Old Man River:  History Along the MississippiApril 19-November 2, 2003

Riverfront Property

Bald eagle and alligator crossing sign
The Upper vs. The Lower Mississippi
riverfront property exhibit section
Artwork, photos, and artifacts on loan from many sources, including:
~ Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul MN
~ Muscatine Art Center, Muscatine IA
~ Paul Bunyan Logging Camp, Eau Claire WI
~ Pearl Button Museum, Muscatine IA
~ State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines IA
~ Michael Zahs, Ainsworth IA

The Mississippi was a "dark and
inexorable river… rolling
like a destiny, through its realms of
solitude and shade."
- Francis Parkman

The banks of a river are the meeting points between nature and civilization, commerce and culture. It was on the banks of the Mississippi that the residents of ten states would define themselves.

Those who settled along the northern riverbanks in Minnesota and Wisconsin utilized the power of the river to move lumber and to grind wheat. In Illinois and Iowa, the river was stabilized with locks and dams to allow boatloads of grain, corn, lead and coal. A chance bend in the river collected mollusks, marking the emergence of the pearl button industry.

Just short of the mid-point of the river, the port of St. Louis enjoyed the meeting of downriver and upriver traffic, and both intersected with rail and coach lines moving east and west. St. Louis became the nexus for the nation - the heartland link for commerce, business, transportation, and communication.

The southern river valley offered rich agricultural lands as the river meandered through the deltas and bayous of southern Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Here, "cotton was king" along the Mississippi as it rolled on from Memphis to Natchez to New Orleans.

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Did you know …?
From the French word for "ten" came the term "dix notes"
(paper money used by banks in
New Orleans) so going to "Dixieland"
originally meant traveling south to sell farm products.

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This section "Riverfront Property" has the following related pages:

Continue through exhibit

2 men in a canoe
Early Exploration and Development
River Days
You are here!
view of Bellview, Iowa
Riverfront Property
Civil War enenactors
Man vs. Man
Bald eagle and conservation officer
Man vs. Nature
jazz musician
The Arts Along the River
New Orleans graveyard
Legends and Spirits
View Selected Artifacts
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Thank You!
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