City of Red Wing

Barn Bluff Day: Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thursday, April 28 2011 12:00 AM
On May 7th the Red Wing Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) will hold the fourth annual Barn Bluff Day. This event will include a volunteer based cleanup effort in the morning and hiking in the afternoon. Volunteers will help with litter removal, minor trail maintenance, and flower planting at the main trailhead on East Fifth Street. Anyone wishing to participate in the cleanup can meet at the main trailhead parking area on East Fifth Street at 9:00 a.m. and are recommended to bring and wear gloves, long sleeve shirts/jackets, pants, and sturdy footwear. In the event of severe or inclement weather, the cleanup will be canceled.

The HPC is encouraging residents to hike Barn Bluff in the afternoon. This is an opportunity for residents/past residents to rediscover the bluff they climbed as children and for newer residents to enjoy the hike and views for the first time.

Barn Bluff is one of the best-known natural features along the upper Mississippi River. It is significant for its geology and its association with prehistoric and native peoples. It is also significant for its association with the exploration of the Upper Mississippi in the early nineteenth century. A many-layered interpretation of Barn Bluff is evident in local legend, as well as in published historical and scientific accounts, works of art, and photography.

From the mid 1800s' to 1908, stone from Barn Bluff was used as a building material, rip-rap by the railroad, and for the production of lime. Although the stone industry was important to the local economy, residents protested the resulting defacing of the bluff and eventually saved Barn Bluff. Several abandoned quarries and the G.A. Carlson Lime Kiln (at the northeast corner of the bluff) remain as reminders of Red Wing's limestone industry. Barn Bluff was formally presented to the City of Red Wing for a park in 1910 and was placed on The National Register of Historic Places on August 8, 1990.

For more information or for group signup, contact Assistant Planning Director Steve Kohn at 385-3622 or

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