About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files, "St. Anthony Falls Historic District," "Bonanza Farming in North Dakota," "Bagg Bonanza Farm District" (with photographs), and "St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company Shops Historic District"; The Falls of St. Anthony: The Waterfall That Built Minneapolis, by Lucile M. Kane; Checkered Years, by Mary Dodge Woodward; and documents supplied by the Minnesota and North Dakota historical societies. It was written by Rita G. Koman, an educational consultant. The lesson was edited by Fay Metcalf, Marilyn Harper, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on the rise of big business, mechanized farming, and railroads in the post-Civil War period or on the westward expansion of the United States. It could also be used in courses on economic history.
Time period: Late 19th to early 20th centuries
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To explain the interdependence of wheat production, flour processing, and transportation by analyzing the components involved.
2) To describe life and work on bonanza farms.
3) To seek evidence of industrial interdependence in their own communities and to identify local historic properties reflecting those developments.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) one map showing Minnesota and North Dakota and the railroad systems that linked them together;
2) three readings about flour milling, wheat farming, and railroads;
3) five photographs of the flour milling districts in Minneapolis, wheat harvesting, and a bonanza farm in North Dakota;
4) one drawing of a bonanza farm.
Visiting the site
Self-guiding tour brochures and other information about the St. Anthony Falls Historic District are available from the St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center, 125 Southeast Main Street, Minneapolis, MN 55414, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission offers guided tours of the historic district during the summer months; for tour schedule, fees, and reservations, contact the Commission, at the following address: Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, City Hall, Room 220, 350 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis MN 55415-1385, or visit their website.
St. Anthony Falls is part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, which interprets the story of the falls in a broad context. For more information, contact the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, 111 E. Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55101-1256, or visit their website.
The Minnesota Historical Society offers tours of the James J. Hill mansion in St. Paul. For more information, contact the Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Boulevard West, St. Paul, MN 55102-1906, or visit their website.
The only bonanza farmstead open to visitors is the Bagg Bonanza Historical Farm located south of Fargo, North Dakota, west of the junction of Interstate 29 and Highway 13. It is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information, contact the Bagg Bonanza Farm, P.O. Box 702, Mooreton, ND 58061, or visit their website.