Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Little Falls MN and Murals

I want to see the murals in Little Falls!

Browsing the sightseeing magazine in my hotel room, I spotted this day trip suggestion out of St. Cloud.  Just a leisurely River Road drive away, it was perfect for a lunch destination day trip.

It's very flat terrain along the Mississippi River between St. Cloud and Little Falls, and the river has a number of ess curves along this stretch, creating interesting peninsulas and oxbows.  I'm not too far away from the head waters of this iconic river, yet it still has a significant presence in this part of the state, wide enough to divide towns in half with good-sized bridges.

Little Falls is tiny but historic and is home to some significantly large outdoor murals.  It's also home to, of all things, a highly rated restaurant called A.T. The Black & White, sitting on 1st Street near the epicenter of the town.

I can't help but notice how reserved the "natives" are in this part of the country.  Interacting with them requires significant warmth to get them to respond with anything other than cool efficiency.  I'm not a native Southerner but do know how to turn on that charm to disarm them a bit.  Ah, that's more like it; there's that smile!

Blackened shrimp, pineapple wrap with fresh spinach, served with kettle chips.  Delicious!

The murals are the works of artist Frank Gosiak.  I found them easily after lunch, walking west on Broadway and across the Mississippi River bridge.  Two of the three murals are on the front and side walls of a large warehouse hard against the railroad tracks and the river.  Some really great trompe d'oleil effects, as the murals drew me right into the scene.

Frank Gosiak mural:  Main Street depiction

Frank Gosiak mural:  Logging industry depiction

I snapped the photos and then walked back across the bridge, first taking a photo of the river where it drops off the edge of the falls, and then continued down a side street to capture the view from the bottom of the short falls.  A dam was constructed here many years ago to capture the power of the river for saw mills but is today part of a hydroelectric plant.

Upstream of the "precipice"  That line is not the river bank, it is
the edge of the falls

The falls, now dammed to concentrate the power for hydroelectricity generation

Downstream of the falls

Along side the river is a very well-done veterans memorial.

Veterans Memorial, Mississippi River in background

The third mural was near the center of town on the side of an historic building at the corner of 2nd St and Broadway.
Frank Gosiak Mural:  "Door Into the Past" depicting evolution of the town into the present day

Pleasant visit to a little historic town, and it was time to head back to St. Cloud.