First Bridge Park
Minneapolis Park and Recreation
Up to this time roads and trails tended to run parallel to the river and brought people and goods to the river’s banks for transport north or south by ship. Bridges changed this dynamic as goods could be shipped east and west across the river.
The original bridge at this location was operated as a private toll bridge until it was purchased in 1869 by Hennepin County. Unfortunately, it quickly deteriorated and was replaced by a succession of three other bridges built in this same location.
The current Hennepin Avenue Bridge was constructed in 1990, but pilings and artifacts from those previous bridges still exist and are preserved within the park. Interpretive panels summarize the area’s rich history.
A curving wall is a great place to sit and view the river. Look for artwork embedded on the wall, sidewalk, and elsewhere in the park. The park is on the west bank of the river and is linked to other nearby parks through an extensive trail system.
Activities: Walking and biking paths, river viewing, public art, fishing.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., unless otherwise posted.
Contact Information: Call the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation at 612-230-6400.
Did You Know?
At Lake Itasca, the elevation of the Mississippi River is 1,475 feet above sea level. It drops to sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop occurs within the state of Minnesota.