Sunday, July 15, 2012
The steamboat Yellowstone made history on this date in 1832, completing the first successful voyage up the Missouri River to Fort Union, in present-day North Dakota. Before the Yellowstone, the shallow water and snags made travel too treacherous for steamboats. Traders and merchants had to drag keelboats upriver, and then sail downstream with their cargo. The Yellowstone was commissioned by the American Fur Company to overcome these obstacles. In 1831, the steamer made it as far north as Fort Tecumseh in South Dakota, six hundred miles farther than any other steamboat. The following year, she steamed all the way to Fort Union, returning to St. Louis loaded with buffalo meat, furs, and pelts. Investors as far away as Europe clamored to back the boat upon hearing of her success.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme Job