252 Reviews 5 Q&A. Later, explorer Joseph Nicollet verified Itasca as the source, using the era’s scientific and surveying tools. It is Minnesota’s first state park, and one of the oldest in the country. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. The Itasca forest during the late nineteenth century contained towering pines and numerous lakes. Readers then vote on which query we should investigate — and Murzyn’s was the winner of a recent round. There are several tributaries that flow (most or all of the year) into the lake, one of which, by most modern definitions, as with the Nile River and Amazon River, would be considered the actual source, though less dramatic than the lake's outflow. Why hasn't Minnesota ever produced a U.S. president? Itasca definition, a lake in N Minnesota: one of the sources of the Mississippi River. Itasca State Park hosts the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, which attracts thousands of visitors a year. 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. 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. Rome2rio makes travelling from Chicago to Lake Itasca easy. “There’s two parts to the answer,” said Connie Cox, the lead interpretive naturalist at Itasca State Park. 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? It is clear that the source of the river is Lake Itasca because a large channel of the river leaves the lake. Lake Itasca is located in the southeastern region of the Clearwater County in north-central Minnesota. “There is something that just brings out the youthful joy and excitement of adventure and discovery,” Cox said about the headwaters. Reviews. Stand under towering pines and visit landmarks of centuries gone by throughout the park. Corrections? 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. They recognized that the economic potential of northern Minnesota would change its landscape. He believed they were at Lake Julie north of Lake Bemidji since that source sprang from … Lake Itasca, lake regarded as the main source of the Mississippi River, in Clearwater county, northwestern Minnesota, U.S. Henry Schoolcraft identified Lake Itasca as the river's primary source in 1832. In other words, while Lake Itasca is the Mississippi’s cultural source, Duffield makes a case that the Minnesota River and the tiny town of Veblen, S.D., is the river’s geologic source. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Lake Itasca is a glacial lake which approximately measures 4.7 km 2. Some of the red pine in Itasca are over 200 years old. Website +1 218-699-7251. 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. 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. Help. Jacob V. Brower surveyed the area and again identified Itasca as the Mississippi’s source because of the area’s bowl-shaped topography. Established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota's oldest state park. Lake Itasca is the primary source of the Mississippi, and the water here flows out through the entire drainage system of the river. The channel of the Mississippi leaving the lake was engineered in the 1930s to make the tourist experience more exciting. Some geologists, however, have believed that other glacial lakes in the region also supply the headwaters of the river. This is an account by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) of his discovery of the Mississippi River's source, Lake Itasca, in 1832. The river’s cultural story spans decades of exploration by travelers who followed the Mississippi north into Minnesota in search of its source. It is the primary source of the Mississippi River which flows 2,340 mi (3,770 km) to the Gulf of Mexico. 1 Restaurant within 5 miles. It was an international and political question,” said Patrick Coleman, an acquisitions librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society. traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, FIFTH EDITION by the … The river's channel appears much as it did when Henry Rowe Schoolcraft discovered the source in 1832. Still is up to dispute, but in general, Lake Itasca counts as the rivers’s source. Traveler rating. French explorer Joseph Nicollet surveyed the area in 1836 and confirmed Schoolcraft’s claim. It was explorer and ethnologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, however, who proposed Lake Itasca as the true source of the Mississippi in 1832. What percentage of Minnesotans spend their entire lives here? Get directions, maps, and traffic for Lake Itasca, MN. He had been part of a previous expedition in 1820 led by General Lewis Cass that had named nearby The fur trader William Morrison may have been the first white man to visit the lake in 1803 or 1804. “If the source of the Mississippi is up in Canada, then the Brits have control of this major highway, the Mississippi River. The lake is stocked with game fish and is popular with boaters. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Itasca State Park (508) 3.1 mi. 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. How did Nicollet Island become parkland with private housing on it? Where did the term Minnesota Nice come from, and what does it really mean? Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis? Despite its detractors, Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers and Minnesota natives like Murzyn. 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. 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). 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. The other one is a science story.”. Lake Itasca, lake regarded as the main source of the Mississippi River, in Clearwater county, northwestern Minnesota, U.S. The park includes 157 lakes covering over 3,000 acres, as well as 27,500 acres of upland and 1,500 acres of swamp. All. 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 … It was identified in 1832 as the source of the Mississippi River. If it’s lower, the Americans walk away with it.”. Updates? As a child, Edward Murzyn remembers piling into his family’s car to head Up North nearly every summer. Like Schoolcraft, he concluded the outlet at Lake Itasca was the only one with a surface flow and volume … Why can't Minnesotans figure out how to zipper merge? The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources uses the following terminology to identify watersheds on different scales: regions , subregions , basins , subbasins , watersheds and subwatersheds . Lake Itasca, MN Directions {{::location.tagLine.value.text}} Sponsored Topics. 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. 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? By following the Minnesota River, Duffield has traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. I know Lake Winnipeg is connected to the Hudson Bay, would that increase the size of the Mississippi? Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. 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. Individuals like surveyor Jacob Brower became captivated by the region and the wildlife that inhabited it. Wendell Duffield, a geologist and native Minnesotan, argues that the Minnesota River should be considered an alternative source. Tourism. “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… 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. The beginning of the Mississippi can be seen to be interconnected with Lake Itasca. Legal. The origin of the present name is obscure. The Itasca basin was made a state park in 1891, before logging could destroy all the virgin timber, and it has preserved a wilderness character, with stately … As word spread, the conflicting claims required new scientific verifications. It flows northwards from the lake. Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River and a scenic area of northern Minnesota, has remained relatively unchanged from its natural state. In 1832 explorer Henry Schoolcraft, lead by his Ojibwe guide, traveled straight to Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River. Day 3: Bemidji to Lake Itasca. History of Lake Itasca Tours. “It’s just hard to describe for each individual person, but it does have some magic to it.”. Subjects. Brower discounted Itasca tributaries as the source because they disappeared during droughts, while Itasca had a continual flow. The 50-square-mile (130-square-km) Itasca State Park was established around the Itasca basin in 1891. Walk across the mighty Mississippi as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. From the lake’s surface, which is 1,475 feet The first vessel the “Chester Charles”, named after Captain Tom’s Father, was a 1970 40′ tour boat that held 55 passengers. Best nearby. 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. Itasca A lake of northwest Minnesota. As the source of the Mississippi river, Lake Itasca's drainage basin is considered a subwatershed of the entire Mississippi River basin. The 32,000-acre park is the state’s most developed park yet also one of its most pristine. Geography. The name “Itasca” is a combination of the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). Rome2rio is a door-to-door travel information and booking engine, helping you get to and from any location in the world. Schoolcraft is generally credited with having coined the name Itasca from the Latin words veritas (“truth”) and caput (“head”). “One is a cultural story. Why does Minnesota tax Social Security benefits? Write a review. Bemidji is the first city on the Mississippi. “It wasn’t just an exercise in geography. One of them, Henry R. Schoolcraft, proclaimed Lake Itasca as the true source of the river in 1832. 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? The lake was called Omushkoz by the Indians, Lac la Biche by the French, and Elk Lake by the English. Douglas Lodge Restaurant (86) 3.1 mi $$ - $$$ American. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Emma Dill is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune. 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. Omissions? 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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Along the lakeshore in town stand the iconic statues of legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his sidekick, Babe, the Blue Ox. Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca, MN. Lake Itasca Lake Itasca Photograph: Rocks partly dam a small river on a lake. Curious Minnesota is a community-driven project that puts readers' inquiries at the center of our reporting. 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). Twitter; Facebook; Pinterest; Google Classroom; Email; Print; Credits Media Credits. A stop at Lake Itasca almost always made it into their road trip itinerary. Rainfall that occurs here eventually, over a period of three months, winds its way down the river to the Gulf of Mexico on a lazy but impressive 2,320 mile (3,730 kilometer) journey. The two even had matching Lake Itasca T-shirts. State Parks. Giacomo Beltrami claimed to have discovered the headwaters in 1823. 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. See more. Today, the park totals more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. Find all the transport options for your trip from Chicago to Lake Itasca right here. 1 Other Attraction within 5 miles. Murzyn remembers learning early on that this small stream fed the mighty Mississippi River that rushed near his elementary school in northeast Minneapolis. Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca: Hours, Address, Itasca State Park Reviews: 5/5. Listen and subscribe to our podcast: Via Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher. Were Minneapolis' skyways first created to combat the cold – or something else? This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/place/Lake-Itasca. 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. The primary source and start of the Mississippi River are Lake Itasca. Check flight prices and hotel availability for your visit. The Mississippi River is protected from its headwaters at Lake Itasca in Clearwater County, to the southern boundary of Morrison County, near Little Falls. 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. Grades. According to these definitions, the Mississippi’s source should be the Missouri or Ohio rivers, respectively. How did Minnesota's indigenous people survive the extreme winters? “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. The process, which included draining of the swampy area surrounding the source, was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Most of the area has a heavy growth of timber that includes virgin red pine, which is also Minnesota's state tree. Schoolcraft reinforced his claim by renaming the lake Itasca, meaning “true source.” The name combines the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). Why isn't Isle Royale a part of Minnesota? Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers. 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