Stone Arch Bridge
"This viaduct...is the only one of its kind that spans the Father of Waters,
and is one of the largest and most noteworthy in the United States.
Firmer than the earth which supports it, it is constructed to stand the test of time."
-Daily Minnesota Tribune, November 23, 1881
S. Anthony Falls Historic District, National Historic Register of Historic Places, 1971
National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, 1975
The Stone Arch Bridge was constructed as a railroad bridge by
James J. Hill and the Minneapolis Union Railway Company.
Designed by Colonel Charles C. Smith, the bridge cut diagonally
across the Mississippi River with a 6o curve at the west end.
It was 2,100 feet long, 76 feet high, with 23 arches.
The bridge was built of 100,000 tons of stone, granite from Sauk Rapids,
Minnesota, and limestone quarried from nearby Mississippi River bluffs and
from Mankate, Minnesota; Stone City, Iowa; and Bridgeport, Wisconsin.
Construction took twenty-two months,
from January 16, 1882 to November 22, 1881.
600 men worked day and night, winter and summer.
Heavy labor was provided by men and by horses harnessed to windlasses.
Steam-powered pumps removed water during construction of pier foundations.
Trains provided the means to haul the stone from distant quarries.
Three men lost their lives.
Arches were reinforced, crown to crown, to carry heavier loads.
Tracks were widened and parapet walls cut back to accommodate
the increased size of trains.
82 passenger trains crossed daily in the heyday of the bridge.
St. Anthony Falls Upper Lock, constructed by the U. S. Army Corps
of Engineers, required removal of arches 13 and 14 and Pier 14
and installation of a 200-foot Warren truss.
Record-breaking spring floods caused major damage to pier 7
and arches 6 and 7. Repairs were made by the owner of the owner of the bridge,
the Great Northern Railway Company.
The last passenger train crossed the bridge.
Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority
purchased the bridge.
Ownership was transferred to the Minnesota
Department of Transportation.
The Stone Arch Bridge was rehabilitated
to become a pedestrian and bicycle trail, a key link in the
St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail and other riverfront trail systems.
Project of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and
the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Johnson Bros. Corporation
Conceived, designed, and implemented by
partners in cooperation:
St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board:
State of Minnesota
Minnesota Historical Society
Mayor, City of Minneapolis
Minneapolis City Council
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission
Hennepin County Board of Commissioners
Hennepin History Meusem
State Historic Preservation Office
Minnesota Department of transportation
A. G. Lichtenstein & Associates, Inc, Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Johnson Bros. Corporation, Litchfield, Minnesota
Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board
Federal: Transporation Enhancement Program,
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency
Act of 1991, (ISTEA)
Local: St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board,
combining funds of the State of Minnesota,
the City of Minneapolis, and the
Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board.