Minneapolis is the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital. Known as the Twin Cities, these two form the core of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the sixteenth-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with 3.5 million residents. The United States Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 372,833 people in 2006. Minneapolis and Minnesota celebrated their sesquicentennials in 2008.
The city is abundantly rich in water, with over twenty lakes and wetlands, the Mississippi riverfront, creeks, and waterfalls, many connected by parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Minneapolis was once the world's flour milling capital and a hub for timber, and today is the primary business center between Chicago, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington. Minneapolis has cultural organizations that draw creative people and audiences to the city for theater, visual art, writing, and music. The community's diverse population has a long tradition of charitable support through progressive public social programs and through private and corporate philanthropy.
The name Minneapolis is attributed to the city's first schoolmaster, who combined mni, the Dakota word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city. Minneapolis is nicknamed the "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City."
GeographyGlacial melt waters formed Saint Anthony Falls near Fort Snelling about ten thousand years ago.
The history and economic growth of Minneapolis are tied to water, the city's defining physical characteristic. During the last Ice age 10,000 years ago, receding glaciers fed torrents of water from a glacial river that undercut the Mississippi and Minnehaha riverbeds. This created waterfalls that are important to modern Minneapolis. Lying on an artesian aquifer and otherwise flat terrain, Minneapolis has a total area of 58.4 square miles (151.3 km²) and of this 6 percent is water. Water is managed by watershed districts that correspond to the Mississippi River and the city's three creeks. Twelve lakes, three large ponds, and five unnamed wetlands are within Minneapolis.
The city's lowest elevation of 686 feet (209 m) is near where Minnehaha Creek meets the Mississippi River. The site of the Prospect Park Water Tower is often cited as the city's highest point, but a spot at 974 feet (296.88 m) in or near Waite Park in northeast Minneapolis is corroborated by Google Earth as the highest ground.Lake Harriet frozen in winter. Ice blocks deposited in valleys by retreating glaciers created the lakes of Minneapolis.
Minneapolis has a continental climate typical of the Upper Midwest. Winters can be cold and dry, while summer is comfortably warm although at times it can be hot and humid. The city experiences a full range of precipitation and related weather events, including snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and fog. The warmest temperature ever recorded in Minneapolis was 108 °F (42.2 °C) in July 1936, and the coldest temperature ever recorded was −41 °F (−40.6 °C), in January 1888. The snowiest winter of record was 1983-1984, when 98.4 inches (2.5 m) of snow fell.
Because of its northerly location in the United States and lack of large bodies of water to moderate the air, Minneapolis is sometimes subjected to cold Arctic air masses, especially during late December, January, and February. The average annual temperature of 45.4 °F (7 °C) gives the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area the coldest annual mean temperature of any major metropolitan area in the continental United States.
HistoryTaoyateduta was among the 121 Sioux leaders who from 1837 to 1851 ceded what is now Minneapolis.Loading flour, Pillsbury, 1939
Dakota Sioux were the region's sole residents at the time explorers arrived from France in about 1680. Nearby Fort Snelling, built in 1819 by the United States Army, spurred growth in the area. Circumstances pressed the Mdewakanton band of the Dakota to sell their land, allowing people arriving from the east to settle there.
The Minnesota Territorial Legislature authorized present-day Minneapolis as a town on the Mississippi's west bank in 1856. Minneapolis incorporated as a city in 1867, the year rail service began between Minneapolis and Chicago, and joined with the east bank city of St. Anthony in 1872.
Using water power
Minneapolis grew up around Saint Anthony Falls, the only waterfall on the Mississippi. Millers have used hydropower since the first century B.C.E., but the results in Minneapolis between 1880 and 1930 were so remarkable the city has been described as "the greatest direct-drive waterpower center the world has ever seen."2 In early years, forests in northern Minnesota were the source of a lumber industry that operated seventeen sawmills on power from the waterfall. By 1871, the west river bank had twenty-three businesses including flour mills, woolen mills, iron works, a railroad machine shop, and mills for cotton, paper, sashes, and planing wood.
The farmers of the Great Plains grew grain that was shipped by rail to the city's thirty-four flour mills, and Pillsbury and General Mills became processors. By 1905, Minneapolis delivered almost 10 percent of the country's flour and grist. At peak production, a single mill at Washburn-Crosby made enough flour for twelve million loaves of bread each day.
When the country's fortunes turned during the Great Depression, the violent Teamsters strike of 1934 resulted in laws acknowledging workers' rights. A lifelong civil rights activist and union supporter, Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey helped the city establish fair employment practices and a human relations council that interceded on behalf of minorities by 1946. Minneapolis contended with white supremacy, participated in the African-American civil rights movement, and in 1968 was the birthplace of the American Indian Movement.
During the 1950s and 1960s, as part of urban renewal, the city razed about two hundred buildings across twenty-five city blocks-roughly 40 percent of downtown-destroying many buildings with notable architecture including the Metropolitan Building. Efforts to save the building failed but are credited with jumpstarting interest in historic preservation in the state.Mississippi riverfront and Saint Anthony Falls in 1915. At left, Pillsbury, power plants, and the Stone Arch Bridge. The tall building is Minneapolis City Hall. In the foreground to the right are Nicollet Island and the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.
GovernmentMinneapolis City HallSpring art party, North Commons Park, Willard-Hay, one of the 81 neighborhoods of Minneapolis.
Minneapolis is a stronghold for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), an affiliate of the Democratic Party. The Minneapolis City Council holds the most power and represents the city's thirteen districts, called wards. The council has twelve DFL members and one from the Green Party.
The office of mayor is relatively weak but has some power to appoint individuals such as the chief of police. Parks, taxation, and public housing are semi-independent boards and levy their own taxes and fees subject to Board of Estimate and Taxation limits.
Minneapolis is divided into communities, each containing neighborhoods. Neighborhoods coordinate activities under the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), funded in the 1990s by the city and state. In some cases two or more neighborhoods act together.
Minneapolis is also the county seat of Hennepin County.
Early Minneapolis experienced a period of corruption in local government and crime was common until an economic downturn in the mid 1900s. After 1950 the population decreased and much of downtown was lost to urban renewal and highway construction. The result was a "moribund and peaceful" environment until the 1990s. Along with economic recovery the murder rate climbed. The Minneapolis Police Department imported a computer system from New York City that sent officers to high crime areas (despite accusations of racial profiling); the result was a drop in major crime. Since 1999, however, the number of homicides has increased, reaching its highest level in recent history in 2006. Politicians debate the causes and solutions, including increasing the number of police officers, providing youths with alternatives to gangs and drugs, and helping families in poverty. In 2007, the city had a new police chief and invested in public safety infrastructure and hiring over forty new officers.
EconomyTarget Corporation's 366,000 employees operate 1,685 retail stores in 48 U.S. states.White U.S. Bancorp towers reflected in the Capella Tower
The economy of Minneapolis today is based in commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, health care, and industry. Smaller components are in publishing, milling, food processing, graphic arts, insurance, and high technology. Industry produces metal and automotive products, chemical and agricultural products, electronics, computers, precision medical instruments and devices, plastics, and machinery.
Five Fortune 500 headquarters are in Minneapolis proper: Target Corporation, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Fortune 1000 companies in Minneapolis include PepsiAmericas, Valspar and Donaldson Company.
Apart from government, the city's largest employers are Target, Wells Fargo, Ameriprise, Star Tribune, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, IBM, Piper Jaffray, RBC Dain Rauscher, ING Group, and Qwest.
Availability of Wi-Fi, transportation solutions, medical trials, university research and development expenditures, advanced degrees held by the work force, and energy conservation are so far above the national average that in 2005 Popular Science named Minneapolis the "Top Tech City" in the U.S.3 The Twin Cities ranked the country's second best city in a 2006 Kiplinger's poll of "Smart Places to Live," and Minneapolis was one of the "Seven Cool Cities" for young professionals.4
The Twin Cities contribute 63.8 percent of the gross state product of Minnesota. The area's $145.8 billion gross metropolitan product and its per capita personal income rank fourteenth in the United States. Recovering from the nation's recession in 2000-2001, personal income grew 3.8 percent in 2005, though it was behind the national average of 5 percent growth. The city returned to peak employment during the fourth quarter of that year.5
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, with one branch in Helena Montana, serves Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange, founded in 1881, is still located near the riverfront and is the only exchange for hard red spring wheat futures and options.
TransportationOn August 1, 2007 the eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, responsible for carrying 140,000 vehicles daily, collapsed, killing 13 and injuring 100.
Half of Minneapolis-Saint Paul residents work in the city where they live. Some 60 percent of the 160,000 people working downtown commute by means other than a single person per auto. Alternative transportation is encouraged. The Metropolitan Council's Metro Transit, which operates the light rail (LRT) system and most of the city's buses, provides free travel vouchers through the Guaranteed Ride Home program to allay fears that commuters might otherwise be occasionally stranded. The Hiawatha Line LRT serves 34,000 riders daily and connects the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America to downtown. The planned Central Corridor LRT will connect downtown with the University of Minnesota and downtown St. Paul. Expected completion is in 2014.
Seven miles (11 km) of enclosed pedestrian bridges called skyways link eighty city blocks downtown. Second floor restaurants and retailers connected to these passageways are open on weekdays.
Ten thousand cyclists use the bike lanes in the city each day, and many ride in the winter. Minneapolis has 34 miles (54 km) of dedicated bike lanes on city streets and encourages cycling by equipping transit buses with bike racks. In 2007, citing the city's bicycle lanes, buses and LRT, Forbes identified Minneapolis the world's fifth cleanest city.6
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport serves three international, twelve domestic, seven charter, and four regional carriers.
DemographicsAmerican Swedish Institute. Immigrants from Scandinavia arrived beginning in the 1860s.University of Minnesota teaching art museum, student union and teaching hospital
Dakota tribes, mostly the Mdewakanton, as early as the sixteenth century were known as permanent settlers near their sacred site of St. Anthony Falls. New settlers arrived during the 1850s and 1860s in Minneapolis from New England, New York, and Canada, and during the mid-1860s, Scandinavians from Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark began to call the city home. Migrant workers from Mexico and Latin America also interspersed. Later, immigrants came from Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland, and Southern and Eastern Europe. These immigrants tended to settle in the Northeast neighborhood, which still retains an ethnic flavor and is particularly known for its Polish community. Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe settled primarily on the north side of the city before moving in large numbers to the western suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s. Asians came from China, the Philippines, Japan, and Korea. Two groups came for a short while during U.S. government relocations: Japanese during the 1940s and Native Americans during the 1950s. From 1970 onward, Asians arrived from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Beginning in the 1990s, a large Latino population arrived, along with refugees from East Africa, especially Somalia.
Minneapolis continues its tradition of welcoming newcomers. The metropolitan area is an immigrant gateway, with a 127 percent increase in foreign-born residents between 1990 and 2000.
U.S. Census Bureau estimates in 2006 show the population of Minneapolis to be 369,051, a 3.5 percent drop since the 2000 census.7 The population grew until 1950, when the census peaked at 521,718, and then declined as people moved to the suburbs until about 1990. The number of African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics is growing. Non-whites are now about one-third of the city's residents. Compared to the U.S. national average in 2005, the city had fewer white, Hispanic, senior, and unemployed people, while it had more people aged over 18 and more with a college degree.
Among U.S. cities, Minneapolis has the fourth-highest percent of gay, lesbian, or bisexual people in the adult population, with 12.5 percent.8
Compared to a peer group of metropolitan areas in 2000, Minneapolis-Saint Paul is decentralizing, with individuals moving in and out frequently and a large young and white population and low unemployment. Racial and ethnic minorities lag behind white counterparts in education, with 15 percent of black and 13 percent of Hispanic people holding bachelor's degrees compared to 42 percent of the white population. The standard of living is on the rise, with incomes among the highest in the Midwest, but median household income among black people is below that of white by over $17,000. Regionally, home ownership among black and Hispanic residents is half that of white, though Asian homeownership doubled. In 2000, the poverty rates included whites at 4.2 percent, blacks at 26.2 percent, Asians at 19.1 percent, American Indians at 23.2 percent, and Hispanics or Latinos at 18.1 percent.910
Elementary and secondaryCentral Minneapolis Public Library
Minneapolis Public Schools enroll 36,370 students in public primary and secondary schools. The district administers about 100 public schools, including forty-five elementary schools, seven middle schools, seven high schools, eight special education schools, eight alternative schools, nineteen contract alternative schools, and five charter schools.
Students speak ninety different languages at home and most school communications are printed in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. About 44 percent of students in the Minneapolis Public School system graduate, which ranks the city the sixth worst out of the nation's 50 largest cities.11
Besides public schools, the city is home to more than twenty private schools and academies and about twenty additional charter schools.
Colleges and universities
Minneapolis' collegiate scene is dominated by the main campus of the University of Minnesota, where more than 50,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students attend twenty colleges, schools, and institutes. The university is the fourth largest campus in the United States in terms of enrollment.
In 2007, Minneapolis was named America's most literate city. The study, conducted by Live Science, surveyed 69 U.S. cities with a population over 250,000. They focused on six key factors: Number of book stores, newspaper circulation, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources. In second place was Seattle, Washington and third was Minneapolis' neighbor, St. Paul, followed by Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C.12
Religion and charitySt. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Loring ParkWestminster Presbyterian Church (right). The Minneapolis Foundation is located in the IDS Center (center left).
The Dakota people, the original inhabitants of the area where Minneapolis now stands, believed in the Great Spirit and were surprised that not all European settlers were religious. Over fifty denominations and religions and some well-known churches have since been established in Minneapolis. Those who arrived from New England were for the most part Christian Protestants, Quakers, and Universalists. The oldest continuously used church in the city, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in the Nicollet Island/East Bank neighborhood, was built in 1856 by Universalists and soon afterward was acquired by a French Catholic congregation.
Formed in 1878 as Shaarai Tov, in 1902 the first Jewish congregation in Minneapolis built the synagogue in East Isles known since 1920 as Temple Israel. St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral was founded in 1887, opened a missionary school in 1897, and in 1905 created the first Russian Orthodox seminary in the United States. The first basilica in the United States, the Roman Catholic Basilica of Saint Mary near Loring Park, was named by Pope Pius XI.
Mount Olivet Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the world's largest Lutheran congregation with 6,000 active members.
More than 40 percent of adults in Minneapolis-St. Paul give time to volunteer work, the highest percent in the United States. Catholic Charities is one of the largest providers of social services locally. The American Refugee Committee helps one million refugees and displaced persons in ten countries in Africa, the Balkans, and Asia each year. The oldest foundation in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Foundation, invests and administers over nine hundred charitable funds and connects donors to nonprofit organizations.
The region is second only to New York City in live theater per capita and is the third-largest theater market in the U.S. The city is home to Minnesota Fringe Festival, the United States' largest nonjuried performing arts festival.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, built in 1915 in south central Minneapolis, is the largest art museum in the city.Founded in 1883, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is one of America's few major art museums with free admission (except special exhibits).
The son of a jazz musician and a singer, Prince is Minneapolis' most famous musical progeny. With fellow local musicians, he helped make First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry venues of choice for both artists and audiences. The Minnesota Orchestra plays classical and popular music at Orchestra Hall. The Minnesota Opera produces both classic and new operas.
Home to the MN Spoken Word Association, the city has garnered notice for rap and hip hop and its spoken word community.
Minneapolis is a center for printing and publishing. It was a natural place for artists to build Open Book, the largest literary and book arts center in the U.S., made up of the Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and Milkweed Editions, sometimes called the country's largest independent nonprofit literary publisher. The center exhibits and teaches both contemporary art and traditional crafts of writing, paper making, letterpress printing, and bookbinding.
|Home run for Twins first baseman Justin Morneau at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||Golden Gophers basketball|
Professional sports are well-established in Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins arrived in the state in 1961. The Vikings were an NFL expansion team and the Twins were formed when the Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota. The Twins won the World Series in 1987 and 1991. The Minnesota Timberwolves brought NBA basketball back to Minneapolis in 1989. They play in the Target Center.
The downtown Metrodome, opened in 1982, is the largest sports stadium in Minnesota. The three major tenants are the Vikings, the Twins, and the university's Golden Gophers football and baseball teams. Events from sports to concerts, community activities, religious activities, and trade shows are held more than three hundred days per year, making the facility one of the most versatile stadiums in the world.
The state of Minnesota authorized replacement of the Metrodome with three separate stadiums that were estimated in 2007 to cost a total of about $1.7 billion. Six spectator sport stadiums will be in a 1.2-mile (2 km) radius centered on downtown.
Parks and recreationIn the Heart of the Beast May Day Parade, Powderhorn ParkMinnehaha Falls is part of a 193 acres (78 ha) city park
The Minneapolis park system has been called the best-designed, best-financed, and best-maintained in America. Foresight, donations and effort by community leaders enabled Horace Cleveland to create his finest landscape architecture, preserving geographical landmarks and linking them with boulevards and parkways. The city's Chain of Lakes is connected by bike, running, and walking paths and used for swimming, fishing, picnics, boating, and ice skating. A parkway for cars, a bikeway for riders, and a walkway for pedestrians runs parallel along the 52 miles (84 km) route of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Residents brave the cold weather in December to watch the nightly Holidazzle Parade.
Theodore Wirth is credited with the development of the parks system. Today, 16.6 percent of the city is parks and there are 770 square feet (72 m²) of parkland for each resident, ranked in 2008 as the most parkland per resident within cities of similar population densities.13
Parks are interlinked in many places and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area connects regional parks and visitor centers. The country's oldest public wildflower garden, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, is located within Theodore Wirth Park, which is about 60 percent the size of Central Park in New York City. Site of the 53-foot (16 m) Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Park is one of the city's oldest and most popular parks, receiving over 500,000 visitors each year. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow named Hiawatha's wife Minnehaha for the Minneapolis waterfall in The Song of Hiawatha, a nineteenth century poem.
Runner's World ranks the Twin Cities as America's sixth best city for runners. The Twin Cities Marathon, run in Minneapolis and St. Paul every October, draws 250,000 spectators.
Minneapolis is home to more golfers per capita than any major U.S. city.14 Five golf courses are located within the city. The state of Minnesota has the nation's highest number of bicyclists, sport fishermen, and snow skiers per capita. Hennepin County has the second-highest number of horses per capita in the U.S. While living in Minneapolis, Scott and Brennan Olson founded (and later sold) Rollerblade, the company that popularized the sport of inline skating.
MediaWCCO-TV on the Nicollet Mall
Five major newspapers are published in Minneapolis: Star Tribune, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Finance and Commerce, the university's The Minnesota Daily, and MinnPost.com.
Minneapolis has a mix of radio stations and healthy listener support for public radio but in the commercial market, a single organization (Clear Channel Communications) operates seven stations.
The city's first television was broadcast by the St. Paul station and ABC affiliate KSTP-TV. The first to broadcast in color was WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate which is located in downtown Minneapolis. The city also receives FOX, NBC, PBS, MyNetworkTV, and The CW through their affiliates and one independent station.
Looking to the futureMetro Transit hybrid diesel-electric bus
Minneapolis has welcomed newcomers from many parts of the globe, but the downside of that is students speak ninety different languages at home. With only 44 percent of students in the Minneapolis Public School system graduating from high school, the city is ranked the sixth worst out of the nation's 50 largest cities. In the future, the city will need to focus on raising educational levels for all citizens, so it can truly earn its title of "most literate city."
Crime is also an issue that needs addressing. Across every measured statistic, Minneapolis crime is higher than the national average. Overall violent crime is double the national average. Property crimes are over the national average also. Arson is more than double the national average, and car theft is one and a half times the average.15 Politicians debate the causes and solutions, including increasing the number of police officers, providing youths with alternatives to gangs and drugs, and helping families in poverty. The city has a new police chief and invested in public safety infrastructure and hiring over forty new officers.
Minneapolis is relying on its existing and planned light rail transit projects for transportation into and around the city. Some 60 percent of the 160,000 people working downtown commute by means other than a single person per auto. Alternative transportation is encouraged, but the costs are being borne by the federal and state governments rather than the city. The Hiawatha line, for example, was constructed with $334.3 million in federal funding and $100 million from the state. Finished in 2004, the 12-mile route serves 34,000 riders. Hennepin County funds 50 percent of the net operating cost.16 In 2007, an agreement to allot funds for the Northstar Line was reached that included $156.8 million in federal funds and $97.5 million from Minnesota.17 The final design phase is underway for this proposed line, which would run 40 miles from the Big Lake area to downtown Minneapolis. Also in the planning stage is the Central Corridor, a light-rail transit line that will connect downtown Minneapolis and downtown Saint Paul, primarily along University Avenue. This project also relies heavily on federal funding. With the U.S. economy in a recession, whether the funding for these projects will be there is unknown. Since these projects primarily benefit the residents of the city and region, the city may need to rethink its planning to develop economic self-sufficiency as an alternative to depending on redistribution of taxes paid by non-residents in other jurisdictions.
The organizers of Earth Day scored Minneapolis ninth best overall and second among mid-sized cities in their 2007 Urban Environment Report, a study based on indicators of environmental health and their effect on people. The city was ranked first in 2008 in terms of the most parkland per resident within cities of similar population densities.18
- ↑ Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2009 Population: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (SUB-EST2009-01) (XLS). United States Census Bureau, Population Division (September 2010). Archived from the original on September 20, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- ↑ Scott F. Anfinson, 1989, Archaeology of the Central Minneapolis Riverfront, The Institute for Minnesota Archaeology. Retrieved December 15, 2008.
- ↑ Popular Science, Top Tech City: Minneapolis, MN. Retrieved December 15, 2008.