"City of Flour and Sawdust” is a 19th century nickname of the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, reflecting its industry of flour mills and lumber mills. “Minneapolis—City of Flour and Sawdust” was cited in an 1883 list of American nicknames that was printed in several newspapers.
The nicknames “Flour City” and “Sawdust City” have been used separately to describe Minneapolis, but also have been used by other cities.
Rochester (NY) was called the “Flour City” by at least 1847. Minneapolis was called “Flour City” by at least 1881,
Muskegon (MI) was called the ‘Sawdust City” by at least 1872. “Minneapolis is called ‘the sawdust city’” was cited in an 1875 newspaper.
Minneapolis (Listeni/ˌmɪniˈæpəlɪs/) is the county seat of Hennepin County, and larger of the Twin Cities, the 14th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, containing approximately 3.8 million residents. As of 2016, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and 46th-largest in the United States with 407,207 residents. Minneapolis and Saint Paul anchor the second-largest economic center in the Midwest, behind Chicago.
20 November 1872, Muskegon (MI) Chronicle, pg. 1, col. 5:
The road is to be completed as soon as possible in the spring, and will give the citizens of the Sawdust City and of Big Rapids another route to Detroit, an accommodation the people of both cities have long been anxious for.
20 February 1875, Indianapolis (IN) Daily Sentinel, “News and Gossip,” pg. 7, col. 1:
Minneapolis is called “the sawdust city,” because of the great quantity of timber which is worked up in that city.
25 July 1878, Daily Globe (St. Paul, MN), p.g 3, col. 1:
Col. Wm. Crooks, Gov. Wm. L. Banning, and Hon. J. B. Brisbin, of St. Paul, were up yesterday viewing the sights in and around the sawdust city (Minneapolis—ed.).
8 August 1881, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 8, col. 6:
CHICAGO TO MINNEAPOLIS.
A Trip by “The Albert Lea Route’’--Good Crops--A Great Demand for Cars--Flourishing Business at the Flour City.
25 September 1881, Evansville (IN) Daily Courier, pg. 3, col. 8:
The St. Paul Globe of Sunday says: Ever since the fall rains began to tell on the river there has been a continuous flow past the city of sawdust and other mill refuse. (Minneapolis.—ed.)
26 July 1883, Troy (NY) Weekly Times, “Nicknames of American Cities,” pg. 3, col. 7:
Minneapolis—City of Flour and Sawdust.
30 November 1883, The American Israelite (CIncinnati, OH), “Minneapolis, Minn,” pg. 5, col. 6:
All else is quiet in the Flour City.
27 June 1884, Albert Lea (MN) Enterprise, pg. 9, col. 2:
A number of members of the company desire to attend the G. A. R. encampment at Minneapolis next month, and undoubtedly will go to the sawdust city.
2 August 1884, The Irish-American (New York, NY), pg. 2, col. 6:
NICKNAMES OF AMERICAN CITIES. (...) Minneapolis, City of Flour; ...
7 August 1885, Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), pg. 3, col. 5:
Nicknames of American Cities.
... City of Flour and Sawdust, Minneapolis, Minn.; ...
4 August 1899, Muskegon (MI) Chronicle, “A Reminiscence Now,” pg. 4, col. 1:
it is by no means flattering to the intelligence of Grand Rapids papers to insist on applying to Muskegon that ancient nickname of “Sawdust City.”
23 January 1901, The Insurance Press, “Fires in the ‘Sawdust’ City,” pg. 13, col. 1:
It (Oshkossh, WI—ed.) is nicknamed “Sawdust City” from this circumstance and In the average above named every sawdust fire Is counted.
14 August 1907, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “Nicknames of Cities,” pg. 11, col. 6:
Minneapolis, one of the twin cities of Minnesota, is known for the products of its flouring mills and lumber factories as the City of Flour and the Sawdust City. Another city which is known as the Flour City is Rochester, a title given when the great wheat-growing region of this country was in this State and the waters of the Genesee river ran the mills for grinding the grain.
30 March 1910, Duluth (MN) News Tribune, “The Twin Ports,” pg. 8, col. 1:
St. Paul and Minneapolis are known as twins; we have never heard them called husband and wife. Neither has either given up its own name, nor even its nickname. “The Saintly City,” “The Sawdust City,” “The Flour City,” “The Capital City,” are still familiarly used after fifty-odd years of twinship.
A State Guide
Compiled and written by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration
New York, NY: The Viking Press
There was no escape from the fact that Minneapolis was rapidly catching up. Already it was called “the sawdust city,” and its fame for the flour it milled from the State’s expanding wheat supply had extended its market even into European countries.
Nicknames of Other Places • Mini Apple, City of Flour & Sawdust (Minneapolis nicknames) • Thursday, January 21, 2016 • Permalink