Minneapolis was founded in 1855, on the west bank of the river, opposite the falls of St Anthony. By 1870, Minneapolis on the west bank and St. Anthony on the east bank formed the largest flour-producing center in the world. Between 1860 and 1900, a thriving community of immigrants from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and northern Germany poured in to settle the Minnesota Territory, many of who worked in the milling and lumber industries on the Mississippi River. The West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis has been known for the valuable immigrant community, energized political conversation, and exciting campus culture. 

That rich, occasionally volatile, history has created one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. In the 1960s and 1970s, the area attracted hippies, intellectuals, actors, artists and musicians. Presently, the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood boasts the largest community of immigrants in the Twin Cities, continuing a long history of ethnic and cultural diversity. East Africans are the latest wave of foreign-born residents, following the Europeans of a century and more ago and the Vietnamese and other Asians of just twenty years back.The neighborhood is triangular-shaped with three definitive boundaries: the Mississippi River on the east side, Interstate 94 on the south side, and Interstate 35W on the west side.

Thousands live in this eclectic Minneapolis neighborhood known as the West Bank. The community is an interesting blend of tattooed punks, longhaired hippies and Somali families. The West Bank brings artists, teachers, students, and scholars together across disciplines to share knowledge and ideas, talent and inspiration. The presence of the University of Minnesota and Augsburg Colleges contribute a progressive flavor to the neighborhood. The area is home to theaters, music clubs, coffee shops, sports bars, co-ops, flavors from around the world, vegetarian cuisine, and historic buildings.