Mississippi Escapade

Overview

The Grand Excursion of 1854 brought 1200 people to the edge of the world. Of course, they knew the actual world went far beyond the Mississippi River. But they were city folk. To them a world without large cities, thriving businesses, and factories belching clouds of black smoke was still "savage." The small settlements between Davenport and St. Anthony hardly made an impression, and Indians were regarded as exotic and fearsome creatures.

When the excursionists debarked in St. ...

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Overview

The Grand Excursion of 1854 brought 1200 people to the edge of the world. Of course, they knew the actual world went far beyond the Mississippi River. But they were city folk. To them a world without large cities, thriving businesses, and factories belching clouds of black smoke was still "savage." The small settlements between Davenport and St. Anthony hardly made an impression, and Indians were regarded as exotic and fearsome creatures.

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.

AUTHOR BIOS:
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.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-In 1854, in order to celebrate a railway connection between the Atlantic coast and Rock Island, IL, the first to reach the Mississippi, 1000 or so travelers went by train to Rock Island to start a 400-mile steamboat trek up the river to the Twin Cities. This book, part history, part travelogue, and part activity guide, retraces this excursion from start to finish. The first chapter illustrates life on the Mississippi before European settlement and explains the advantages and disadvantages of steamboats, which were faster than canoes, keelboats, and rafts, but required wood for fuel. The rest of the chapters each describe a segment of the voyage, giving detailed histories of places along the river. The text flows naturally and incorporates interesting tidbits. Illustrations include sketches and paintings from the time period as well as present-day photographs. Unfortunately, there is no complete map showing where the journey started and ended. Abundant activities, presented in blue boxes, appear throughout, helping to extend and clarify the narrative. Projects include math problems, map and Internet searches, picture comparisons, etc. These suggestions are particularly useful for classrooms and homeschoolers. This title is especially handy for students living near areas covered by the Excursion.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890434649
  • Publisher: Afton Historical Society Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.02 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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