Thursday, October 24, 2013

How they worked

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Mill City Museum

Built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, Mill City Museum is located on the historic Mississippi Riverfront. Here, visitors of all ages learn about the intertwined histories of the flour industry, the river, and the city of Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Historical Society obtained the ruins of the Washburn A Mill in 2003 and created what is now the Mill City Museum. Two fires, one in 1991 and the other in 1878, play a major role in the history of this building. The 1878 fire was caused by a flour dust explosion that killed 18 people and destroyed much of the riverfront business district area. The explosion could be heard as far away as Summit Avenue in St. Paul and caused cracks in some windows there. The building was a total loss and was rebuilt in 1880, this time with better equipment to capture and collect the highly explosive flour dust.

My ancestor John Peter Swanson didn't work in the Minneapolis Mill but at the Pillsbury Mill in Anoka.  The Anoka Mill was also destroyed by fire in it's early years.  He was said to be the strongest man to work there being one who could carry a barrel of flour from the first floor to the top of the mill.  Not much more is said about his time at the mill other than he rode his bronco "Betsy" 5 miles from his home to Anoka taking a half hour each way.  I can't find anywhere what his wages were at the flour mill.  Still trying to track down that source.

1 comment:

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