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Saint Anthony Falls, Minneapolis, USA

February 20th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Saint Anthony Falls, or the Falls of Saint Anthony, located near downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the only waterfall on the Upper Mississippi River until it was replaced by a concrete apron after they partially collapsed in 1869 and, later, a series of dams in the 1950s and 1960s. The indigenous people who lived in their vicinity called the falls by various names. The Ojibway used the term Kakabikah (the severed rock) and the Dakota used Minirara (curling water) and Owahmenah (falling water). In 1680, the falls became known to the rest of the world when they were observed by Father Louis Hennepin, a Catholic friar of Belgian birth, who also brought the existence of Niagara Falls to the world's attention. Hennepin named Saint Anthony Falls after his patron saint, Anthony of Padua. Later explorers include Jonathan Carver and Zebulon Montgomery Pike. The region around the falls was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District in 1971.

Completed in 1963, the upper St. Anthony Falls dam is a horseshoe-shaped hydro-electric dam 93 feet (28 m) in height. The upper pool has a normal capacity of 3,150 acre feet (3,885,000 m³) and a normal level of 799 feet (244 m) above sea level. The navigation channel required alteration of the historic Stone Arch Bridge, which now has a metal truss section to allow ships to pass below.

Completed in 1956, the lower St. Anthony Falls dam is a gravity-type hydro-electric dam 60 feet (18 m) in height, consisting of a 275 foot (84 m) long concrete spillway with 4 tainter gates. The lower pool (sometimes called the intermediate pool) has a normal capacity of 375 acre-feet (463,000 m³) and a normal level of 750 feet (229 m) above sea level.

The pool below the lower dam has a normal level of 725 feet (221 m) above sea level.

The upper and lower locks are each 56 feet (17 m) wide by 400 feet (122 m) long.

Even though the falls often don't look very dangerous, the current is swift and people sometimes find themselves very bad situations in the area. In 1991, a small boat drifted too close and fell over one part of the dam. Two people onboard were killed, and two others had to be rescued by helicopter. Rescues at the site are usually much less dramatic, but continue to happen occasionally.

Jesse Ventura's brother Jan Janos has been a dam operator at the site for many years.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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