Last week, after my business in Minneapolis was concluded, my brother and I hung around for another day in the city. On Friday, we visited the Mill City Museum. I’ve written about the building that houses this museum. I was in the building, but for a business meeting, not a tour. I mentioned in the post or the pictures, that the building had exploded. That was incorrect, albeit it was also correct.
The original flour mill on the site had exploded in the late 1800s. The present building included flour-dust collection systems and was in operation from slightly-later 1800s until 1963. The building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP), but while various people and groups were trying to figure out what to do with the building, a fire, in 1991 caused the extensive damage that we see today. The fire, attributed to a homeless population who were living in the building, destroyed most of the historic contents. Fortunately, the people escaped unharmed.
Being on the NRHP prevented the city from tearing down the ruins. The building now houses the museum and, as I mentioned before, is available for meetings and special events.
We walked to the museum and arrived just as a Flour Tower tour was about to begin. The sales clerk offered to hold the tour for a few minutes to allow us to join. We didn’t know that we would be joining a field-trip for a group of first-graders, but it was fun. They were well-behaved, and they asked some interesting questions. The tour is conducted by elevator. I don’t have a good picture, as we were holding up the show, but there’s a good image on the museum website. The elevator offered bleacher-like seating and traveled up and down the eight floors of the building. As it bounced between floors, it would stop at random floors and a movie or audio presentation would take place. We “heard” the mill’s story from employees throughout the 70 or so years the mill was in operation. It was a fascinating way to learn about the history of the mill.
The elevator rose to the eighth floor at the end of the tour. At that point, the docent explained more about the mill’s operation and invited us to climb to the ninth-floor observation deck. After a few minutes on the observation deck, we took the elevator to the exhibit hall (just ahead of the first-graders).
I will spread out the photos that I took over several blog posts, including more than one Thursday Doors post. Believe it or not, I’ve been trying to shrink the size of my photo galleries – really, I have!
Thursday Doors is a complex and smoothly operating photo-mill designed to gather door photos from around the world, package them into easy-to-access links and make them available to everyone. Millwright and master machinist, Norm Frampton keeps the steam flowing, the belts moving, and the gears greased. The photo mill has been in operation for several years, and has processed tens of thousands of door photos. To process your doors, send your photos by train, barge or Internet to Norm’s mill in Montreal. Once you arrive, check out Norm’s doors and follow his instructions for delivering yours.