|Message from the Governor of the Territory of Minnesota, to the first Legislative Assembly: September 4, 1849
||September 4, 1849
||Alexander Ramsey explained many searchable facets of progress towards statehood. Teachers can present significant information to students. Students can use the search box to search independently and share their discoveries about steamboats, fur trade, etc. Click on "View Image & Text" for useful transcripts.
|View of James J. Hill's warehouse on Upper Mississippi River, St. Paul
||Introduce river use with this photo of riverboats and storage warehouses. Discuss why these warehouses were placed near the river.
|Journal of Randolph M. Probstfield 1873-1876 Moorhead, Minnesota
||This is the first page of the second volume of a farmer's journal. Probstfield writes of expenses on his farm, weather, and prices. Students can search for entries on the river.
|Journal of Randolph M. Probstfield 1873-1876 Moorhead Minnesota
||This is page 19 in Probstfield's second journal and refers to his travels up the Buffalo River. Where does he travel and what does he use the river for?
|Atlas of Dodge County Minnesota
||On this page of the 1905 Dodge County Atlas is a biography of an early settler. The author documents his use of an 1849 map purchased in Philadelphia. He was interested in settling in the "green" section of Minnesota. Students can learn about his trials and concerns. The transcript, found below the page image in the Description section, is helpful.
|The Word Carrier of Santee Normal Training School (Santee, Nebraska), 1917-09 – 1917-10
||1915-11 and 1915-12
||This page contains a biography of Mary Riggs, a missionary woman. Students can trace the route she took from New York to western Minnesota on a map as they read this brief colorful account and then compare it to 1873 and 1905 settlers above.
|Map of Traverse des Sioux, Minnesota
||What did early maps look like? Compare this map to a contemporary map of the Minnesota River. This hand-drawn map shows the village of the Traverse des Sioux and a major crossing site for this river.
|Catching fish and cord wood on Red River, Moorhead, Minnesota
||The river helped people work. Point out the fishing stringer and the rope stretching across the river used to stop the cord wood. Notice the rail cars ready to move the wood to storage.
|Paddlewheel steamboat J.B. Bassett Anoka, Minnesota
||This is a photo of a paddlewheel cook boat used to support the log drives on the rivers.
|Steamboat "Pluck" at the Levee, Moorhead, Minnesota
||Two barges are tied up on the banks of the Red River. What is on the load? Have students find the landing and trace their passage down river.
|Pickwick Mill and Mill Pond, Pickwick, Minnesota
||Show students the mill situated on the river and explain significance of this water source.
|Steamer Keenora at Old Baudette docks, Baudette, Minnesota
||Passengers on cargo steamers were able to ride a streamlined, more comfortable vessel.
|Wannagan on a log drive on the Otter Tail River, Height of Land Township, Minnesota
||Log drives were supported by the cook boat and river rats. Ask students why the cook boat was needed.
|An illustrated historical atlas of the state of Minnesota
||This atlas offers a table of contents. Use a scavenger hunt format to direct students to locate information on different river cities, names or portraits of settlers and lumber barons.
|Cold Spring Granite Company main plant and Sauk River dam, Stearns County
||New uses and control of the rivers were created when dams were built. Students can use this photo to help them design their own model dams.
|Barge unloading grain at dock, Ortonville, Minnesota
||River traffic increases as need for products increases.
|Aerial Lift Bridge: View from Garfield Avenue, Duluth, Minnesota
||Sticks of lumber waiting processing and shipping in Duluth.
|Aerial Lift Bridge: View with harbor grain elevators, Duluth, Minnesota
||Shipping grain on the river and across the great lakes. What other products do barges haul?
Students need background knowledge on the river systems in both the United States and in Minnesota to contextualize this study. Contemporary maps are available on MapQuest and other sites. It would be helpful to equip students with a black line map of the Minnesota river system.
Expanded Activity: Have students search current newspapers and Minnesota travel material for information on river commerce.
This guide allows students to gather information on how early Minnesota settlers used the river to establish residency and a livelihood. The rest of the sources illustrate uses of the river.
Students will enjoy designing and building dams across any water flow you can create to illustrate the increased productivity achieved by a managed river system!