Downtown Little Falls
Downtown Little Falls is small and compact. There are several late 19th and early 20th century historic buildings mostly situated along Broadway and 1st Street NE. A brochure highlighting the history of each historic building in town can be picked up at one of the museums.
The Morrison County Courthouse, built in 1891, is one of those historic buildings. You can’t miss the tall clocktower.
Across the river is Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, built in 1922 for Polish families in the area.
A couple museums of note are in Little Falls. I wasn’t able to visit because I was running short on time. The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum is located just south of the Lindbergh Historic Site. It’s dedicated to the history of Morrison County. Admission is free and it’s open 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday year-round.
Linden Hill has two 1898 mansions built by lumber barons Charles Weyerhaeuser and Richard Musser of the Pine Tree Lumber Company. The homes have original artifacts and furniture and were use up to 1989. Tours of the Weyerhaeuser Mansion are offered Wednesday through Friday at 11am, noon, and 1pm between Memorial Day and Labor Day for US$8. I visited on a Saturday so I wasn’t able to get a tour, but they do offer tours by appointment. The Musser Mansion is closed to tours because it’s rented out as a hotel for groups of up to 24 and used for private events.
The Minnesota Fishing Museum tells the story of fishing in the state, which has played an important role in its history since Native American times. It’s open between April and September from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 4pm on Sunday. Admission is US$5.
Little Falls has some beautiful parks along the east bank of the Mississippi River. Maple Island Park has benches, shelters and nicely manicured gardens on a tranquil stretch of the Mississippi that doesn’t seem so mighty.
James Green Park is located next to a dam built in 1888. Little Falls is named for a small set of waterfalls, the second of only four the entire length of the river, which sat at this site.
The park is named for James Green, the man who built the first dam on this site in 1849. Water power from the dam was once used to provide electricity to the lumber and paper mills in town. For an interesting perspective, climb down to the rocks along the river.
I made a quick lunch stop in downtown Little Falls at Johnny C’s. It’s a sports bar with typical bar food, sandwiches, and drinks. Prices were reasonable and service was friendly and fast.