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Red Wing

Now and Then

Now and Then: View of Main Street
View of Main Street.

Joseph Hancock
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A Man of Firsts
As the first permanent white settler in Red Wing, the town's first postmaster, and a teacher of the mission school in the area, Hancock had a large impact on the founding and development of Red Wing. He lived in the area for many years and was known for his positive relationships with the American Indians, and his efforts to improve the quality of life for Red Wing residents.
Lucius Hubbard
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Editor, Soldier, Politician
A man of many talents, Lucius Hubbard bought and edited the Red Wing Republican, fought with honor in the Civil War, and eventually became Governor of Minnesota.
Julia Nelson
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Activist and Community Leader
As a strong supporter and speaker for equal suffrage, women's rights, and the temperance movement, Julia B. Nelson worked to improve the lives those around her. She was also dedicated to other humanitarian causes, as her work as a teacher for the freed slaves demonstrated.
James Lawther
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The Business of Building a Town
James Lawther, an Irish immigrant who became a prominent Red Wing business leader, was elected town mayor, operated numerous financial interests in the town, and contributed entire city blocks of buildings and businesses to his community.

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A Natural Resource Creates an Industry
The red clay pits near Red Wing were the perfect source of what would become one of the most widely recognized forms of pottery in America today. The company used its expertise in the design and use of clay to create other consumer products with their materials. One of these products was sewer pipe for city utilities.

The River
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Source of Industry and Transportation
Red Wing was founded on the banks of the Mississippi River, which has given the community many industrial, shipping and tourist opportunities. The scenic landscape provided travelers a spot to rest along their river journey and gave businessmen a convenient river port for shipping their products.

The Civil War
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Red Wing Volunteers
Claiming to be the first regiment to answer the Governor's call for volunteers, the Red Wing regiment served with honor in many battles of the Civil War, including Gettysburg.
Sea Wing Disaster
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Disaster Strikes Red Wing
A violent summer storm on Lake Pepin caused the sinking of the steamer Sea Wing in July of 1890. The storm caused the deaths of over 100 excursioners who had been returning from a day trip. The accident captured the imaginations and interest of Minnesota residents for weeks.
Public Health
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Smallpox Vaccines in Red Wing
Charles Hewitt, a Red Wing doctor who had served with distinction in the Civil War, developed a lab in Red Wing to manufacture the smallpox vaccine. This vaccine was still in use years later by other Red Wing physicians who reported on the spread of the disease and the effects of vaccinations on patients.
Puffed Wheat
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Breakfast Science
Local inventor Alexander P. Anderson developed a process for puffing wheat grains. This process was patented and sold to what would become the Quaker Oats Company, which marketed it as a breakfast cereal. Puffed wheat and puffed rice are still sold on store shelves today.


Historic Tour