North Woods River: The St. Croix River in Upper Midwest History

Paperback | October 20, 2009

byEileen M. Mcmahon, Theodore J. Karamanski

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The St. Croix River, the free-flowing boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota, is a federally protected National Scenic Riverway. The area’s first recorded human inhabitants were the Dakota Indians, whose lands were transformed by fur trade empires and the loggers who called it the “river of pine.” A patchwork of farms, cultivated by immigrants from many countries, followed the cutover forests. Today, the St. Croix River Valley is a tourist haven in the land of sky-blue waters and a peaceful escape for residents of the bustling Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan region.
    North Woods River is a thoughtful biography of the river over the course of more than three hundred years. Eileen McMahon and Theodore Karamanski track the river’s social and environmental transformation as newcomers changed the river basin and, in turn, were changed by it. The history of the St. Croix revealed here offers larger lessons about the future management of beautiful and fragile wild waters.

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The St. Croix River, the free-flowing boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota, is a federally protected National Scenic Riverway. The area’s first recorded human inhabitants were the Dakota Indians, whose lands were transformed by fur trade empires and the loggers who called it the “river of pine.” A patchwork of farms, cultivated by ...

Eileen McMahon is assistant professor of history at Lewis University. Theodore Karamanski is professor of history at Loyola University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:October 20, 2009Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029923424X

ISBN - 13:9780299234249

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations   
Acknowledgments   

Introduction   
Chapter 1. Valley of Plenty, River of Conflict   
    The Dakota and Their Neighbors   
    French Fur Traders on the St. Croix   
    The Origins of the Dakota-Ojibwe War   
    English Fur Traders on the St. Croix   
    A Social History of the Fur Trade in the St. Croix Valley   
    The Ecological Impact of the Fur Trade   
    The American Fur Company Era   
    Dakota-Ojibwe Relations during the American Era   
    The Treaties of 1837   
    Strangers on the Land: The St. Croix Indians in the Settlement Era   

Chapter 2. River of Pine   
    From Fur Trade to Fir Trade   
    Frontier Logging: Life in the Forest   
    Frontier Logging: The Importance of Waterpower   
    The St. Croix Boom Company   
    Industrial River   
    The Log Drives   
    A River Jammed with Logs   
    Industrial Logging   
    Corporate Control of the St. Croix   
    The Failure of Government Regulation of the St. Croix Pinery   
    Fire in the Forest   
    The Last Days of the Lumber Frontier   
    The Impact of Logging on the St. Croix Valley   

Chapter 3. "The New Land": Settlement and Agriculture   
    Dividing the Valley   
    Farmers and the Repopulation of the Valley   
    The Swedish Frontier   
    Land Speculation and Growing Pains   
    The Civil War Years in the St. Croix Valley   
    The Farming Frontier Moves up the Valley   
    Railroads: Regional Rivalry and Growth   
    From Wheat to Dairy Farming   
    Farming the Cutover   

Chapter 4. Up North: The Development of Recreation in the St. Croix Valley   
    Steamboats and the "Fashionable Tour"   
    Railroads and the Growth of Tourism   
    Hunting, Fishing, and Tourism   
    Interstate Park and the Last Stand of the Steamboat Men   
    Dam the St. Croix!   
    Sportsmen of the Upper St. Croix   
    Government Conservation and the Invention of the North Woods   
    Return of the Tourist   
    Dam the St. Croix, Again   
    Saving the St. Croix   

Notes   
Bibliography   
Index   

Editorial Reviews

“This volume presents a thorough, carefully researched and well-written history of the St. Croix River. It should be required reading for anyone charged with managing the St. Croix and its valley in the twenty-first century.”—Environmental History