Saturday, March 18, 2006

Steamboating on the Red

Click to enlarge...While steamboats have been mentioned in passing on this site, today I'd like to concentrate on the steamboats themselves. To make it a little easier for me (time is pressing in on me from all sides), I shall give you several snapshots rather than a running narrative...

Prior to steamboats, Euro-American explorers and traders introduced other vessel types to the Minnesota area as early as 1700. A French expedition under Pierre Charles Le Sueur arrived that year with a longboat, or felucca, from the Lower Mississippi Valley. In the late 1700s, Hudson's Bay Company traders plied the Red River with York boats at least as far up as Pembina.
- From Minnesota Historical Society

1859-1871 was called the steamboat era. The Anson Northup was the first steamboat on the Red River in 1859. Four additional boats were built between 1871 and 1874. Steamboating on the Red River lasted approximately 53 years, with steamboats carrying a variety of trade good on the Red River between the Selkirk Colony and Georgetown. The last steamboat sank at Grand Forks in 1912...Eventually, steamboats couldn't compete with the much faster and cheaper railroad which reached Moorhead in 1871. By the turn of the century, steamboats were all but extinct on the Red River of the North.

Click to enlarge and read!