The first river steamboat, WEST NEWTON, passed by here in 1853 going upriver with troops to lay out the site of Fort Ridgely. Two days later TIGER and CLARION followed with men and supplies.Sponsored by Brown County Historical Society and Victor P. Reim - 1970
For the next twenty years boats brought settlers, soldiers, freight, Indian supplies and gold to the area; the boat landing near this site was very important to New Ulm, settled in 1855.
Boats varied in size, characteristic and significance. WAVE had a melodious bell; TIME AND TIDE and JEANETTE ROBERTS arrived early in spring; FRANKLIN STEELE was 'old friend' because of the many German settlers it brought to the country. NEW ULM BELLE was protected by government issued ammunition in 1862 during Indian warfare. In 1867 CHIPPEWA unloaded the first threshing machines at New Ulm. In 1870 DEXTER loaded 24,000 bushels of wheat and transported it to St. Louis, and the HUDSON, owned by Winona St. Peter Railroad, largest boat landing here, loaded 15,000 bushels of wheat in 1871.
The OTTER made 22 trips to New Ulm in 1865 and brought in over a million pounds of supplies and lumber, and loaded over four million pounds (butter, hides, earthenware and 30,000 bushels of wheat, barley, and oats). Rebuilt as a freight barge in 1872, when the railroad reached the county, the OTTER was stranded and abandoned above New Ulm in 1878, and the last boat was gone forever from the river.