viewing the Falls, 1900’s: part 1

From 1890 until perhaps 1920, one could nearly touch the falling water at Minnehaha Falls. We cannot get so close today.

We can’t get this view of Minnehaha Falls today.  After the Park Board took ownership of Falls, they built a huge stone platform just where the photographers used to have people pose.  Not everyone liked this behemoth.  Charles “Father of the Parks” Loring wrote:

“The park board have undoubtedly made one serious mistake, which will someday be rectified. It grew out of the fact that for years a wood platform was used by a photographer, when romantic visitors, and lovers, wished their pictures taken, with the falls for a background. The public little realize how near we came to have the beautiful crescent destroyed by a building, which was to be let to the said photographer. Minnehaha will always be an attractive place, and some day the falls and the crescent below them will be restored to their natural condition. Every stone that has been built into the walls and steps will be removed, and until this is done, I do not wish to visit the spot again. The sight of that last wall cost me a sleepless night, and the thought of it now gives me unpleasant feelings.”

De-watering springs at Minnehaha was an early Park Board engineering problem.

The ground around Minnehaha is alive with water.  This is why the falls, when frozen, present that wide landscape of icicles.  Springs used to just bubble up, and all that water had to be routed away from structures like roads or this platform.  This detail picture shows a pipe pouring water into some kind of catchbasin or sewer.  Did people drink this water, at this late date?


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