Blair in Washington County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
On April 1, 1865 the 161-foot vessel struck a snag less than a mile from the village of DeSoto, Nebraska Territory. The site of the wreck is now part of the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge. Although the boat sank in ten minutes, no lives were lost. The Bertrand was one of more than 400 steamboats wrecked on the Missouri during the riverboat era.
In 1967 salvors in cooperation with the federal government began a successful search for the Bertrand. The excavation was completed in October 1969 after 150 tons of cargo had been removed. The varied and precisely dated contents provide important research and interpretive resources after 103 years. On March 24, 1969 the historic importance of the Bertrand was recognized with its entry into the National Register of Historic Places.
Erected by Daughters of the American Colonists, Nebraska State Historical
Marker series. This marker is included in the Daughters of the American Colonists, and the Nebraska State Historical Society marker series.
Location. 41° 31.271′ N, 96° 1.794′ W. Marker is in Blair, Nebraska, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from DeSoto Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Blair NE 68009, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Lewis and Clark Expedition (approx. 0.7 miles away); Up the Missouri (approx. 0.7 miles away); Lewis and Clark Campsite Area (approx. 1˝ miles away); DeSoto Townsite (approx. 2.7 miles away); Fort Atkinson (approx. 4˝ miles away); Lewis and Clark Campsite (approx. 4.6 miles away); The Death of Marshal Suverkrubbe (approx. 4.8 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Atkinson (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Blair.
More about this marker. The Steamboat Bertrand is located on an isolated ‘island’ of the State of Nebraska created when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers cut off the DeSoto Bend oxbow and straightened the Missouri River. Access to the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is gained only though the State of Iowa. The Bertrand’s artifact
Also see . . .
1. The Tricky Missouri. About 25 miles north of Council Bluffs and Omaha there was a big V-shaped bend in the river. The bend was thick with snags of dead trees. Somewhere along that bend the Bertrand hit a snag. Within five minutes the boat sank. All the passengers were saved, but thousands of dollars worth of cargo was lost. (Submitted on June 3, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
2. Steamboat Bertrand Cargo Collection. DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, located in Missouri Valley, Iowa, is home to a premier archeological collection of 200,000 artifacts excavated from the buried hull of the Steamboat Bertrand. In 1865 the boat hit a snag, or submerged log, twenty miles north of Omaha, Nebraska. Bound for the newly discovered goldfields of Montana from St. Louis, Missouri, the Bertrand sank into the depths of the Missouri River. Its cargo was a complete loss. Local legend indicated the ship carried whiskey, coins and 500 flasks of mercury to be used in the mining process, a treasure trove worth hundreds of thousands of dollars! (Submitted on June 3, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Disasters • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 3, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 637 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on June 3, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.