St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam


In 1930-40, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a series of 23 locks and dams on the Mississippi River. Called the 9-Foot Channel Project, because of the depth to which the navigation channel was dredged, it stopped a few miles short of the river's only waterfall. To enable river traffic to reach Minneapolis railheads, Congress authorized a 4.6-mile extension. Because of the unusual geography in the St. Anthony Falls area, the Corps built a low-crest, non-navigable dam that uses both Tainter (valve type) and roller gates. Construction of the Lower Lock and Dam was completed in 1956 and the Upper Lock was finished in 1963.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Nearby is the Stone Arch Bridge, built in the 1800s by the Great Northern Railroad and used until the 1980s. For the canal project, a bridge pier and two spans had to be replaced with a steel truss to allow river vessels to pass below. Rerouting the trains wasn't feasible, so the railroad grade was raised 5 ft, and trains were limited to one track.
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