INTERACTIVE RIVER MAPS

We are pleased to offer several interactive maps on greatriver.com….  Click on Blue Titles to move to the specific site, or just study the interactive map shown. All maps are constantly updated to reflect real-time activity!

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16CURRENT RIVER FLOOD ALERTS

Below is the USGS map that provides REAL TIME info on which Rivers in the US are cresting. The map below is accurate every day. Black Triangles indicate flood stage. Looking to compare stats with the Flood of 1993? CLICK HERE.

us

 


Generic picture of a barge on a river coming upon a lock
arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16Locate A Vessel By Vessel Name Or Vessel Number

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16 Click Here for a List of  Navigable Amerian Rivers

 

NAVAGATION CHARTS from USACE

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16 Click Here for Upper Mississippi River Charts. Printable page by page in .pdf format
The Upper Mississippi River Navigation Charts cover the Upper Mississippi River from the head of navigation at river mile 866 in Minneapolis, Minn., to the confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill. The navigable portions of the Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers are also included. The charts were last updated in 2011.

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16 Click Here to DOWLOAD ENTIRE UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER CHART BOOK…. 142 MG   Minneapolis/St. Paul to Cairo, IL  866 River Miles. Also the St. Croix and Minnesota Rivers. Carry it with you on your tablet or laptop computer!

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16Click here for Lower Mississippi River Charts

 

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16  Click here for Illinois Waterway Charts.
The Illinois Waterway Navigation Charts cover the Illinois Waterway from the confluence of the Illinois and Upper Mississippi Rivers to Lake Michigan at Chicago and Calumet Harbors. The charts have been updated in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16 Click here for the USGS EARTHQUAKE HAZARD MAP

http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/portals/48/docs/Nav/NavigationCharts/UMR/1Front%20Cover%20Final%20WEB%20thumb.jpg

 

 

ONE MAN’S Treasure…

by Pat Middleton © All rights reserved

Stoddard, Wis. author Pat Middleton poses in front of the riverboat the Julia Belle Swain on the river front in La Crosse, Wis. Erik Daily

 

Click BLUE LINKS with your cursor to explore or purchase historic maps from Mississippi River border states. (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and all southern states!)  Moving your cursor over the map image with allow you to STUDY the image in extreme detail.

Other stories we recommend from www.greatriver.com feature archives:
River Clams Produce Valuable Pearl


Mention treasure hunting at the River Road Cafe in Stoddard, Wis., and eyes light up all around the room.

 Kathy knows of a sheltered cave with many initials dating from the 1800s. Dean’s friend found a scrimshaw whale’s tooth inscribed with the word “Dakota.” Randy knows of a ring valued at $1,500 found with a metal detector.

Perhaps it is a case where “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but for the last 2500-3000 years the Mississippi River Valley has supported intense human activity. This makes it a particularly historic area, rich in Indian relics. Additionally, relics from the French, English, Spanish and American adventurers who have explored the area since the 1600s are still being found today. Antiques from the first settlers, dating back to the 1760s, are sought by dealers from throughout the country. All of this adds up to great prospecting for the treasure-hunting hobbyists using metal detectors who are active in the area.

Roger Toner (not his real name) owns a snowmobile/cycle shop in the La Crosse area, but his real love for the last 15 years has been treasure hunting. Roger suggests that most hobbyists go “shooting” with metal detectors much as another individual goes fishing – for relaxation.

A good find is an old coin, a bit of jewelry, an iron relic or an Indian artifact. The success of a hunter will likely depend less on luck than on the amount of time spent researching his sites and how well he can use the metal detector.

The big questions for the would-be searcher might be: where to start looking? what equipment will I need? what sort of treasures can I realistically expect to find?

For Roger, the hunt usually starts while snow is covering the ground.

“I find it much easier to visualize how soldiers or hunters might have used the land when all I have to study is the smooth snow-covered earth,” he says. “I think to myself that a particular hump looks out of place or especially convenient. Or that this high flat bench might have made a good camp ground. Then I come back to search in the spring when the frost has forced new artifacts to the surface.”

Some of Roger’s best finds have come while “puddling” in the mud of a river bend. “Again, I work in the spring. The water and mud are very cold, but I’ve found perfectly preserved tomahawks, still wrapped in mayan idol fix
leather. A green stone figure I found has been certified as a Mayan carving in jade.”

The United States Treasure Atlas by Tom Terry provides an introduction to the places treasures are most likely to be found and makes available the data from his years of treasure-hunting research. Reputed treasure sites and ghost towns are listed on a county-by-county basis for each state. A quick glance at any river valley county listings is likely to be enough to whet the appetite of the most cynical.

Old state and county maps are also available in our Shopping Cart Wisconsin 1880 which will indicate old roadways, railroad beds and ghost towns. Terry suggests these historic roadways as preferable to modern roads as it is far more likely that valuable coins and relics may be found. Modern parks and roadsides often contain more trash than treasures.

CLICK HERE to explore or purchase our 1847 WISCONSIN State Map

 

unframed ribbonThe library and reference librarians are also helpful in tracking down local histories and out-of-print books that might provide the serious seeker with leads. Old newspaper stories provide leads on some of the earliest caches. An article from 1909, for example, details a search of bluffs and s
horelines for a money cache dating from the 1700s thought to be buried near present-day Osceola, Wisconsin, after English adventurer William Snow was attacked by French soldiers. The cache was not
recovered.

CLICK HERE to learn more about historic Mississippi River Ribbon Maps.

Native artifacts are abundant along the Mississippi River shores of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.Government forts were established in the early 1800s along the entire length of the Upper Mississippi River. Riverboat captains, soldiers, pioneers, adventurers and traders traveling between the forts often carried large sums of gold or silver coins for payroll or trading purposes, as well as supplies.

The Upper Mississippi River valley is rumored to be heavy with the unrecovered treasure caches of river pirates, gypsies and horse thieves. Indian hostility was rampant until the Battle of Bad Axe north of Prairie du Chien ended the Black Hawk War in 1832. Upon attack (whether from Indian, outlaw or river pirate) valuables were hidden to avoid theft. Often, the transporter was killed and there remained no one who knew just where the treasure had been buried. Victims might be left too short-handed to retrieve the valuables, or natural disasters occurred, such as flood, earth slide or memory lapse.

According to the United States Treasure Atlas, rumors persist that $80,000 was buried in 1832 “on the highest bluff across from Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in four piles of $20,000 each” during an Indian attack. The soldiers who buried the treasure were ambushed before returning. The treasure was never recovered.

Treasure hunting along the MN, IA, WI shores.

Buried money, jewelry and other treasures are likely to be found wherever people lived; banks were often far away and distrusted. An old home foundation might conceal a “private” bank in the floorboards, or savings might be stashed in a nearby fence posthole or a tin can beside the silo. Dollar bills have been sewn into and under carpets, into linen, drapery, stuffed behind wall-boards and under floorboards and in false air ducts.

Steamboat Map of Illinois 1841The steamboat era has left many relics along the Wisconsin and Illinois shores of the Mississippi River. The great wooden boats that changed the course of commercial history along the Mississippi had a life expectancy of only five years and usually met with an untimely end in sudden fires or sinkings.

CLICK HERE to study the 1849 STEAMBOAT MAP of ILLINOIS with Steamboat stops, proposed Canals, and Roads.

Steamboat wrecks have provided authorized divers with a steady stream of antiques, relics and personal belongings. The prized safes from many wrecks remain unrecoverable, including the War Eagle safe off the riverfront in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Coins found with metal detector.According to Roger Toner a typical treasure
hunt (say in a small cave) would involve the following steps: 1) Take photos of the site before doing any searching. Often things can be seen in the photo which are not apparent to the eye. 2) Use a metal detector to pinpoint any possible coins, jewelry, iron relics. A fork or other very small tool might be used to find the item. A whiskbroom and sifter might be used to search for other relics. If anything of interest is located, make detailed notes of where it was found, as one good find usually means more to come.

Tools other than metal detectors are inexpensive: a fork for making small holes, a sifter, a whisk broom and a probe that looks similar to a giant hatpin. Note that a shovel is not standard equipment. Too often a shovel will simply damage the fragile relic.

The cardinal rule among treasure hunters is get permission before searching on any private or public land. State parks and monuments, national parks and sites and some local parks and monuments are off limits to seekers with metal detectors, as are state-and federally-owned property under the protection of the conservation departments, the Army Corps of Engineers, wildlife refuges, etc. Written permission must be obtained from authorities before removing any relics.

Today’s treasure hunter is made from the same mold as the prospector of old. He or she is a dreamer, an optimist, full of curiosity and appreciation for things past. The thrill is in the search, the chance that the next find will be the big one. Like the gambler, he develops an “itch” to try out the next hot spot.

Roger would rather talk about his hobby than anything else. Terry has been sharing his knowledge with others for the past 10 years. Our farm was settled in 1858 – and I can’t wait for the ground to thaw!

Our brand new Upper Mississippi River travel guidebook, Discover! America’s Great River Road, Volumes 1-4 by Mississippi River author and lecturer, Pat Middleton.

 The brand new Upper Mississippi River travel guidebook, Discover! America's Great River Road is the indispensible guidebook to the Upper Mississippi River ... heritage, natural history and recreation. Since 1987!

 

“Orma Remembers Nelson, Wisconsin”
(excerpted from Volume 1 of DISCOVER! America’s Great River Road
woodingup_074_0001

“The bluffs were full of caves and I remember wiggling through some of them on my stomach, they were that small. I know people spoke of rattlesnakes, but I never saw one. There was a rumor of treasure buried by soldiers in the bluffs. Often, people just went up and dug around in their spare time hoping to find it. I never heard that any treasure was ever found.”
Click here to see ALL our books and antique maps featuring the historic Mississippi River.

Discover the Historic Mississippi River Ribbon Map

Ribbon Map of the entire Mississippi,
including Lake Glazier, MN.  1887
Drawn by Willard Glazier

This ribbon map was drawn by Captain Willard Glazier to “prove” his premise that the True Source of the Mississippi was Lake Glazier rather than Lake Itasca. Many modern-day towns are included in this survey, including Point Coupee in Louisiana. Many towns noted on the map…such as Waterproof… no longer exist!

 

“Mississippi
River Ribbon Maps”

from an article by Bob Mullen, for The Paddlewheel newsletter. 

Imagine a map of the Mississippi River that shows all of the cities and towns along the river and all the landings where a steamboat might stop. Make the map about three inches wide and in one continuous strip showing the entire river from the Gulf of Mexico to its source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. If you imagined correctly, you would have a map that is about eleven feet in length, like a long streamer or ribbon. Now roll up the map to a couple of inches in diameter and put into a cylindrical container that can easily fit into your pocket!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE 1887 RIBBON MAP

Such maps do exist. In 1866, Myron Coloney and Sidney B. Fairchild patented and published a map like this in St. Louis. In 1887, explorer Willard Glazier produced another ribbon map that included a lake he called Lake Willard, which he believed was the TRUE source of the Mississippi River. The 1866 map was sold commercially in St. Louis and along the river for a number of years. The maps were housed in a wooden cylinder with a rounded wooden cap at each end. On the side, a slot was cut where the map could be pulled out to give people a way to grasp it when pulling the map from its case. The patent granted the inventors was for  “the idea or design ofmaps upon strips of any material,” as stated on the map itself. Glazier’s 1877 map was folded and printed with the guide to his canoe trip from Lake Willard in Minnesota to the Gulf. It includes most of the river villages we know today, as well as many which have since been washed away by Mississippi River flooding.

These maps both show considerable detail, but could never be used by a steamboat pilot for serious navigation. The river was much to complicated with islands, tricky bends, wing dams, and other obstacles to fit on a map like this. The ribbon map must have been made for the tourist or other traveler on the river who had enough expendable money to pay for such a souvenir. While the boat’s pilot had a detailed map to follow (often only in his memory), these ribbon maps served the traveler with a way to keep track of the boat’s progress on a long trip. It even pointed out a few points of interest. A notice in the July 10, 1866 Missouri Republican stated, “To the traveler, it will be an exciting guide and companion, and will furnish him with more information at a glance than he can secure from a constant questioning of the officers of the boat… to say nothing of avoiding a short answer from, or an immensity of annoyance to, these monarchs of our Mississippi River palaces.”

Only a handful of original ribbon maps exist today, scattered in museums across the country. The Smithsonian has one and the Missouri Historical Society of Missouri owns three Mississippi River ribbon maps. Each of these is extremely fragile and can no longer be handled. One of the maps at MHS is about eight inches wide, and has all the detail a riverboat pilot would need. Housed in a larger wooden box with a glass window, the map winds from a roll on one side of the window to a box on the other side of the window. The map in the window only shows an area some 30-40 miles… new scrolls could be set in place as the pilot traveled the length of the river.

In the 140 years since the first ribbon map appeared, nearly every one has disappeared. The Willard Glazier Reproduction here on www.greatriver.com is the only ribbon map we know of that is still available for sale to the public. Each map is either hand-stained to a sepia tone and parchment feel or is exquisitely hand-painted for framing.

Click here to see ALL of our beautiful antique Mississippi River maps online. Email or phone 888-255-7726 for more information!!

5×7″ notecards with portions of the painted maps are available for $4.95 each. Call for information or to request a certain map portion that is meaningful to you.

Please click here to visit our online Shopping Cart, or Phone 888-255-7726 to Order.
Return to top of page        Return to Map Order Page       Return to www.greatriver.com

Shantyboat Adventure on the Upper Mississippi River

I have been following a modern-day shantyboat adventure that will interest many of our readers!Shantyboat-Guys-Pano-1440x400 Wes Modes has been working diligently for more than a year to organize and implement his effort to document more of the history and personal stories of people who live along the river. Wes has been traveling south through the Upper Mississippi, blogging his “Secret History of American River People.” His most recent entries include Dubuque, IA
See more here: http://peoplesriverhistory.us

We have also published an authentic shantyboat adventure online dating from the 1930s by CARL FRANSON.
Enjoy that story here… http://www.greatriver.com/2ndage/index.html

Tell Your NW Neighbors, Tell Your Friends

If you have friends in the Northwest, this is a good time to let them know about Lisa Middleton’s historic map paintings. Lisa is beginning her national show schedule in Montana/Washington/Colorado. Her Updated show schedule can always be seen at www.greatriverarts.com

See and purchase more than 100 of Lisa Middleton’s hand-painted historic maps online at www.etsy.com/shop/greatriverpublishing!

BIRDS!!!!!

Another great update from Dan Jackson, La Crosse, WI. I will add that I saw my first hummer this morning!

Nice Vertical Hummer

The floodgates opened over the weekend when the winds changed to come from the south and bird migration really increased. Many new species were reported in the area including Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Grey Catbirds, Baltimore Orioles, Shorebirds, Vireos, and about 10 species of Warblers. The next couple of weeks should be wild!!

Steve Houdek reported a huge flock of shorebirds north of Winona:

For the traveler- hundreds of shorebirds (maybe 500+) present at Whitewater Wildlife Management Area about 15 miles north of Winona and 2-3 miles west on MN Hwy 74… This included both Yellowlegs, Pectoral, Least and other Sandpipers…area is drawn down and burned…lots of excellent mud flat

I also had a nice diversity of shorebirds at a pond on the north side of Hwy 162 between Stoddard and Chaseburg (opposite Wing Hollow Road). This included both Yellowlegs, Pectoral, Least & Spotted Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalarope and Snipe, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Killdeer. There are lots of mudflats at Goose Island and many shorebirds were seen there too!!

This is a great time to get out and enjoy the birds!

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Spring Migration of TUNDRA SWANS was Huge!

My observation this year is that the spring migration of Tundra Swans represented a truly significant population moving north up the river. Viewing from the Wisconsin side of the river, swans were visible in great numbers against the Minnesota bluffs. I didn’t get over to Brownsville this year, but the viewing must have been excellent. In the first many years, the swans moved through in small clusters, often barely noticeable. No longer!!

April 18, Free Trip into Louisiana’s Bayou Teche NWR

Contact: Donovan Garcia (337) 923-9718
needtopaddle@yahoo.com

Experience all the flora and fauna of the Cajun Coast first hand!

FRANKLIN, LA – Free guided tours aboard motorized boats into the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge are being held April 18, 2015 for the Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival.

Tours will be guided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Friends of Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge.

Advanced reservations the day of the event are required. Registration will be at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tent set up in Historic Downtown Franklin. Please register early at the tent as trips fill quickly.

Groups will be limited in size for optimal viewing experience. Tour times are 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Trips may be cancelled due to weather.