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Featured This Month

Steamboats On The Red


Monday May  1 at 9:30 pm CDT

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul and Winnipeg. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of pounds of freight across the border. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the United States and Canada that exists to this day in the I29 corridor.

To shine a spotlight on this important piece of prairie history, Steamboats on the Red examines the history of steamboat transportation on the Red River and the impact this important trade route had on the development of the region.

  • The $1,000 prize that was the key to unlocking trade floodgates between the United States and Canada.
  • How the partnership between railroads and riverboats turned to cut-throat competition.
  • The larger than life personalities who launched steamboats on the Red.
  • The evolution of Red River communities from backwater outposts to thriving boom towns.
  • How the riverboats carried the seeds of their own destruction.

Production Funding Provided By

About the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

In 2008, Minnesota voters passed a landmark piece of legislation — the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment — which provided funding to public television stations serving audiences in Minnesota. Its mission is to help preserve and document the treasures of culture, history, and heritage that make Minnesota special, and to increase access to the natural and cultural resources we all share. Click here for more information.

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