As we traveled through Minnesota past the town of Brainerd, we stopped at the Crow Wing State Park.
We were really impressed with this park as it was clean and has been kept up very well. It meanders along the Mississipi River and has a lot of cultural history. The Crow River and the Mississippi River merge together at this location.
We started our walk down the Historic Trail and then headed down the Red River Trail for a bit.
It is believed that the origin of the name Crow Wing comes from the island formed as the river splits before emptying into the Mississippi.
“Although the Red River Trails served all types of travelers, they primarily carried trade between St. Paul and Red River settlements near Winnipeg and Pembina. This section was known as the Woods Trail.” It went through the forest, steep hills and boggy lowlands.
We found signs for both a Catholic and a Lutheran mission church. The church below is a memorial in honor of Father Francis Xavier Pierz who established the first Catholic mission in 1852 in North Central Minnesota. It sits on the original site of the old mission church.
“Crow Wing was then a very hard place; composed of three classes of people; Indians, Half Breeds and some Lumber-men. Whisky flowed like water … it was one of the most wicked places there has ever been in Minnesota, or in the North-west.” — Rev. E. Steele Peake
The memorial above was in memory of Father Lautishar. He was born in Austria in 1820 and arrived in Crow Wing in June 1858 to assist Father Pierz. He froze to death while crossing the Red Lake. He was buried in St. Francis Cemetery in Crow Wing and his body was later moved to Duluth.
Here are a couple more pictures of the area.
Very pretty state park. Next time we’ll take the longer trail.