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        Turning Point | Steamboats on the Red

        Learn how in 1878, the railroad crossing Minnesota reached Pembina—establishing a rail link between St. Paul and Winnipeg—in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. The link opened up the way goods could be transported from one city to another. Ironically, the first steam train to arrive in western Canada arrived via a steamboat traveling along the Red River. After the railroad arrived, the steamboat industry never recovered.

        Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of tons of freight across the border between the United States and Canada. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the two countries that exists to this day in the Interstate-29 corridor.

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