Tag Archives: Riverfront

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Sharpen those Mower Blades

It’s summer… and if you have a lawn in Hennepin County, you’ve probably spent plenty of time over the past month or two keeping the grass in check. In honor of this common summer task we’ve pulled out this small bag from the collection. Now empty, it once held equipment used to sharpen lawn mower blades.

During the 1930s, 1940s, and into the 1950s the Foley Manufacturing Company of Minneapolis placed advertisements in national magazines promoting their “Electrakeen” as an ideal side business. “This is the way to make money!” their writers urged in 1930, “This is what hundreds of men are saying about the Foley Elecktrakeen Lawn Mower Sharpener business they have started.”

The Foley company was headquartered in the Foley Building, 11 Main Street NE.Besides lawn mower sharpeners they also produced food mills, flour sifters, juicers, and other small household tools and appliances. The company is still around, although no longer at that location, and after a merger is now known as Foley Belsaw. They still specialize in making sharpening tools.

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Milling Monday: Palisade Mill Inventory

For today’s Milling Monday post, we’ve pulled an inventory from our Archives. Labeled the Pillsbury-Washburn Flour Mills Company inventory of Palisade Mill, March 1893, the book  is filled with page after page of data. It is a snapshot of one month in history, a glimpse into the operations of a mill, a company, and a city and county that owed much to the rise of the Minnesota flour industry.

The Palisade Mill was built in 1872 by the Leonard Day Company, and was later purchased and expanded by the Washburn-Crosby Company. It was a Pillsbury property at the time of its closing and dismantling in 1932; eight years later, in 1940, the final remnants of the closed mill were destroyed in a fire.

The Palisade Mill may be long gone, but photographs, documents, and other materials from this and the other mills that played such an important role in local history remain at Hennepin History Museum and other local repositories such as the Mill City Museum and Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections.

To access this or other archival materials from Hennepin History Museum’s archival collection, please contact our archivist, Susan Larson-Fleming. Our reading room is open to the public five days per week, and with advance notice we can have your research materials awaiting your arrival.milling ledger

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Milling Monday: Moonlight on the Mississippi

Need a reminder that winter in Minnesota isn’t so bad? We’d like to think that this postcard might help a bit. Sure, it gets cold, but with cold can come tremendous beauty.

This postcard, captioned “the Milling District by moonlight, over the ice bound Mississippi, Minneapolis, Minnesota” evokes some of this beauty, as well as the contrasts still sometimes found in our city and county by the river. In the distance the mills work away, smokestakes blowing, lights on. Out on the river there’s not a soul in sight, and while the ice formations are visually stunning, they are also dangerous; a reminder that while people may have tamed portions of the river to build a milling empire on the Mississippi River, Mother Nature was still present.

Printed by the V.O. Hammon Publishing Company of Minneapolis, this postcard dates to the 1910s.