Join Me at the High Bridge Station Riverfront Tour with the History Center -- Saturday, June 18th

[Cameron Diaz, with high bridge & smokestack.]
On Saturday, June 18th, I'll be leading a walking / bus / power plant tour of the High Bridge power plant and its environs. It's part of a project with the Minnesota History Center and Xcel Energy. (Note: I'll not be leading the power plant part of the tour. In fact, I've never been in there! But I'll be leading the outside/riverfront part.)

It should be fun. This is a spot that's close to my heart of course. The High Bridge (which I wrote about for a recent Minnpost column) was a key part of my childhood traveling around the West Side. It kind of defined Saint Paul for me, an odd and honest gateway to the city offering spectacular views of downtown and the river valley. As a kid, I was there in 1987 when the bridge was demolished. The process was delayed for hours, but I remember my dad taking us down there. (Update: Dad says he doesn't remember this!)

Of course, while the bridge offered a spectacular views of the river valley, it also came with spectacular views of the giant smokestack of the old coal plant. If you ever watched 1996's Feeling Minnesota, the Keanu Reeves / Cameron Diaz / Vince D'Onofrio film, the plant's smokestack served as a icon for the film's working class environs. It gave Saint Paul a rust belt vibe that, in some ways, fits with the West 7th neighborhood to this day. (In some ways, it doesn't.)

[The High Bridge area from Lilydale. (We'll stay on the East Side for the tour.)]

The tour will be a blast, waking around the river, around the Xcel plant, on a bus around West 7th Street and the Schmidt Brewery, before ending back in the Smith / West 7th area. Some of the things we'll cover include: the territorial days, Irvine Park, the oldest house in Saint Paul, the history of Harriet Island, the history of the High Bridge itself, old Island Station, Fountain Cave, the Czech-Slovak Sokol, and more.

It begins at the Ramsey House, which is cool all by itself. And it'll end at the Stone Saloon, which is even cooler!

Here's the Facebook invite, with details on ticketing &c.
A street-level tour of Minnesota's capital city highlighting the natural and human forces that shaped it long ago and today. Tours meet at theAlexander Ramsey House and walk along the Mississippi River, tracing the city’s origins as a shipping hub that is still powered by the river. 

Visitors will experience an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Xcel Energy Minnesota High Bridge Generating Station. Participants will return to the Ramsey House by bus with stops at Schmidt Brewery and the historicStone Saloon, an 1857 watering hole currently being restored to its Civil War condition. 

For adults and children ages 10+, when accompanied by an adult. Presented in partnership with Xcel Energy.

Reservations required: http://www.mnhs.org/event/1523

If you can make it, see you then!

If you can't make it, at least you can check out these videos of the high bridge being demolished.


tumple said...

Are you leading walks on the other dates for this too?

Unknown said...

"The bridge connecting Saint Paul and West Saint Paul..." Ahhhhhhhhh!

Bill Lindeke said...

Yes Tumple I am.

Darren, I can't find that quote? If I said that, THAT IS TERRIBLE!