The Upper Mississippi River includes communities along the river in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota east of the Missouri River. It is anchored in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was inhabited by the Sioux Indians.
The first group of Euro-American settlers to reach the area in the 1820s was a party of four people, three horses, two mules, fifteen cattle, and two wagons. Like many towns of the Midwest, Aberdeen was built around the newly developing railroads. Officially plotted as a town site on January 3rd and officially founded on July 6, 1881, the date of the first arrival of a Milwaukee Railroad train.
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The Red Wing Historic Mall District is located at the center of the original town; a piece of land running north and south between the Mississippi River and Seventh Street and along East and West Avenues and Broadway roughly outlines the District. The town’s streets were laid out parallel to the river.
The buildings within the district are oriented primarily towards the river and along East and West Avenues and Broadway. As the land slopes gently upward from the river, the Mall widens, creating an impressive rise of parks, public buildings, church steeples, and assorted residences and other buildings. The irregular street formation, the open parklike spaces, the rich vegetation of landscaping around the churches and in the parks, and the concentration of churches and large public and institutional buildings set the mall apart visually and functionally from the commercial part of town to the east and the residential sections to the south and west.
The boundaries of the Red Wing Historic Mall District are determined largely by this unity that sets the Mall apart from its surroundings. Most of the buildings included in the District are located between East and West Avenues and bordering along these streets and Broadway from the river to Seventh Street. These boundaries jog out to include four areas that extend beyond the property immediately adjacent to the major streets defining the area:
Levee Park is included as the entrance to the mall; here are located the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Passenger Depot and the ferry landing.
The Fleischman complex extends west to approximately Dakota Street and serves as an anchor to the northwest portion of the District. The boundaries extend on West Third Street and West Fifth Street to include the C.F.J. Smith House and C.C. Graham House.