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When the excursionists debarked in St. ...
When the excursionists debarked in St. Paul, continuing their quest, they immediately jumped onto stages and wagons bound for the Falls of St. Anthony. What they wanted all along was a taste of nature in the raw. What they saw as participants during their seven-day "Grand Excursion" more than answered their expectations in beauty and rugged spectacle.
Retracing the route of the Grand Excursion is an exhilarating experience. The grand vistas, picturesque islands, and awe- inspiring bluffs are still there. Eagles still soar overhead, and waterfowl continue to nest in the sloughs and backwaters. But today s skyline along the shore is as much shaped by steeples and smokestacks as by willow and cottonwood trees. In the space of 150 years, the river has spawned the flourishing cities that today line its banks and pay tribute to its nurturing presence.
Paul Clifford Larson is an historian whose passion for the built environment has led him to write seven books on the subject, among them Minnesota Architect (Clarence Johnston), Icy Pleasures and A Place at the Lake, all published by Afton Historical Society Press.
Pamela Allen Larson uses her extensive theatre arts training to make history and literature more accessible to young people. She currently teaches drama in a St. Paul elementary that integrates the arts with regular curriculum.