. 2017.

Nokohaha writes a postcard-centric Minneapolis-mostly history blog. It is terrific. Unfortunately, this blog often goes off-line.

Hennepin History Museum has started a blog.

Bridges and Roads is a great collection of pictures and info by John Weeks. (Missing in 2024?)

Ben Welter wrote an exceptional Minnesota history blog for the Star Tribune called Yesterday’s News. It can be found in the Publisher’s Extra pages of, but not on the Star Tribune web site.

Matt Richter is a Minnesota beer and brewery history researcher and author for Minnesota Then. Checked in 2024, this seems to now offer free history tours. A fine idea.

Speaking of tours, Frank Bures has a really excellent walking tour at Minnehaha Falls. It’s a listen-as-you-go activity, not a tour he leads, so you can do it any time. As a park historian, I know this material and he has done an excellent job with it. Worth the few dollars.

Lakewood Cemetery has a blog, which mostly advertises events, but sometimes has featured history.

Greg Brick, the Twin Cities’ favorite cave expert, has a blog.

Pay-to-Play: is also free at Hennepin County libraries. has the absolute best search and save features of any historic newspaper site. Publisher’s Extra gives more current papers.

Minnehaha Park’s neighbors:

The Veterans’ Home on the point where Minnehaha Creek enters the Mississippi was originally called the Old Soldiers’ Home.

Fort Snelling was the original United States presence in the area.  Now the name applies to the  historic fort (which also has a Facebook page), and to Fort Snelling State Park, and to the military cemetery.

Fort Snelling State Park touches both the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area  (part of the National Park Service), and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (overseen by the US Fish and Wildlife Service).

Crosby Farm Regional Park is just across the Mississippi River from Minnehaha and Fort Snelling. A bit upstream, and directly across from the confluence of Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River is Hidden Falls Regional Park.

The Mississippi River Gorge Regional Park is part of the Minneapolis Park Board.

Abutting the Wabun Picnic Area in Minnehaha Park is Lock and Dam #1, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Camp Coldwater is a natural and sacred spring on the property that was formerly the Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Campus. That property is now owned by the National Park Service.

Just a bit downstream from Fort Snelling is the Sibley Historic Site, with houses built in the 1830s for those connected to the fur trade. The site is run by the Dakota County Historical Society. Nearby is the oldest continually operated church in Minnesota, St. Peter’s.

Upstream from the Sibley site and also on the south side of the Minnesota River is Pilot Knob, a native sacred (and burial) site. The interpretive brochure is excellent.

No longer in the area are the Ford Plant, the Longfellow Gardens Zoo, and the Minnehaha Free State.

[[these links all work as of April 2024]]