Missouri River, Facts and Historic Maps by Lisa Middleton

Text and Map Images courtesy of Great River Arts, Kalispell, Mountana.  All rights reserved.
Missouri River: THE MISSOURI RIVER is considered to be the longest stream of river in the US is the Missouri River which begins at Three Forks, Montana (elevation 4,032 feet) and flows 2,714 miles to near St. Louis, Missouri. Many people consider the Missouri to be the main reach of the Mississippi River!  
ThMissouri River Ribbon Mape Missouri River, flowing east and then south for thousands of miles is North America’s longest river. It is a gem of natural resources and a vital transportation pathway. Nicknamed the “Big Muddy” and “Dark River” because of its silt material, the river begins at the confluence of the Madison and Jefferson Rivers in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana. The river flows across eastern Montana, then continues through the center of the Dakotas on its southern trek, before becoming the state line between Nebraska and Iowa, then dividing Kansas from  Missouri. The Missouri travels east again across the upper part of the state that carries its name before entering the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis.The Missouri River valley was the home of several Native American tribes around 1500,  including the Mandan, Arikara, Missouria, Lakota, Hidatsa, and Otoe, among others. French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, in 1673, were the first Europeans to see the Missouri River. However, it was the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806) that produced the most promise and paved the way for the Missouri River to define the American Frontier. The discovery of a navigable Missouri River route made possible the growth of the fur trade in the  early 1800s. Fur trappers in the upper Missouri River basin bartered iron, brass, knife, blankets, cloth, metal, firearms, metal containers, and even alcohol with Indians, for beaver pelts and the hides of bison and buffalo.The function of the Missouri River has changed over time, and today, tourism and recreation are the two key features of the river. Kayaking, canoeing, bird watching, camping, fishing, and hiking are some of the activities that can be enjoyed on or along the river. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, which crosses eleven U.S. states and retraces the course of Louis and Clark Expedition, is a feature attraction along the Missouri River. Still, the Missouri River flows through or past many National Historic Landmarks including the Big Hidatsa Village Site in North Dakota, and Montana’s Fort Benton, among others. There is plenty to explore and enjoy!

Click here to read about Lisa’s new rendition of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition! 

Lewis and Clark Expedition Map 1804-1806

Return to Mississippi River Tributary Feature

Ohio River, Custom Ribbon Map by Lisa Middleton

c Pat Middleton, greatriver.com

Numerous overnight cruising paddleboats are once more cruising the Ohio River! Our single most popular map of the Mississippi is a Ribbon from 1887 designating all the towns along the river… and map artist, Lisa Middleton, now makes her hand-painted RIBBON MAP of the OHIO RIVER available to all!
Click map image below to visit www.greatriverarts.com>Shop>Ohio River

Ohio River Ribbon Map

Ohio River provided by www.greatriverarts.com

The Ohio River begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the confluence of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River, extending roughly 900 miles downstream and ending in Cairo, Illinois. Throughout time, the Ohio River has been called many names by different civilizations. The Shawnees called it Spaylaywitheepi, the Miami tribes, the Causisseppione, the Delawares, Kitonosipi, and the French, La Belle Riviére, meaning “the beautiful river.” It was called the “River Jordan” by slaves escaping to freedom in the North using the Underground Railroad in early 1800s. The name Ohio comes from the Iroquois word, “O-Y-O,” meaning “the great river”.

As early as 700 B.C., the first humans on the river were the Adena culture, followed by the Hopewell culture around 400 B.C. The Adena culture made their mark on the land erecting unique conical burial mounds along the river’s course and its tributaries. The Hopewells had larger earthen mounds in the same area as the Adenas. Later, the Shawnees, Cherokees, Iroquois, and Miamis, used the Ohio River at different periods as a site to launch violent raids, dubbing the river the “River of Blood” by the tribes.

In the 1670s, the French established trading posts along the Ohio River tributaries, including the Beaver, Wabash, and the Scioto Rivers — but the Ohio River remained unexplored. The first European to see the Ohio River was Frenchman Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle in 1669. By the 1880s, the Ohio River became an important commercial route, and also a transportation route for families who migrated to establish settlement in the West.

Today, the Ohio River continues to serve as a major artery for transporting coal, grain, steel, and manufactured articles. The Ohio River is still important to communities, providing drinking water and as well as boating, fishing, swimming, and other water sports.

Other available fine art Ribbon Maps include The Mississippi River and the Missouri River. Please click links to view maps and Tributary information!

We also have two FRENCH maps available with details of the OHIO RIVER. Both Maps are also Rich in Mississippi River info. (To study maps at greatriverarts.com use the Hi Rez magnifying glass that pops up when you hold your cursor over an image.)

Les Etats Unis late 16th Century

Les Etats Unis 1781

Carte de La Louisiane.  Early 16th CenturyCarte De La Louisiane, French United States c.1731

Return to the MISSISSIPPI RIVER HOME PAGE at greatriver.com

Tell your neighbors! Tell your friends!

Lisa’s Summer Show Schedule 2014

Conference, Jackson WY October 4-5: Issaquah Salmon Days, Issaquah WA (waiting list) October 24-26 Best of the Northwest, Seattle WA

“I have seen your maps EVERYWHERE and have been so looking forward to buying one for myself!”

“I LOVE this map, I KNEW the Scottish were here!”

Explore Lisa’s maps ANYTIME and ANYWHERE online at

Our Most Frequently Updated shopping cart ETSY.com  Please visit us now by clicking the SHOP link!!

Order any map, or let us visit with you about your map needs!

PHONE 888-255-7726 or EMAIL: fineart@greatriverarts.com


Our beautiful “New Map of Lake Pepin” drawn and illustrated by Wisconsin Map Artist, Lisa Middleton, is shown here framed. The 11×34″ gift prints are now available at better gift shops along both shores of Lake Pepin for about $24.95. Or call us at 888-255-7726 to order!

framed lake pepin

The map, based on current USACE river charts is both historical and geographical in nature, with no commercial notations. The original painting and one full size giclee are available at Abode Gallery in Stockholm, Wisconsin. The original is close to 40″ long and 12″ wide. The gift prints which are a quality offset print product sized 11″x34″

Abode also carries the large format original of Lisa’s Pike Historico-Geographical Map of notations from Pike and other explorers traveling from north of Minneapolis to Lake Itasca.

Middleton also painted the 1887 Historic Reproduction of Glazier’s ribbon map, “The Father of Waters.” Gift prints of this map are also available at many fine gift shops along the river. Or call 888-255-7726 to order.

1878 Historic Door County Map Features Lighthouse Inset

Original Door County map ... MAY be intensified a bit, Not sure.Today we are featuring our NEW 1878 Door County Wisconsin Atlas Map–it notes the location of each lighthouse at that time, all townships, villages, and sections, and a street plan for Sturgeon Bay in the upper left inset.

While the original map featured Jenny, Wisconsin (of Lincoln County), in the lower right, we have provided a list of names and construction dates for each of Door County’s Lighthouses.

Door County was named after the passage between the tip of the Penninsula and Washington Island. The French called it, “Door of the Dead,” and the English/American sailors shortened that to “Death’s Door.” Locals will notice that today’s township of Sevastopol was intended to be Sebastopol, named after a Russian town.

Our map is available as either an 11×17″ map for $24.95 or a beautiful ivory 16×20 print for $50. Both are easy-frame versions for standard-sized frames. Call 888-255-7726 to order direct from Great River Arts, or  click the SHOP link above and go to the FINE ART AMERICA link to purchase the print in every imaginable size and medium! Normal trade discounts apply to retailers.

A NEW MAP OF LAKE PEPIN on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER is now Available from Great River Arts!


“A NEW MAP OF LAKE PEPIN” by Lisa Middleton is now available for order or purchase from Great River Arts and many fine gift shops and galleries along the Mississippi River.  Our popular gift print product with label describing this map is just $28.95. Beautiful when framed!

36″ long and 8″ wide, with totally original design and illustration, this map features both historical and geographical landmarks visible to those cruising by land or river between Wabasha and Redwing.  Many islands and sloughs are named.

CLICK HERE to see a high resolution image of this map in our Art Gallery!

Please phone 888-255-7726 to make your order! We have two original paintings and signed and numbered Giclee Reproductions available as well as the Gift Prints!

Montana 1906 map used as a prop in a beautiful music video.

It started last summer.
Got a call for 2 overnight Giclees…
OH NO only 1 in stock…Had to disassemble a personal framed copy!

Then I discovered….the customer wanted them both abused, beat up and mangled!  This required special attention! They were to be a prop in a MOVIE!

OUT came the coffee grinds! OUT came the steel wool!

I rubbed them in dirt, doused them with grime, creased them outside in, inside out, upside down. Soaked them, dried them, soaked soaked again.

I was so excited and I was happy to spend the rest of the evening manhandling them.  Usually I handle the museum quality giclees with such tenderness…this felt like a violation!  Abomination!

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I woke up early the next morning and roughed them up some more and met the overnight deadline. Now months later I’m able to see the maps as props in the Music video! Great music by the way.  You can see it here.

I’m so proud!  I love the little surprises of being an artist and contributing to a larger story!

February Newsletter 2014

Welcome to our Monthly ART AT HEART Newsletter. New Maps, New Show Schedules, and so much more from Lisa Middleton. Hereafter, Newsletters will be posted under the NEWSLETTER SIGN UP button! Sign Up and be entered into the monthly raffle of an 11×14″ Easy Frame Gift Print of a hand-painted historic map by Lisa Middleton!

Welcome back from the Holidays!
I don’t know about you but I’m ready for spring!

Show Schedule!
Tell your neighbors! Tell your friends!
March 7-9 Jim Custer Spring Show, Spokane
March 21-22 Made in Montana, Helena
March 29-30 Best of the Northwest, Seattle
April 25-27: Art Under the Elms, Lewiston Idaho

New Maps!
We are welcoming some beautiful new maps to our collection!  Welcome to a beautiful New Montana and Nevada!  Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, and Iowa Territory are ON DECK!

To see my new maps as they are produced please join GRA’s Facebook
 New on You Tube! Great River Arts is NOW ON YOUTUBE!!!Every month I will be releasing one new video as an educational tool to help share the stories in our old maps. Please feel free to share this video with friends who may be interested in my historic map collection.
Please view my newest video by clicking on the link below, or right here!
To help my stats just take 1:08 minutes and please let it play all the way to the end! http://youtu.be/4P8ZlsLnOhY
I am a new feature artist on www.fineartamerica.com!
Fine art America offers our Historic map prints in multiple, easy to choose sizes, or as canvas prints, metal prints, custom note cards, and framed prints available too! Visit my page here!
New Product!  We have PHONE SKINS with Stylus and Bumper! Just $29.00!
Visit our BOOK PAGE for reviews each month of several MAP related books!

I had an interesting start to the year…I was pictured in a national magazine in January,Sunshine Artist!  The maps look great in the picture but they captioned it with the wrong name!  The Jim Custer show director Cheryl Branz called to give me the good news and bad news…and said she’d save me a place in the spring show! We are both hoping for a reprint in the March publication.  I am still secretly amazed and this is Super special to me…I hold it dear in the pockets of my heart (you know, the places where you keep pebbles and feathers and fairy dust.)                                                                 
Mom and I had a special time at the Minneapolis Marketplace at the end of January.  I’m very lucky to have such a supportive and talented mom.  We may not attend any more big shows, but we did interest a Rep to take our products to other markets.  As much as I love to go to art shows there aren’t enough of me to go around to attend as many as I’d like to! I welcome wholesale orders so the maps can be celebrated around the country.

My maps and I will be challenged by all the juried shows we’ve been accepted this year.  I have an impressive pile up the next 10 months.  Please send me your good mojo for safe travels since my shows will include Wisconsin, Utah, and the big city.

Warmest wishes for the greatest success on your journeys,

Books and notecards available for the map, steamboat, and railroad fan too!  Please visit our mothership www.greatriver.com for ideas!
and to purchase maps visit one of our shopping carts!

Copyright © 2014 Great River Arts, All rights reserved.

Great River Arts · 226 Farview Drive · Kalispell, MT 59901 · USA