Rediscovering the Steamboat Minnehaha

Al Whitaker’s photo makes us question what we really know

The steamboat Minnehaha is a classic; the romantic story of its sinking, to later be resurrected and refurbished is one we love to tell, so we may think we know all there is to know. But what happens if we get more a little more curious about the common knowledge?

We know: The steamboat is canary yellow.
Why this vivid shade? The six original steamboats were an extension of Thomas Lowry’s Twin City Rapid Transit, adding to an already huge fleet of streetcars serving the area. The steamboats were painted to match these red and yellow streetcars.

We know: The boat crew wears funny hats.
Though cute, the hats are not purely for fashion. It once again stems from the streetcar conductors, who wore similar hats. Their replication is down to the details.

We know: It’s a big boat.
Its displacement is 62,000 pounds—which is more than 190 Shaquille O’Neals, or more than 12 of Bemidji’s famed Paul Bunyan statue.

 “It’s a piece of pure Americana that has been resurrected,” says resident Al Whitaker, who snapped the fantastic photo featured here.