Equator (1853)
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Service History


The stern-wheel steam paddle boat Equator was built in 1853 in Beaver, Pa. The steamer was on the Upper Mississippi from 1855-1856 running out of St. Paul and on the Minnesota River in 1857. In the spring of 1858 the vessel was plying on the St. Croix River between Prescott and St. Croix Falls.
Final Voyage


In the spring of 1859 there was a celebration at Stillwater, Minnesota and as was customary an excursion was organized at Hastings and Prescott to attend. Approximately three-hundred people crowded onto the sternwheel steamer Equator in order to make the trip. At about 3 pm May 26, 1859, the steamer Equator left Prescott for Stillwater, Minnesota. Above Afton, the wind increased to a gale and, according to Merrick, the Equator's sternwheel became disabled, when the port eccentric rod broke, leaving the vessel powerless. Wallowing in the troughs of the waves, the Equator was blown ashore on the Wisconsin side of the lake about five miles below Hudson Wis., and according to Merrick in 1909, "her bones are there today."
The Equator is located in the St. Croix River 16 to 17 miles above the Mississippi River; SCR Mile 16 to 17.

"We went to the wreck in the morning, and found it in shallow water, but in such shape that there is little hope of saving anything but the furniture and machinery." Prescott Transcript 5/28/1859
© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society