River Towns Historic Preservation Skilled Crafts and Manufacturing Traditions
The River Towns of southeast Minnesota are located 60 miles from the Twin Cities. Winona is an arts and cultural center with three major galleries that hold works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet that depict lakes, oceans and rivers. The Garvin Heights overlook features panoramic views of the town and Mississippi River Valley. Follow the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway to New Ulm and experience Old World German heritage through unique architecture, restaurants and shops selling German imports, from chocolates to cuckoo clocks. A traditional Glockenspiel features figures from the town’s history.
Red Wing was officially incorporated in 1857. Located in the Mississippi River Valley and flanked by rolling bluffs, the town is a leading manufacturer of leather, pottery and Red Wing Shoes. The town is named for the Native American Chief who first met a US Army Officer in 1805.
Shakea The Man Who Paints Himself Red
Tucked between bluffs and the river, Red Wing has many historic Victorian properties and farmhouses, including the St James hotel that dates to the 1880s. It overlooks the Mississippi River near the 1904 Amtrak Depot, home to an art gallery and a visitor center.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation lists Red Wing among its Distinctive Destination
The Town’s first settlers built small mills, factories, and workshops. The European immigrants were skilled craftsmen employed in tanneries, shoe-making, farm equipment, bricks, boats and furniture manufacturing. Red Wing Stoneware, was founded in 1877; it used clay from the Hay Creek area.
The Aurora Ski Club in Red Wing, founded in 1887, was one of the first ski clubs formed in North America, reflecting the sport interests of the region’s Scandinavian immigrants; the Red Wing Style ski techniques were patterned after the Telemark form.
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