Sugar Loaf

SW of jct. of US 61 and MN 43, Winona, Minnesota

Named for the shape that sugar was sold in back in the 19th Century


Photo taken by Nate Ahrensfeld



Street View 


Sugar Loaf is a dolomite (limestone) bluff overlooking Winona and the Mississippi River. It also overlooks Lake Winona, which was once a main channel of the Mississippi River. The bluff is so named for the shape that sugar was once sold in. It is one of several such bluffs named "Sugar Loaf" along the river.

The bluff was the first sight of Minnesota that many pioneers had and it was also a navigational aide for Mississippi River boats. The bluff was also a popular subject of stereo opticons, a popular medium in the 19th Century. This photograph of the original bluff is part of the collection of the New York Public Library.

Today's pinnacle was the result of mining in the 19th Century.

A devastating fire swept through downtown Winona in 1862, destroying most of the downtown area. A pair of enterprising brothers began mining the limestone from Sugar Loaf to pave downtown. The limestone was also used in rebuilding the city. Mining ended in 1897.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 3, 1990
Reference number
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Natural feature
Current function
Natural feature
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1925-1949
Significant year
ca. 1870

Update Log 

  • January 28, 2018: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added a photo
  • July 27, 2016: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
  • July 19, 2010: New photos from Nate Ahrensfeld