I35W Bridge Memorial Walking Tour
I-35W Bridge Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis in honor of the victims and survivors of the bridge collapse in 2007.

One of the most poignant memorials in Minneapolis, Minnesota is the I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden. This beautiful granite memorial honors the 13 lives who passed away during this tragedy. An infrastructure design flaw caused the heavily traveled bridge to collapse on Aug. 1, 2007. Additionally, the I-35W memorial pays tribute to the 145 injured and the heroic efforts of every day people and first responders.

Guide to the I-35W Bridge Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis

I35W Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis
The I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis, Minn. is located near the rebuilt bridge that crosses the Mississippi River.

My husband and son were watching breaking news on TV when I arrived home from work the evening of Aug. 1, 2007. I initially thought the bridge collapse coverage must have happened someplace far away. I was shocked to learn that it was the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis.

Not someplace far away.

Only 26 miles away.

I-35W bridge in Minneapolis: A bridge my family and I had crossed many, many times and a bridge that 140,000 vehicles crossed over daily. A bridge, I later learned, that a friend normally crosses at that time. However, he needed to run an errand that took him on a different road. A bridge where people I met later had just crossed moments before it collapsed.

I35W Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis
The I-35W bridge was rebuilt 13 months after it collapsed in August 2007.

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Heroic efforts to save lives when the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis

I35W Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis
View of the I-35W bridge from the Stone Arch Pedestrian Bridge in Minneapolis that was rebuilt after the former bridge collapsed in August 2007.

I’ll never forget the terrifying images and heroic efforts on the day the I-35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River. Images of children being rescued from the school bus, a semi-truck on fire, mangled vehicles. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ security camera footage that captured the moment the collapse happened.

Here’s an ABC newscast and video of the tragedy with the I-35W bridge collapse as it happened and the aftermath.

While the I-35W bridge was under construction during the collapse, it was determined a design flaw caused the failure.

A design failure that tragically killed 13 people and injured 145 others.

Where is the I-35W bridge collapse Remembrance Garden in Minneapolis located?

I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden Memorial
Each pillar of the I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden Memorial depicts the name of each victim along with a personal story about them written by friends or family. The names of the 145 survivors are etched into the granite wall.

Aug. 1 is a day of remembrance in Minneapolis, but you can honor all the victims throughout the year. The I-35W Remembrance Garden Memorial, open 24 hours a day, is located near the rebuilt bridge on West River Parkway in Minneapolis. You will find the memorial across from Gold Medal Park and just down the street from the Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum.

View of Guthrie Center near the I-35W Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis
This view is taken in front of the I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis. This memorial is located near the Guthrie Theater and Gold Medal Park.

The memorial also honors first responders and Minnesotans who selflessly and courageously stepped up to rescue others from the collapsed I-35W bridge.

View of Guthrie Center near the I-35W Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis

The inscription on the I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden Memorial reads:

“Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life. Selfless actions and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.”

Disasters of the Mississippi Riverfront walking tour in Minneapolis

View of Stone Arch Bridge from I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden and Memorial
View of the historic Stone Arch Bridge that spans the Mississippi River – which faced some infrastructure issues also. Taken behind the I-35W Bridge Remembrance Garden Memorial.

I learned about the I-35W Remembrance Garden while taking a history walking tour, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society: Disasters of the (Mississippi) Riverfront.

Mississippi River in Minneapolis and I-35W Bridge
View of today’s I-35W bridge that spans the Mississippi River in Minneapolis

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While the Disasters of the Riverfront walking tour does not take you to the I-35 Remembrance Memorial Garden, my friend and I easily found it right after our tour ended. It’s located about a quarter-mile east of the Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theater on W. River Parkway in Minneapolis.

We spent a few moments paying our respects and reading their stories on the 13 pillars at the I-35W Bridge Remembrance Garden Memorial. Look closely at the pillars and you can see their names. I highly recommend taking the time to read about these individuals who are missed dearly by their family and friends.

I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden and Memorial

I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden and Memorial
You can learn more about the I-35 Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden Memorial by calling the number above, texting, or scanning the QR code.

The Disasters of the Riverfront Walking Tours is the most educational tour I took in the Twin Cities. Despite its dark tourism theme, it’s the most fascinating walking tour I took as a guest of the Minnesota Historical Society. Opinions are always my own, and I highly recommend this tour.

Best museum in Minneapolis: Mill City Museum

Mill City Museum Riverfront Walking Tour

The Disasters of the Riverfront Walking Tour in Minneapolis meets at the Mill City Museum, a National Historical Landmark, that’s built on the mill ruins. During your tour, you’ll learn more about the source of the fires that caused the ruins.

You’ll also learn about several other disasters that occurred along the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis. Stories include another bridge collapse in 1859 as well as the collapse of the Eastman Tunnel in 1869, along with floods and fires.

And explosions.

Mill City Museum view of Mississippi River and Stone Arch Bridge
Mill City Museum is built on the ruins of the former flour mill in Minneapolis. This is a view of the Mississippi River, the historic Stone Arch Bridge. Directions from the Mill City Museum to the I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden in Minneapolis: Go out the back exit of the Mill City Museum onto W. River Parkway. Cross the street and take a right. Follow the sidewalk for about a quarter-mile. You’ll then come across the I-35W Bridge Remembrance Garden Memorial.

Minneapolis: The Flour Milling Capital of the World

Gold Medal Flour Walking Tour

Minneapolis was known as the Flour Milling Capital of the World for five decades. That title almost didn’t happen when the Washburn A Mill (later part of General Mills) exploded in 1878. This explosion and fire killed 18 people, sent debris hundreds of feet into the air, and destroyed nearly one-third of the city’s flour milling capacity. It was later determined that flour dust, which is more explosive than gun powder, caused the disaster. *Source: Minnesota Historical Society

A plaque that names the 14 employees who died in the Washburn A Mill explosion is displayed above the entrance to the Mill City Museum. Four other people outside the mill also died.

Check out this video of a flour dust demo recorded during the Disasters of the Riverfront Walking Tour at the Mill City Museum – the best walking tour in Minneapolis.

There are, of course, happier moments in the Twin Cities’ history to honor, remember, and even celebrate. See my Top 10 walking tours in the Twin Cities post (Minneapolis and St. Paul for a few of those.

Pin it for later: I-35W Bridge Collapse Remembrance Garden Memorial in Minneapolis


Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller


    1. I was touched when I learned about the memorial. I’m glad my friend and I walked over to see it after our tour and to learn more about each of the individuals who lost their lives…they are missed by many.

  1. Bridge collapses are scary. Last year in Genoa, Italy, one of the main bridges collapsed a few day after we crossed it! Many died. You just can’t help but to wonder about the “what if’s “

    1. So happy to hear you’ve been enjoying them. Really looking forward to the one I’m taking tomorrow about the evolution of women working in Minneapolis.

  2. Wow what an awful tragedy. The memorial looks like a wonderful tribute to those died that day. That tour looks really interesting.

  3. I remember when the bridge collapsed. It was so sad. My son lives in Bricelyn, MN. What a nice Memorial. Very pretty. Nice way to honor those that lost their lives.

  4. So sad, I do remember this. So happy they created a memorial for this and a great visit to see that in times of tragedy so many step up to help out.

  5. I remember that day! I had a friend that was 2 or 3 cars before the bridge when it collapsed. Long hours waiting to hear that family and friends were safe

    1. Oh no…so good to hear your friend was ok. How scary. When I first saw the I-35W bridge collapse on the news I couldn’t believe it was happening here in Minneapolis. This memorial to the victims is such a nice tribute.

  6. As a Civil Engineer, we are taught a lot about engineering failures and disasters. It is a reminder about the importance of what we do for a living. A walking tour in Minneapolis to learn more about the bridge collapse on I-35W over the Mississippi River would be something of interest to me. It is the human story that stays with me for tragedies like this.

    1. I’m sure as a civil engineer, you are very familiar with this topic and the need for better infrastructure. I didn’t realize they had erected a memorial for the victims and survivors of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis until I took the walking tour. So was very moved to learn about it and pay our respects at the remembrance garden.

  7. I guess this counts as dark tourism (a whole walking tour to visit riverfront disasters!?) It is pretty cool that this kind of tour exists though, to keep the memory alive of the people involved.

    The bridge collapse is pretty terrifying isn’t it? I always worry about big infrastructure like that as so much of it needs fixing, with not so many civil engineers to watch/check when they need to be replaced.

    1. I never really thought of that, but yes, the tragic history and disasters on Minneapolis’ riverfront is dark tourism. The bridge collapses are terrifying. We have faith that when we cross a bridge that we will arrive safely on the other side. Our infrastructure definitely needs improvement.

  8. This is so interesting, and so sad. I don’t think I knew about the bridge collapse. What a beautiful memorial to remember those affected.

    1. Thank you. The riverfront disasters walking tour was fascinating history. And the I-35W Bridge Remembrance Garden is a very tasteful memorial for those who lost their lives.

    1. Thank you. The I-35W Remembrance Garden is a beautiful tribute and memorial to honor those who passed away as a result of the bridge collapse.

  9. Such an interesting post to read. What a horrible tragedy the bridge collapse was. The memorial they created is beautiful and a meaningful way to remember the victims.

    1. Thank you. The I-35W Remembrance Garden is a beautiful memorial and tribute to the lives lost during the tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

  10. I remember watching the I-35 bridge collaspe on the news. What a terrible thing to happen! That is wonderful that they have a memorial for all of the people who lost their lives on that day.

    1. I couldn’t believe the news footage when I saw the I-35W bridge collapsed. The I-35W Remembrance Garden is a very touching memorial.

  11. What a horrible tragedy! I don’t recall this happening, but this memorial is absolutely beautiful and very touching.

  12. What a horrible tragedy but a wonderful legacy to honour those who died. I love how this invites everyone in to learn about it, too often memorials are only known to the families.

    1. It was so tragic, but their legacy lives on. The Buddy Holly crash site and Buddy Holly Museum are heartfelt memorials to honor them.

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