Wikipedia — Minneapolis grew up around Saint Anthony Falls, the highest waterfall on the Mississippi. In early years, forests in northern Minnesota were the source of a lumber industry that operated seventeen sawmills on power from the waterfall. By 1871, the west river bank had twenty-three businesses including flour mills, woolen mills, iron works, a railroad machine shop, and mills for cotton, paper, sashes, and planing wood.

Due to occupational hazards of milling, six local sources of artificial limbs were competing in the prosthetics business by the 1890s. The farmers of the Great Plains grew grain that was shipped by rail to the city’s thirty-four flour mills. Millers have used hydropower elsewhere since the 1st century B.C., but the results in Minneapolis between 1880 and 1930 were so remarkable the city has been described as “the greatest direct-drive waterpower center the world has ever seen.”