Learning History in Siouxland, about The Bertrand, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

20 Dec

This fall I made my first visit to the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in Siouxland near Missouri Valley which actually straddles two states, Iowa and Nebraska, on either side of the Missouri River.

Besides information and space dedicated to wildlife and migrating birds, the refuge also had an exhibit about an excavated sternwheeler boat, The Bertrand.

Information about the steamboat Bertrand and its history and recovery at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A replica of the steamboat Bertrand on display with recovered artifacts at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

According to information on site The Bertrand was just an ordinary boat hauling supplies northward up the Missouri River from St. Louis to the Montana territory during the mid-1860’s, got stuck in the river and sank. No one was killed. And many boats wrecked in the river during the 1800’s as they carried supplies north into new territory. Much later in the 1980’s two Nebraskans decided to find the ship and excavate items on board at the time of the ship’s sinking, which was basically everyday items people in the 1800’s were using as they went about their everyday chores.

Recovered artifacts from the steamboat Bertrand which sank in the Missouri River in the 1800’s at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Recovered artifacts from the steamboat Bertrand, a supply boat with passengers, which sank in the Missouri River in the 1800’s at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It’s a fascinating exhibit and gives a really good look into life at that point in history. I always find int refreshing when I can learn something new about an area I am living in or near, and understand more about what earlier settlers’ lives entailed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

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