Northern Light (1857)
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Service History


The Northern Light was built in Madison, Ind., 1857. 414 tons. 240 x 40 x 5. Engines, 22's-7 ft. Eight boilers, each 46" by 17 ft. Paddlewheels 31 ft. diameter. working 9 ft. buckets, 30" dip. Came out spring 1857, Capt. Preston Lodwick... There were oil paintings of St. Anthony's Falls, Dayton Bluffs and Maiden Rock in the cabin, and paddleboxes were graced with paintings of aurora borealis. She was in the Minnesota Packet Co. Same master through 1860, running St.Louis-Galena-St. Paul.
Final Voyage


"04/11/1866: The sidewheel packet Northern Light, bound down river from LaCrosse, WI was surrounded by ice while in Coon Slough, about three miles below Brownsville,MN. At 7AM, a large "three cornered cake" of ice crushed her hull aft of the wheelhouse and the steamer sank within five minutes in 30 feet of water. Despite the speed with which the Northern Light sank, the whole crew managed to reach the barge that the steamer was towing, and all safely reached shore. In 1890, it was reported inland from the river, buried beneath strata, due to changes in the river course." Sinking dates vary: November 1865 or April 11, 1866. "Removed by the U.S.dredge Montana (CE Annual Report 1892). Removed as a hazard to navigation, not necessarily removed from the river."
© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society