Skip to main content

Mississippi River steamboat prepares for return

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A non-profit group is set to once again fire up the century-old engines of the steamboat, Julia Belle Swain.

The La Crosse Tribune reportsSave the Julia Belle Swain has raised enough money to buy the sternwheeler that has sat dormant near the city for the past five years. The group must now raise as much as $1 million to restore the vessel and resume cruises along the river that mostly likely includes a stop in Winona.

The city approved a request to return the Julia Belle on display in La Crosse's Riverside Park this fall while the work is being done.

The boat was built in 1971 utilizing engines from near the turn of the last century. It operated on the river for years before it was shuttered during the downturn in the economy. The Julia Belle Swain was one of the dwindling handful of steamships left on the river. It was smaller and swifter than some other counterparts, such as the Delta Queen. One steamboat enthusiast managed to get a video of it in action before it was mothballed.

Next Up

Brandon Gardas

St. Michael standoff suspect charged, bail set at $10 million

A judge on Monday set the high bail due to "very significant concerns of public safety" regarding Brandon Gardas.


Minnesota's premier trauma center housed at HCMC

The Minneapolis center is nationally recognized in pediatric trauma

Crisp & Green

Crisp & Green opening 13th store in Twin Cities in July

The fast-casual salad and grains restaurant has exploded onto the food scene.

FLickr - Target Field 2019 - mark grabe

Twins to host post-game concert with country star at Target Field

Country singer Cole Swindell is expected to perform for up to 75 minutes after the conclusion of the Blue Jays-Twins contest.


Canton Restaurant closes after nearly 40 years in Burnsville

It's the end of an era in the Twin Cities restaurant world.

Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 12.47.20 PM

Luck strikes in Minnesota: lottery winners in Duluth, Grand Marais

The North Shore just so happened to be a lucky place to be this past weekend.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, June 27

BA.5 is expected to become the dominant subvariant in Minnesota.

police lights squad car

60-year-old woman arrested after firing shots inside Spicer home

SWAT evacuated nearby residents during the incident.

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line booked to play at the Minnesota State Fair

The band is the second country music act to be booked this year.


First case of monkeypox confirmed in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health says the risk to the public is "considered low" at this time.


Kayakers rescued from Mississippi River

Two kayakers, ages 16 and 21, were rescued Tuesday after they lost control of their kayaks in the fast-moving Mississippi River and ended up yelling for help on an island in Sauk Rapids near St. Cloud.

Shipping season begins on Mississippi River

The Pioneer Press reports the first towboat and seven barges, headed to St. Paul, traveled through Red Wing and Hastings Saturday to mark the start of the season. The average opening is March 20.

Mississippi River low-water mark is a concern for shippers

The drought that's squeezing trade on the lower part of the Mississippi River is threatening to force barge lines to lighten cargos in Minnesota if it doesn't rain more soon, the Star Tribune reports.