“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Dresbach in Winona County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Minnesota’s “Fashionable Tour” / Welcome to Minnesota

Minnesota's "Fashionable Tour" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
1. Minnesota's "Fashionable Tour" Marker
Inscription.  Minnesota’s “Fashionable Tour.” In the years between 1835 and 1860, steamboats from St. Louis and the Illinois river towns of Rock Island and Galena carried hundreds of tourists up the Mississippi River past “a thousand bluffs which tower in countless fascinating forms.” Their destinations were the frontier town of St. Paul and the famous Falls of St. Anthony in what is now Minneapolis.

Made popular in the east by panorama painters, writers, and lecturers, the “Fashionable Tour” of the upper Mississippi River combined the scenic “grandeur and majesty” of the west, a chance to glimpse real Indian villages along the shores, and the luxury and fine food provided by the big excursion boats. By 1854 visitors could travel from New York City to Rock Island entirely by rail in about 48 hours, step onto a steamboat heading north, and experience the “tonic of wildness” in a comfortable four-day round trip to St. Paul, where boats docked at the rate of four or five a day during the summer months.

Today the steamboats of the “Fashionable Tour” are gone,
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but the drive along the Mississippi River bluffs and through the old river towns proud of their historic heritage is still one of Minnesota’s most popular and scenic tourist attractions.

Welcome to Minnesota. Known to her citizens as the North Star State or the Gopher State, Minnesota has never claimed to be the Land of the Giants. But two famous American giants do hail from Minnesota. The giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan cut the pine forest of the north that helped build America’s towns and cities, and the Jolly Green Giant towers over the south’s lush corn, vegetable, and soybean fields, a part of the midwest’s fertile farm belt.

Like its neighbors, the thirty-second state grew as a collection of small farm communities, many settled by immigrants from Scandinavia and Germany. Two of the nation’s favorite fictional small towns—Sinclair Lewis’s Gopher Prairie and Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon—reflect that heritage. But the vast forests, the huge open pit iron ore mines, and the busy shipping lanes of Lake Superior attracted different settlers with different skills and made Minnesota a state of surprising diversity.

Best known for its more than 15,000 lakes, Minnesota has some 65 towns with the word “lake” in their names, not counting those whose names mean “lake” or “water" in the Chippewa or Dakota
Welcome to Minnesota Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
2. Welcome to Minnesota Marker
Indian languages. There are also 13 “falls,” 10 “rivers,” 5 “rapids,” and a smattering of “isles,” “bays,” and “beaches.” Even the state name itself means “sky colored water” in Dakota. The mighty Mississippi River starts as a small stream flowing out of Minnesota’s Lake Itasca, and a Minneapolis waterfall called Minnehaha inspired “The Song of Hiawatha,” even though Longfellow never actually visited the falls his poem made known to every schoolchild.

Minnesotans are proud of their state’s natural beauty and are leaders in resource conservation and concern for the quality of life.
Erected 1985 by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Natural FeaturesSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Minnesota Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1835.
Location. 43° 51.563′ N, 91° 18.287′ W. Marker is near Dresbach, Minnesota, in Winona County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 90 at milepost 275, on the right when traveling west. Marker is at the westbound Dresbach Travel Information Center/Rest Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: La Crescent MN 55947, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers.
Upriver View from Rest Area image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, June 23, 2008
3. Upriver View from Rest Area
Looking towards Lock and Dam No. 7 on the Mississippi River.
At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Theodore Foss Memorial Highway (a few steps from this marker); Taming the Wild River (within shouting distance of this marker); Symbol of America (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General C.C. Washburn (approx. 1.7 miles away in Wisconsin); The Upper Mississippi (approx. 1.7 miles away in Wisconsin); Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Highway (approx. 1.7 miles away in Wisconsin); The Development of Copeland Avenue (approx. 3.2 miles away in Wisconsin); Sidewheel Riverboat War Eagle (approx. 3.7 miles away in Wisconsin). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dresbach.
Nearby Lock and Dam #7 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert L Weber
4. Nearby Lock and Dam #7
Barge and Tugboat passing through the nearby locks image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert L Weber
5. Barge and Tugboat passing through the nearby locks
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,671 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 28, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.   4, 5. submitted on May 23, 2012, by Bob (peach) Weber of Dewey, Arizona. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 26, 2023