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#TBT: The Most Important Place You’ve Never Been to on the Twin Cities Stretch of the Mississippi

July 7, 2016Patrick NunnallyThrowback ThursdayComments Off on #TBT: The Most Important Place You’ve Never Been to on the Twin Cities Stretch of the Mississippi

That claim might go to other places, like the drinking water plant for Minneapolis, but what I have in mind is Pigs Eye, where the regional sewage treatment plant was built in the late 1930s.

PigsEye1923

In 1923, when this first photo was taken, the boundary between land and water appeared to be permeable, with channels and oxbow lakes arrayed throughout the wide floodplain just downstream from downtown St. Paul.

Image source Borchert Map Library, University of Minnesota.


PigsEye1940-med

This 1940 aerial, taken from a considerably higher altitude, provides a broader context for the land-water interface in the floodplain.  The closing of Lock and Dam #2, at Hastings, in the early 1930s, has undoubtedly affected the river’s hydrology here. Notice the lake’s complexity, though, and the finely grained channels where the lake feeds into the Mississippi, near the bottom center of the image.

Image source Borchert Map Library, University of Minnesota.


Pigs Eye-Google Earth-2016

Zooming out still farther, and updating the image to 2016, we see the Pigs Eye Treatment plant in the upper left of the image and a barge fleeting facility in the center.  Immediately to the left of the barge fleeting facility is a heron rookery, testimony to the complexity that this part of the river retains, despite almost a century of land-water manipulation.

Image source Google Earth.

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