Author Mary Relindes Ellis recounts Bohemian Flats history in new book

Mary Relindes Ellis
Author Mary Relindes Ellis holds a copy of her novel 'The Bohemian Flats' while standing on the East Bank flats on June 3, 2014. Behind her, across the river, is the West Bank where the Bohemian Flats once stood and were home to a wide array of immigrants newly arrived to Minneapolis.
Tom Weber/MPR News

Generations of immigrants in the early days of Minneapolis's history lived in the eclectic area along the Mississippi River known as the Bohemian Flats. Today, the flats are largely parkland that offer scenic views of the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis skyline. Much to the chagrin of author Mary Relindes Ellis, who returns us to the heyday of the flats as a residential area in her new novel, "The Bohemian Flats."

The novel tells the story of the Raimund Kaufmann, a German immigrant who leaves his homeland to escape his father's demand that he enter the priesthood. His original plans to settle on the East Coast change when he meets a man aboard the Atlantic-crossing boat who encourages him to consider Minneapolis, the then-flour mill capital of the world.

But telling the story of the Kaufmanns was only part of Ellis's goal, as she engages the reader in a vivid history of the flats. Ellis joins The Daily Circuit to discuss the history of the area and her new book.

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