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(April 1 – June 30, 2023)

Toni Garbasso

Historical Museum of the Liberation

Edward S. Fink

Mill City Museum

Minneapolis, MN

June 30, 2023, 11:22 PM UTC 5:22 PM (local time)

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© 2023 Edward S. Fink, All Rights Reserved.


The Mill City Museum is built in the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill.  The museum focuses on the founding and growth of Minneapolis, especially flour milling and the other industries that used hydropower from the nearby Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River.

The first Washburn A Mill, built by Cadwallader C. Washburn in 1874, was declared the largest flour mill in the world upon its completion, and contributed to the development of Minneapolis. On May 2, 1878, a spark ignited airborne flour dust within the mill, creating an explosion that demolished the Washburn A and killed 18 workers instantly. The ensuing fire resulted in the deaths of four more people, destroyed five other mills, and reduced Minneapolis's milling capacity by one third.

Known as the Great Mill Disaster, the explosion made national news and served as a focal point that led to reforms in the milling industry to prevent the buildup of combustible flour dust.


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