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Nicollet Island memories come back into focus

Images capturing the odd little gentrified-but-funky neighborhood in the middle of the Mississippi River just above St. Anthony Falls.

Nicollet Island

Some of my earliest memories are of Nicollet Island in downtown Minneapolis. My mother lived in the Grove Street Flats for a time as a child. She would take my sisters and me down there sometimes, usually to go to mass at Our Lady of Lourdes church just over the bridge, where she was married and where I was baptized. “The Island” and surrounding areas were pretty run-down in those days. Now it’s an odd little gentrified-but-funky neighborhood in the middle of the Mississippi River just above St. Anthony Falls.

Nicollet Island’s 48 acres contain Victorian houses, apartments and condos, a high school, a hotel, the iconic Grain Belt Beer sign, trails, open spaces, remnants of old factories and great views of the river, the downtown skyline, and the old village of St. Anthony.

The Hennepin Avenue suspension bridge crosses the island at the site of the first bridge ever built over the Mississippi River in 1855.

I paid a recent visit and found that while some things had changed, there were still a surprising number of my childhood memories waiting there for me.


MinnPost photo by Steve DateGrove Street Flats


MinnPost photo by Steve Date


MinnPost photo by Steve Date

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MinnPost photo by Steve Date


MinnPost photo by Steve Date

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MinnPost photo by Steve Date


MinnPost photo by Steve Date


MinnPost photo by Steve Date


MinnPost photo by Steve DateThe downstream tip of Nicollet Island just above St. Anthony Falls.


MinnPost photo by Steve Date


MinnPost photo by Steve DateView toward the old town of St. Anthony from Nicollet Island. Our Lady of Lourdes Church in background.