“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
LaMoure in LaMoure County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Steamboats on the River

Steamboats on the River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, May 2, 2017
1. Steamboats on the River Marker

As printed in the LaMoure County Chronicle Aug. 30, 1912:

"Undoubtedly the most enjoyable trip was the one after supper Sunday evening, when fully half a hundred excursionists found plenty of room on the boat. With the wind reduced to a gentle zephyr and an ideal moon casting silvery beams on the slightly rippling waters, the trip was decidedly enjoyable and full of romantic appeal. The crowd was bubbling over with merriment and drolleries and brilliant sallies from local wits flowed in continual stream. Prosaic figures show that the Wanderland carried some 160 passengers and netted her owner about $33."

In 1909, Captain A. H. Alexanderson spent six months and $900 building the Wanderland steamboat with his own hands. Built near the mouth of Bear Creek, a few miles north of Oakes, the Wanderland deck extended 61 feet and the beam was 16 feet wide. Propelled by an eight horse power steam engine, the stern paddle wheel was eight feet in diameter and eight feet four inches wide. The steamboat traveled at a maximum speed of approximately eight miles an hour.

For the next two years, the novelty craft barely made it off the banks of the James River after construction because of low water. For some unknown reason, the people of Oakes and other nearby locals were weary of the Wanderland. However,
Steamboats on the River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, May 2, 2017
2. Steamboats on the River Marker
with praiseworthy persistence, Alexanderson launched the steamboat into midstream by himself on Aug. 5, 1912, and headed north. Along the way, he had to take down some of the upper rigging and superstructure in order to pass under several bridges. He Ended his voyage at Lamoure on Sat., Aug. 24. At the time, the James River was credited as being the longest "unnavigable" river in the world.

After his arrival, Alexanderson scattered bills inviting the locals to a real steamboat excursion on Sunday. The next morning at 10:30 a.m. the captain departed with his first group of passengers and made five trips that day traveling several miles down the river and back. The Wanderland carried anywhere from a dozen to 50 passengers each trip. Captain Alexanderson's crew for the day included Carl Knudson as chief engineer and John Lindsen as head stoker, while Alexanderson occupled the bridge and manned the steering wheel.

The Redwing

The Redwing was one of three boats built and navigated by Alex H. Alexanderson of Fullerton, North Dakota.

This gas powered pleasure craft ran on the James River south of LaMoure from 1914-1916. It had a five horsepower single cylinder engine with a top speed of 16 miles per hour.

Due to bridge construction and low water along the James River, the river boat excursions came to an end. In 1916, the RedWing was taken down river and used on Sand Lake near Columbia, South Dakota, until 1925. Eventually, the boat returned to Fullerton where it served as part of Captain Alex's living quarters.

He died December 1961 at the age of 81. The RedWing was given to the city of LaMoure through Alexanderson's estate and was restored by the LaMoure Community Betterment Club.
Erected by North Dakota Department of Transportation.
Location. 46° 21.338′ N, 98° 17.916′ W. Marker is in LaMoure, North Dakota, in LaMoure County. Marker is on State Highway 13 0.2 miles west of Main St, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. This marker is in a wayside park just off the highway. Marker is in this post office area: Lamoure ND 58458, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Honorable Milton R. Young (within shouting distance of this marker); Symbol of Freedom (within shouting distance of this marker); Civilian Conservation Corps Project (approx. 0.4 miles away); LaMoure County Courthouse (approx. 0.6 miles away); Carroll House (approx. 14.7 miles away); Stagecoach Relay Station (approx. 15.4 miles away).
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
Credits. This page was last revised on January 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 2, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 85 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 2, 2018, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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