Steamboats After 1878

The Pluck.

Despite the monopoly of the Red River Transportation Line, a few new boats were built. The J. L. Grandin in 1878 and the Grand Forks in 1895 were built to haul grain to railroad shipping points. Taking a cue from Anson Northrup's adventure, the steamer White Swan, after proving to be unsuitable for navigation on the Mississippi, was disassembled and shipped to the Red River in 1878 for reconstruction and service there. The owner, C.H. Alsop, renamed the boat Pluck, pictured above. Alsop built a second boat, the Alsop, in 1881. The Alsop is pictured below in an 1881 photograph of the steamer moored at the Moorhead Landing.

The Alsop.

Fargo Moorhead Levee.

This enlargement of an 1879 photograph by Moorhead photographer Flaten is taken from the Moorhead side of the Red River looking south. Across the top, the Northern Pacific train bridge is clearly shown with the lower foot and buggy bridge. At the top center is Moorhead Manufacturing Company's Moorhead Mill which was located in Moorhead on the bank of the river.

Alsop's steamboat Pluck is moored on the Fargo side of the river and one can see the NP train tracks leading down to the levee.

Next to the Pluck one can see a barge loaded with machinery and next to the barge is the Winnipeg. I have not seen reference to a steamboat named the Winnipeg. Although this seems to be the hull of a steamboat, it loaded like a barge. In the foreground is a clear view of one of the barges pulled by steamboats upriver to increase their capacity.

The Grandin, stranded.

The first steamboat to be retired was the International which was broken up in Grand Forks in 1880. The Northwest made its final voyage to Winnipeg in April 1881. The Alsop was retired in 1886.

The Grandin broke loose from her moorings in the flood of 1897. The boat floated downstream to Halstad where she was left stranded (see picture to the right). She was gradually dismantled over the next five years as people took lumber as they needed it.

The Grand Forks sank while at anchor on April 10, 1912. The last riverboat, the Fram, broke from its moorings in Grand Forks in 1912 and sank, ending 53 years of steamboating on the Red River.