MINNEAPOLIS -- The walls of the old flour mill point like ancient ruins into the blue sky, jagged and charred from forgotten fires, their windows cracked or missing.
It might not seem like a place to gather, but the burned-out hull of what was once the Washburn-Crosby A Mill is the courtyard of a new museum that recalls Minneapolis' flour milling heyday.
The walls themselves are revealing, from the uneven sandstone brick of the original 1878 building to the smoother, yellow brick used to fill in windows decades later. The ground is a reminder, too, with two rusted, long-dormant turbines peeking above the dirt.
For half a century, from 1880 until the Great Depression, Minneapolis was a flour milling giant -- the Silicon Valley of its age. Two dozen mills once lined the banks of the Mississippi River to tap its power as it wound through the city. Immigrants crossed the Atlantic to labor in the mills. The country's best engineers plied their trade in Minneapolis. Minor league baseball had the Minneapolis Millers.
The mill ruins are only a part of the Mill City Museum, which opens to the public Sept. 13.
Visitors can split their time between the indoor exhibits and an outdoor space created around the ruins.
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