City of Red Wing

Levee Park

Levee Park SignIn 1903 the City of Red Wing and the Milwaukee Road signed an agreement that secured financial backing for the levee improvements.  In return for trackage concessions, the Railroad agreed to construct a new depot and donate $20,550 to the City to begin improvement of the levee area for park purposes.  The construction of the levee wall, filling in of the riverbank and balance of the park improvements were completed between 1905 and 1906.

JesterLevee Park is another City Beautiful inspired park.  The park is a sitting park that consists of trails, large trees, benches, historical monuments, and breathtaking views of the Mississippi River.  The park still serves as the riverboat landing area for the City.  The wall is also used for smaller craft that stop to eat and shop in downtown.

The park went through a major renovation several years ago in preparation of the Grand Excursion event.  A more recent project involved the installation of more than 900’ of decorative fencing along the parks southern boundary to provide a barrier between the park and the busy Canadian Pacific Rail Line that runs between the park and downtown.  The project was a joint effort between the City of Red Wing, Archer Daniels Midland and CPR.

Sea Wing MemorialSea Wing Memorial

The Sea Wing was a stern-wheel rafter, 135-feet long, 22-feet in height — her height was said to make her skittish in wind — weighing about 110 tons.  She was built in 1888 and operated out of Diamond Bluff, Wis., across the river and north of Red Wing.

Sunday, July 13, 1890, was hot, oppressive, close.  The Sea Wing and barge left Diamond Bluff at 8:40 a.m., for a daylong pleasure cruise on Lake Pepin.  She reached her destination in Lake City at about 11:30 a.m. where passengers disembarked. 

Though scheduled to leave Lake City at 7 p.m., the Sea Wing may not have departed until about 8 p.m.  The Sea Wing had made it less than halfway back to Red Wing when swallowed by storms, causing it to capsize.  98 people were killed, 77 who called Red Wing home.