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Saint Paul in Ramsey County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Shadow Falls

 
 
Shadow Falls marker image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, September 30, 2020
1. Shadow Falls marker
Inscription.  This is one of the most charming woodland possessions of the city.
Annual Report of the Board of Park Commissioners, 1902

Shadow Falls are hidden in a deep ravine north of Summit Avenue, where Shadow Falls Creek flows over layers of limestone, shale, and sandstone. The layers expose the recent geological history of the Mississippi River Gorge, and are part of the story of Glacial River Warren and the retreat of St. Anthony Falls more than 11,000 years ago. Shadow Falls is one of several small waterfalls cut into ravines along the sides of the gorge. When the soft St. Peter Sandstone was eroded by the seepage of groundwater springs, the ravine and waterfall were created by collapse of the overlying layer of hard Platteville Limestone. The Decorah Shale layer contains excellent examples of Ordovician fossils deposited more than 400 million years ago, including bryozoans, crinoid columnals, brachipods, and gastropods.

The Falls were a very popular destination for picnickers, hikers, and riverboat tourists. In the 1880s investors proposed to build a summer resort. Landscape designer H. W. S. Cleveland,

Marker on left side of path leading to WWI monument and river overlook image. Click for full size.
By McGhiever, September 30, 2020
2. Marker on left side of path leading to WWI monument and river overlook
however, encouraged the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis to preserve the forested bluffs of the gorge for public use. Early park planning focused on development of Mississippi River Boulevard from the Minneapolis border to the Fort Snelling Bridge.

Shadow Falls Park
In 1899, John Ireland, Archbishop of the Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, donated 18 acres of land to the City of St. Paul, including Shadow Falls. The parcel extended from Summit to Marshall Avenues. It was the first major acquisition for the future river boulevard. Shadow Falls Park was created in 1902. The ravine and riverbank were left in their natural state, although Shadow Falls Creek was combined with several other small streams to ensure maximum flow over the ledge. The maple-basswood forest around the falls still shelters plants such as wild ginger, Solomon's seal, leatherwood, and smartweed. Many plants are valued by native people who use them for cooking, medicinal, and spiritual purposes.

Nearby, in 1923 the St. Paul Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a memorial dedicated to the soldiers and sailors of World War I at the foot of Summit Avenue. The 36-foot octagonal monument is carved in granite quarried near Cold Spring, Minnesota. It was designed by St. Paul architect Thomas Holyoke (1866-1925) of the firm Holyoke, Jemne & Davis.

Photo captions:

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Left: Shadow Falls were enjoyed by visitors in 1875.
Middle top: Generalized cross-section of the falls. (Minnesota Geological Survey)
Middle bottom: 1. Macalester College professor David Kingery standing behind Shadow Falls in winter, ca. 1900 (Macalester College); 2. Memorial Day at the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument, 1935

 
Erected by Saint Paul Department of Parks & Recreation, Federal Highway Commission, Great River Road Minnesota, America's Byways.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentParks & Recreational AreasWar, World I.
 
Location. 44° 56.475′ N, 93° 11.893′ W. Marker is in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in Ramsey County. Marker is at the intersection of Mississippi River Boulevard and Summit Avenue, on the right when traveling south on Mississippi River Boulevard. Marker is on the path leading from a small parking lot to the river overlook. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Paul MN 55105, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sesquicentennial Trees (approx. half a mile away); Sri Chinmoy Peace Bridge (approx. 0.6 miles away); Meeker Island Lock and Dam Historic Site (approx. one mile away); Christ Church Lutheran (approx.
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1.2 miles away); Mississippi River Gorge (approx. 1.3 miles away); Wonderland Amusement Park (approx. 1˝ miles away); 2916 East Lake: East Lake Branch Library (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Museum in the Streets: Minneapolis, Minnesota (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Saint Paul.
 
Regarding Shadow Falls. From the overlook, social trails lead into the ravine and east to Shadow Falls.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 2, 2020, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 2, 2020, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Oct. 21, 2020