Minnesota's Titanic: New film will document Sea Wing disaster


Two Minnesotans are in the process of making a documentary recounting the 1890 tragedy that has been dubbed "Minnesota's Titanic."

The Sea Wing, a paddle-wheeler, was typically used to move logs on the Mississippi River. But on July 13, 1890, it was being used as an excursion boat to take people from Red Wing to Lake City to visit National Guard troops at their summer encampment at Camp Lakeview. It hit a wave and over turned on Lake Pepin, killing 98 people, who were mostly young adults.

It was one of the worst shipping disasters in American history, but few people in Minnesota even know it happened, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.

That's why Fred Johnson, of Inver Grove Heights, and Ben Threinen, of Lake City, are producing a 30-minute documentary to raise awareness about the Sea Wing.

For the documentary, Threinen will handle the visusals while Johnson narrates. The Lake City High School band will provide the background music – they'll play songs that may have been played by the band aboard the Sea Wing during the accident, the newspaper reports.

Johnson is also updating his 1986 book about the Sea Wing. The duo hopes to have both the book and documentary out at the same time, a few weeks before the 124th anniversary of the disaster, the newspaper says.

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