The Mississippi River Field Guide gathers historical fact and folklore, information about ecology, natural history, and industry, and tips for the river explorer or recreationalist. Browse this site for interesting and fun facts about the Twin Cities area or use it as a guide for your own river adventure.
Coverage on this website begins at the Coon Rapids Dam in the northwestern Twin Cities. This dam is about 866 miles upriver from the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, at Cairo, Illinois. That confluence point is considered the beginning of the "Upper Mississippi River," and is the 0 mile marker for boats traveling the river north of Cairo. Points of interest are located geographically along a graphical representation of the river and include sites throughout the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan area. Coverage ends in Hastings, Minnesota, 814 miles upriver from Cairo, Illinois.
When browsing through the field guide, you may notice some coding in addition to the river mile markers mentioned above. "LDB" stands for "Left Descending Bank", and refers to the left side of the river if you were traveling downstream, toward the Gulf of Mexico. Similarly, "RDB" stand for "Right Descending Bank."
Historical, cultural, regional and environmental concerns are prevalent within the entries. A list of areas of "significance" is included for each site, and our Search page allows you to search by these categories.
This website was created by Friends of the Mississippi River to highlight the information collected and edited by Stephen Lee, a local historian and river enthusiast. Matthew Lee, a Library and Information Science graduate student at the College of St. Catherine, developed prototypes of the site to give form to Steven's vision of a web-based guide which served as a model for this version.