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Prairie Lighting: The Rise and Fall of William Drew Washburn Presentation at the Mill City Museum

Historian Kerck Kelsey will give an illustrated presentation on the life of William Drew Washburn and sign books to celebrate the publication of his new book, “Prairie Lightning: The Rise and Fall of William Drew Washburn.” Mr. Kelsey will describe Washburn’s successes and failures, his role at the center of one of the biggest corporate shipwrecks in Minnesota’s history, and his often stormy relationships with brother C.C. Washburn, James J. Hill, Ignatius Donnelly and three generations of Pillsburys. Event Tuesday, Aug. 3
at 7 p.m.

Washburn was one of the wealthiest Minnesotans in the 1880’s. A leading entrepreneur and politician of early Minneapolis, he was deeply involved in most of the key developments of the early city including waterpower, lumber, flour milling, railroads and streetcars. He was fundamental in the development of the Minneapolis Mill Co. and what would become the Soo Line Railroad. He also played a crucial role in the downfall of the Pillsbury-Washburn Flour Co. Ltd.

Mr. Kelsey is the great-great-grandson of C.C. Washburn, brother of William Washburn, and has a doctorate in history from Harvard University. He has chronicled the Washburn family for the past nineteen years and has delivered lectures across Maine, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

About Mill City Museum

Built within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, a National Historic Landmark, the award-winning Mill City Museum chronicles the flour milling industry that fueled the growth of Minneapolis. The story comes to life through the eight-story Flour Tower, Water Lab, Baking Lab and other hands-on exhibits.

The museum is located at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The site is also open Mondays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August. For more information, call 612-341-7555

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