Minnesota Historical Society

Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge

$ 7.95


Author Carolyn Ruff

Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 1, 2014)

Ten-year-old Fritz and his poppa have made a life for themselves on the Mississippi River Flats in Minneapolis in 1883, but what they really want is for their family to be whole again.


In order to earn money to bring Fritz's momma and sisters from Sweden to America, the determined Fritz sets out to master a new skill, working as the youngest stonemason on the crew building the Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi River. Along the way, Fritz, always eager to learn, unlocks secrets of his new homeland from details of the river's geology and the area's animals to stories of brave stands against slavery and the dangers of flour milling.

He befriends Margaret, Metis girl whose family has called the region home for generations, and meets notable early settler Emily Goodridge Grey. Applying his developing stonecutting skills, he records these many lessons in the keystones of the bridge.

Working through the summer, Fritz grows in responsibility and stature. Best of all, soon after the bridge is complete, he is able to show off his handiwork to Mamma in person.

Author information

An interpreter at Mill City Museum for ten years, Carolyn Ruff has owned an art gallery in the Minneapolis District, has served as a reading consultant in Minnesota, Japan, and Germany, and celebrates her own Swedish heritage in this, her first book.

Reviews and news

Twin Cities Daily Planet

Also of interest

Read our MNOpedia article on the Stone Arch Bridge for more information about the structure.

Visit the Mill City Museum

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 80 pages
  • 20 black and white illustrations
  • 5 x 8 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519236

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