Archive for October 4, 2008

October 4

October 4, 2008

On October 4th, a tunnel was built under Hennepin Island to provide waterpower for additional mills gives way. The 2,000-foot collapse threatens to divert water from the main falls and cut the power source for mills along the river. Local citizens work to plug the hole until the river freezes, then a dam is built to allow for more permanent measures. They repair job would require ten years to complete.

The most disastrous event took place on October 4, 1869, when a 2,500-foot long tunnel that was being constructed as a tailrace for exhausting the water between Nicollet and Hennepin Islands began to fill up with water. By the following day a maelstrom (a violent whirlpool that sucks all the objects within a given radius) was sucking rocks and debris into the tunnel. It seemed that the galvanized manpower of Minneapolis and St. Anthony were going to provide the heroic efforts needed to stop the maelstrom. But it took almost two years of various attempts and the cooperation from both the communities of Minneapolis and St. Anthony, the mill owners, and finally the assistance of the United States Army Corps of Engineers to stabilize the falls.

Thanks to Mr. Gunderson’s 6th grade class at Virginia-Roosevelt Elementary School for the research on October’s Day in History.

Thanks also to Minnesota’s Learn and Serve America Service Learning Program for their help.