Franklin Avenue Bridge

You can read about the history and designation of the Franklin Avenue Bridge historic landmark.

Cappelen Memorial Bridge








Address: Franklin Avenue at the Mississippi River

Neighborhood: Seward / Prospect Park

Construction Date: 1919-1923

Engineer: Oustad Engineers, Frederick William Cappelen

Architectural Style: N/A

Historic Use: Transportation - Bridge

Current Use: Transportation - Bridge

Date of Local Designation: 1985

Date of National Register Designation: 1978

Area(s) of Significance: Engineering, Transportation

Period of Significance: 1900-


Historic Profile: Connecting south and southeast Minneapolis, the Franklin Avenue Bridge was constructed between 1919 and 1923. Two prominent Norwegian engineers, Frederick William Cappelen and Kristoffer Olsen Oustad were commissioned to plan, design, and construct a bridge that would cross the Mississippi River, a distance of over 1,000 feet. In order to convey a sense of permanence and beauty in the scenic surroundings, the engineers chose a steel reinforced arched concrete bridge. The Franklin Avenue Bridge gained notoriety at the time of its construction for including the longest concrete arch in the world. The total length of the bridge is 1054 feet with a vertical clearance of 88 feet. In 1971, the bridge was closed and reconditioned. When it re-opened it included four lanes of traffic and pedestrian walkways. Engineer Frederick William Cappelen died during the construction of the bridge, and as a memorial to his life and career, the bridge still bears his name.

Photo Credits:

1923, Charles J. Hibbard, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," May 1978.

Contact us

Community Planning & Economic Development

Historic Preservation




Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415