Photo courtesy of John R. Russett, Republican Eagle
Our Local Water Story
Red Wing is located on the Mississippi River in the heart of the Blufflands region of southeastern Minnesota and the Driftless Area. Goodhue County is home to the Prairie Island Indian Community and the Mdewakanton band of Dakota, whose name means “born of the waters.” For millennia, the Cannon River has been a primary route for communication and movement between the northern Mississippi Valley and the prairies. These rivers not only provided travel routes, but their proximity to Lake Pepin provided an enormous concentration of resources in a highly localized area. The same system of rivers that drew native peoples to the area also drew major industry following the Civil War. Hydro-powered mills and regular river steamer service on the Mississippi between St. Paul and St. Louis ushered in the era of “King Wheat.” Red Wing stoneware and pottery manufactures have relied on extensive limestone deposits left behind by ancient oceans. In 1938, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built Lock and Dam Number 3, subsequently flooding Prairie Island land, including burial mounds, and creating a larger floodplain. In 1973, Xcel Energy began operating a nuclear power generating plant on Prairie Island and now stores spent nuclear fuel in dry cask storage containers. European agricultural practices have contributed to increased sediment in water bodies, stream bank erosion, and the chemicals from fertilizers have affected the ecosystem and water quality. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking threatens local waterways. Red Wing boasts a long lineage of individuals and groups devoted to water stewardship, conservation, and activism who are engaging the public to improve the quality of area waterways for generations to come.
A new, local exhibit will make its debut at the Goodhue County Historical Society during Water/Ways. Local partners including the City of Red Wing, the Lake City Historical Society, the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, and community watershed organizations will help shape the exhibit's narrative. Visitors will learn how the Red Wing area's water bodies have influenced local culture and will be empowered to become stewards of their own waterways.
Photo courtesy of the Goodhue County Historical Society
Events & Activities
September 29, 1-3 p.m. — A Taste of History: Beer Brewing in Red Wing Through the Years, Red Wing Brewery
October 1, 4-6 p.m. — WaterTalks at the Saint James Hotel, WaterTalks is a TEDtalk-style program that features speakers from a variety of backgrounds that interact with water and will be followed by a brief Q & A session. WaterTalks attendees will receive a special discount to The River performance.
October 1, 7:30 p.m. — The River, The Sheldon Theater, A string quartet performance by ETHEL and joined by Robert Mirabel, a Grammy-award winning Native American musician and artist.
October 2, 12:30-1:30 p.m. — Water/Ways Opening Ceremony, Goodhue County Historical Society, Red Wing. Celebrate the opening of the Red Wing Water/Ways exhibit.
October 2, 1-5 p.m. — Free Family Fun Day: Water/Ways, Zumbro Zoe, and Water Tables! Goodhue County Historical Society and the Zumbro River Watershed Partnership
October 6 — Introductory Rain Garden Workshop, Cannon River Watershed Partnership and the University of Minnesota-Extension Master Gardners, at the Goodhue County Historical Society
October 8-9 —Turn Trash to Treasure at the Red Wing Arts Festival, Downtown Redi Wing 50th Annual Arts Fall Festival of the Arts
October 13 — Advanced Rain Garden Workshop, Cannon River Watershed Partnership and the University of Minnesota-Extension Master Gardners, at the Goodhue County Historical Society
October 15 — Walk into Local History: Walking the Jordan Creek, City Hall, Red Wing. Tours depart at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
October 16, 2 p.m. — A Tale of Three River Towns: Winona, Read's Landing, and Red Wing, Wabasha County Historical Society
October 18, 6 p.m. — A Tale of Three River Towns: Winona, Read's Landing, and Red Wing, Goodhue County Historical Society
October 19, 12-1 p.m. — History Break: Dr. Colette Hyman discusses Dakota Women's Work and the Mississippi River Connection, Goodhue County Historical Society
October 20, 6 p.m. — Habitat Restoration for Streambanks and Shorelines: A Guided Discussion, Goodhue County Historical Society
October 22, 9 a.m. — Habitat Restoration for Streambanks and Shorelines: Hands-on Workshop, Villa Maria Retreat Center, Frontenac
October 25, 6-7:30 p.m. — "What's Important in the Food Web of the Upper Mississippi River?" featuring Dr. Michael Long, Goodhue County Historical Society
October 29, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. — Water Plant Tours, Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant, Red Wing
November 1, 6-7:30 p.m. — The National Eagle Center at the Goodhue County History Center, Goodhue County Historical Society, Hear from experts about the life of nearby eagles and the critical role they play in the Upper Mississippi River ecosystem.
November 1-13 — Find Your Way: A student-led companion exhibition at Red Wing High School
November 3, 6-8 p.m. — Free Documentary Screening of "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story", Goodhue County Historical Society
November 5, 1-4 p.m. — 2016 Water Summit at the Anderson Center, Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Red Wing
November 6 — Free Family Fun Day: Native Skywatchers Workshop and Hands-on Water Tables, Goodhue County Historical Society
November 9 — Shaped by Water: Minnesota State College-Southeast Explores Water/Ways, Goodhue County Historical Society
Water/Ways in the Community. Companion displays will be at certain locations throughout Red Wing, including the Red Wing Public Library, the Saint James Hotel, and the Red Wing Arts Association Depot. Each display will reflect that organization’s relationship with water. The Saint James Hotel will also offer special Water/Ways-themed menu items, and will provide a shuttle service to the Water/Ways exhibit at the Goodhue County History Center for its patrons.
Additional Events and Activities, to be scheduled
Many other Water/Ways events will be in the area, including: a Shoreline Restoration Workshop at Villa Maria and accompanying program at the Goodhue County Historical Society, a Rain Garden class taught by Master Gardeners, and special presentations on the history and sacred nature of local water sources.
For complete event details, please visit goodhuecountyhistory.org/events