Image (most likely Minnesota and Western Canada Assn. Regatta - 1909) from a collection of Upper Mississippi Photos. Gift from Mr. N. P. Langford Jr. to the Minnesota Historical Society 1944. 

June 9, 2017

It took over twenty years for the men of the Minnesota Boat Club (MBC) to get around to buying an eight, and it was Winnipeg’s idea.

It all started with a single. The first time St. Paul set eyes on a rowing shell it focused on John W. L. Corning’s delicate paper boat. John Corning was the vector that infected the city of St. Paul with a love of rowing, an affliction that slowly spread throughout the state, eventually becoming endemic. When Corning relocated to St. Paul from New York in 1868, he shipped his new rowing shell by the safest, if not the most direct, route. He sent it down the Atlantic Coast to New Orleans and then by barge up the Mississippi River. When he was reunited with his boat in St. Paul, a crowd gathered on the Wabasha Street Bridge, skeptical, to see if he would stay afloat. When he did, everyone was delighted. Corning’s fragile boat provided a stark contrast to the rough and tumble frontier backdrop of St. Paul and the working hustle of the Mississippi River...

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Rowing in Minnesota

History and Photography

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