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RIVER LIFE

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Crime and Prohibition

Crimes that took place on the Bohemian Flats or that involved Bohemian Flats residents often made the headlines in Minneapolis newspapers.   This project discusses the crime reporting and policing of the Flats, and the prevalence of prostitution in Minneapolis as reported in the 1911 “Report of the Vice Commission.” The Bohemian Flats and surrounding areas were also once known as the Brewery Flats due to the proximity of both the Heinrich Brewery and Noerenberg Brewery. Learn a brief history of the Minneapolis Brewing Company and the effects of Prohibition on the Minneapolis brewing industry.

Link to the Student Research Project


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City Connections

The Bohemian Flats had a tenuous connection to the city of Minneapolis, both due to its geographic location under the Washington Avenue Bridge and also its community of immigrants considered by some to be on the margins of society. Discover how the Bohemian Flats and its residents were physically, socially, economically, culturally, and contemporaneously connected to the surrounding Minneapolis community. These connections ranged from institutions such as schools, churches, and places of employment to organizations providing resources used by flats residents.

Link to the Student Research Project


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Class, Labor, Poverty, and Welfare

While the residents of the Bohemian Flats came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, they all had their lower social and economic status in common. Living in close quarters in near-poverty conditions contributed to the spread of disease, such as the 1900 diphtheria outbreak. Bohemian Flats residents did receive some aid from private charities and local churches and hospitals. They also had an advocate in Lars Rand, the alderman for the Minneapolis 6th Ward, who pushed for projects and resources for the Flats and other immigrant communities of the 6th Ward. Many flats residents found employment for meager pay in the nearby lumber mills, flour mills, and factories. Read more about the challenges faced by Bohemian Flats residents as part of everyday life.

Link to the Student Research Project

Contact Us!
Send us a note at rvrlife@umn.edu to make suggestions for other places we should look, media to track, and stories to tell!
River Life in Video
Come Along for a Water Walk with Kare11 and River Life, and see Gifts at Work: The Mississippi River by the University of Minnesota Foundation
Open Rivers: Rethinking the Mississippi
A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.