What percentage of Minnesotans spend their entire lives here? The lake, of glacial origin, covers an area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 square km) and has a maximum depth of 40 feet (12 metres). It was explorer and ethnologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, however, who proposed Lake Itasca as the true source of the Mississippi in 1832. The primary source and start of the Mississippi River are Lake Itasca. Murzyn remembers learning early on that this small stream fed the mighty Mississippi River that rushed near his elementary school in northeast Minneapolis. Twitter; Facebook; Pinterest; Google Classroom; Email; Print; Credits Media Credits. The first vessel the “Chester Charles”, named after Captain Tom’s Father, was a 1970 40′ tour boat that held 55 passengers. The lake is stocked with game fish and is popular with boaters. State Parks. From the lake’s surface, which is 1,475 feet (450 metres) above sea level, the Mississippi flows southward 2,350 miles (3,780 km) to the Gulf of Mexico. As word spread, the conflicting claims required new scientific verifications. Native American legend, however, mentions I-tesk-ka, the daughter of Hiawatha, whose tears of anguish at being spirited away to the netherworld reputedly formed the source of the Mississippi. Geography. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, explorers identified a range of Minnesota lakes as potential sources, but it wasn’t until Ozaawindib, a prominent Ojibwe, led explorer Henry Schoolcraft to Lake Itasca in 1832 that Americans began calling it the Mississippi’s source. The channel of the Mississippi leaving the lake was engineered in the 1930s to make the tourist experience more exciting. Lake Itasca is a small glacial lake, approximately 1.8 square miles (4.7 km 2) in area, notable for being the headwaters of the Mississippi River.The lake is located in southeastern Clearwater County, in the Headwaters area of north central Minnesota.The lake is within Itasca State Park and it has an average depth of 20–35 feet (6–11 m), and is 1,475 ft (450 m) above sea level. The Upper Mississippi River, more than 1,300 miles long, reaches from Lake Itasca to the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River at Cairo, IL. History of Lake Itasca Tours. Individuals like surveyor Jacob Brower became captivated by the region and the wildlife that inhabited it. The 50-square-mile (130-square-km) Itasca State Park was established around the Itasca basin in 1891. Why does Minnesota tax Social Security benefits? If it’s lower, the Americans walk away with it.”. traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. Lake Itasca is the primary source of the Mississippi, and the water here flows out through the entire drainage system of the river. Lake Itasca, MN Directions {{::location.tagLine.value.text}} Sponsored Topics. It was identified in 1832 as the source of the Mississippi River. Wendell Duffield, a geologist and native Minnesotan, argues that the Minnesota River should be considered an alternative source. Visitors also enjoy wading across the shallow 18-inch deep water, crossing from the east side to the west side, where a rock dam indicates the end of Lake Itasca and the beginning of this mighty river. Subjects. Legal. It flows northwards from the lake. That could have been the end of the story, but in 1881, Willard Glazier, a self-promoting traveler, claimed Glazier Lake as the river’s source. Lake Itasca is a glacial lake which approximately measures 4.7 km 2. As a child, Edward Murzyn remembers piling into his family’s car to head Up North nearly every summer. This is an account by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) of his discovery of the Mississippi River's source, Lake Itasca, in 1832. See more. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Lake Itasca, Itasca State Park, northwestern Minnesota. He believed they were at Lake Julie north of Lake Bemidji since that source sprang from … “One is a cultural story. Omissions? One of them, Henry R. Schoolcraft, proclaimed Lake Itasca as the true source of the river in 1832. Grades. Get directions, maps, and traffic for Lake Itasca, MN. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/place/Lake-Itasca. 252 Reviews 5 Q&A. Lake Itasca, lake regarded as the main source of the Mississippi River, in Clearwater county, northwestern Minnesota, U.S. Itasca definition, a lake in N Minnesota: one of the sources of the Mississippi River. The river’s cultural story spans decades of exploration by travelers who followed the Mississippi north into Minnesota in search of its source. The beginning of the Mississippi can be seen to be interconnected with Lake Itasca. Corrections? The lake was officially identified as the river’s primary source by Henry Schoolcraft in 1832 and before that, the nearby Cass Lake was widely believed to have been the source. 1 Restaurant within 5 miles. The name “Itasca” is a combination of the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). Curious Minnesota is a community-driven project that puts readers' inquiries at the center of our reporting. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources uses the following terminology to identify watersheds on different scales: regions , subregions , basins , subbasins , watersheds and subwatersheds . The Mississippi River is protected from its headwaters at Lake Itasca in Clearwater County, to the southern boundary of Morrison County, near Little Falls. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. A stop at Lake Itasca almost always made it into their road trip itinerary. Here’s why: If you follow the Minnesota River up to Big Stone Lake, that takes you to … Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca, MN. Despite its detractors, Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers and Minnesota natives like Murzyn. Schoolcraft reinforced his claim by renaming the lake Itasca, meaning “true source.” The name combines the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). “What he had concluded is Lake Itasca is that bottommost reservoir … and that all of these other lakes and rivers do contribute water, but the ultimate source is Lake Itasca, where it pools and collects,” Cox said. “It wasn’t just an exercise in geography. French explorer Joseph Nicollet surveyed the area in 1836 and confirmed Schoolcraft’s claim. The river's channel appears much as it did when Henry Rowe Schoolcraft discovered the source in 1832. These resources are located within Itasca State Park, which encompasses Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River, and a scenic area of northern Minnesota that has remained relatively unchanged from its natural state. Itasca A lake of northwest Minnesota. All. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Schoolcraft is generally credited with having coined the name Itasca from the Latin words veritas (“truth”) and caput (“head”). Most of the area has a heavy growth of timber that includes virgin red pine, which is also Minnesota's state tree. The two even had matching Lake Itasca T-shirts. The process, which included draining of the swampy area surrounding the source, was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. That’s the latest question for Curious Minnesota, our community-driven reporting project that invites readers into the newsroom to ask questions they want answered. The park includes 157 lakes covering over 3,000 acres, as well as 27,500 acres of upland and 1,500 acres of swamp. The lake was called Omushkoz by the Indians, Lac la Biche by the French, and Elk Lake by the English. By following the Minnesota River, Duffield has traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. Giacomo Beltrami claimed to have discovered the headwaters in 1823. The other one is a science story.”. Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca: Hours, Address, Itasca State Park Reviews: 5/5. Lake Itasca is located in the southeastern region of the Clearwater County in north-central Minnesota. “There’s two parts to the answer,” said Connie Cox, the lead interpretive naturalist at Itasca State Park. As the source of the Mississippi river, Lake Itasca's drainage basin is considered a subwatershed of the entire Mississippi River basin. Why are Minnesotans the only ones to play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck? According to these definitions, the Mississippi’s source should be the Missouri or Ohio rivers, respectively. Where did the term Minnesota Nice come from, and what does it really mean? Recently while sifting through family photographs, Murzyn, now a Star Tribune reader in Fridley, began to wonder: Is Lake Itasca the true headwaters of the Mississippi River or can we trace it to another source? The fur trader William Morrison may have been the first white man to visit the lake in 1803 or 1804. Some of the red pine in Itasca are over 200 years old. Bemidji is the first city on the Mississippi. Rome2rio is a door-to-door travel information and booking engine, helping you get to and from any location in the world. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Updates? I know Lake Winnipeg is connected to the Hudson Bay, would that increase the size of the Mississippi? If you'd like to submit a Curious Minnesota question, fill out the form below: How much are electric vehicles affected by Minnesota's extreme cold? THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, FIFTH EDITION by the … Write a review. Itasca State Park hosts the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, which attracts thousands of visitors a year. Day 3: Bemidji to Lake Itasca. Lake Itasca Lake Itasca Photograph: Rocks partly dam a small river on a lake. In 1832 explorer Henry Schoolcraft, lead by his Ojibwe guide, traveled straight to Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River. The 32,000-acre park is the state’s most developed park yet also one of its most pristine. They recognized that the economic potential of northern Minnesota would change its landscape. Why isn't Isle Royale a part of Minnesota? Douglas Lodge Restaurant (86) 3.1 mi $$ - $$$ American. He had been part of a previous expedition in 1820 led by General Lewis Cass that had named nearby Debates continued until a survey revealed that the entire Itasca basin was the source of the Mississippi River, but the waters were not united as a … Schoolcraft was an Indian agent for the region, and he assembled an expeditionary party of thirty, including Ozawindib (an Ojibway guide and interpreter), an army officer, a surgeon, a geologist, and interpreter, and a missionary. So, the source of the Mississippi River is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota but what if Lake Winnipeg was the source of the Mississippi River and Lake Itasca and Lake Winnipeg were connected as a result? Stand under towering pines and visit landmarks of centuries gone by throughout the park. Why can't Minnesotans figure out how to zipper merge? Along the lakeshore in town stand the iconic statues of legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his sidekick, Babe, the Blue Ox. Still is up to dispute, but in general, Lake Itasca counts as the rivers’s source. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Brower discounted Itasca tributaries as the source because they disappeared during droughts, while Itasca had a continual flow. It is the primary source of the Mississippi River which flows 2,340 mi (3,770 km) to the Gulf of Mexico. Traveler rating. During their visits, Murzyn and his brother would race back and forth across the rocks that span the stream that flows out of the lake. Hydrologists — the people who study water and its movement — have varied interpretations of the term headwaters, said Mark Brigham, deputy director at the United States Geological Survey’s Upper Midwest Water Science Center. It is Minnesota’s first state park, and one of the oldest in the country. Emma Dill is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune. “What he had concluded is Lake Itasca is that bottommost reservoir … and that all of these other lakes and rivers do contribute water, but the ultimate source is Lake Itasca… The Itasca forest during the late nineteenth century contained towering pines and numerous lakes. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Later, explorer Joseph Nicollet verified Itasca as the source, using the era’s scientific and surveying tools. Founded in 1985 by Captain Thomas K. Coborn and Mickey Coborn, Lake Itasca Tours has made over 8,000 Naturalist Narrated boat tours to the Headwaters of the Great Mississippi River. Jacob V. Brower surveyed the area and again identified Itasca as the Mississippi’s source because of the area’s bowl-shaped topography. Were Minneapolis' skyways first created to combat the cold – or something else? His claim of Lake Itasca as the source was disputed until 1888, when Jacob Brower was sent by the Minnesota Historical Society to survey the lake. The Mississippi River at its source bears little resemblance to the mighty river it becomes, but it is nonetheless the defining feature of the landscape of northern Minnesota. It is clear that the source of the river is Lake Itasca because a large channel of the river leaves the lake. Henry Schoolcraft identified Lake Itasca as the river's primary source in 1832. How did Nicollet Island become parkland with private housing on it? Itasca State Park (508) 3.1 mi. The lake, of glacial origin, covers an area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 square km) and has a maximum depth of 40 feet (12 metres). Best nearby. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis? 1 Other Attraction within 5 miles. How did Minnesota's indigenous people survive the extreme winters? It was an international and political question,” said Patrick Coleman, an acquisitions librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society. Help. From the lake’s surface, which is 1,475 feet Like Schoolcraft, he concluded the outlet at Lake Itasca was the only one with a surface flow and volume … “There is something that just brings out the youthful joy and excitement of adventure and discovery,” Cox said about the headwaters. Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River and a scenic area of northern Minnesota, has remained relatively unchanged from its natural state. Rome2rio makes travelling from Chicago to Lake Itasca easy. “If the source of the Mississippi is up in Canada, then the Brits have control of this major highway, the Mississippi River. Established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota's oldest state park. Some geologists, however, have believed that other glacial lakes in the region also supply the headwaters of the river. Tourism. Lake Itasca, lake regarded as the main source of the Mississippi River, in Clearwater county, northwestern Minnesota, U.S. Reviews. Website +1 218-699-7251. Check flight prices and hotel availability for your visit. While some argue a river’s source should be traced to its longest tributary, others trace it to the stream that contributes the most water. Douglas Lodge Restaurant ( 86 ) 3.1 mi $ $ - $ $ $ - $ $ $... 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