Following the Mississippi River from headwaters to mouth was one of our favorite trips. Along the way we found interesting sites, some with connections to south Louisiana. The Red Wing Marine Museum has some unique exhibits and one has a link to Plaquemine, LA.
The Red Wing Museum is housed in the Red Wing Waterworks Building circa 1884. The water department was housed in the building until 1962. Afterwards it was used for various things including city storage and a dog pound. In 2011 the city leased the building and after renovation it houses the Red Wing Marine Museum. During renovation, the floor was painted with a map of the local Mississippi River geography by artist Art Kenyon.
One of the major exhibits in the museum focuses on the Red Wing Motor Company who operated from 1902 to 1965. It began operation as the Red Wing Boat Manufacturing Company building fishing boats and motorboats. One of their boats won the speed record on the Mississippi in 1906. In 1910 the name was changed to Red Wing Motor Company and they began building 4-cycle Thorobred motors. In 1953 the name changed again to Red Wing Marine Corporation with an emphasis on Casa Cruiser houseboats. Some of the boats are still in operation.
A second pumping station was located in an adjacent building. Today it houses a collection of river fishing items including outboard motors and fishing tackle. It was in this building that we found a motor made by Nadler Foundry and Machine Company in Plaquemine, LA, John’s hometown. Nadler’s was a major employer in Plaquemine for many decades.
Most of the motors on display have been restored by Harry Munson. We were lucky enough to be able to visit with Mr. Munson and watch him in action.
The Mississippi River has always been a part of our lives. We found it an honor to live and work along the Mississippi. Now we find it exciting to travel from the headwaters and find a little piece of home along the way.