The dam construction began in May of 1901 on the Grand Rapids of the Mississippi River, at the base of a stretch of water falls that dropped 30 feet in just over 3 miles. The mill started operation in 1902. Blandin operated the mill throughout the 1900s, until the mill was sold in 1977. The mill was sold again in 1997 to UPM, a Finnish company with world-wide paper mill holdings. While the mill continues to operate, the paper making process requires far few people to run the mill in this age of automation. In 2001, the mill set a world record by running a coating machine for 24 hours straight at an average speed of 5,656 feet of paper per minute, which is over 64 miles of paper per hour.
The photo above is a view of the downriver side of the dam. Water flow is low on this late summer afternoon. The photo above is a view of the upriver side of the dam. The building on the far side of the river is the Blandin Paper Mill.