French explorer Joseph Nicollet surveyed the area in 1836 and confirmed Schoolcraft’s claim. Henry Schoolcraft identified Lake Itasca as the river's primary source in 1832. Grades. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The 50-square-mile (130-square-km) Itasca State Park was established around the Itasca basin in 1891. The name “Itasca” is a combination of the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). It is clear that the source of the river is Lake Itasca because a large channel of the river leaves the lake. The other one is a science story.”. Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis? The fur trader William Morrison may have been the first white man to visit the lake in 1803 or 1804. Murzyn remembers learning early on that this small stream fed the mighty Mississippi River that rushed near his elementary school in northeast Minneapolis. Still is up to dispute, but in general, Lake Itasca counts as the rivers’s source. They recognized that the economic potential of northern Minnesota would change its landscape. Here’s why: If you follow the Minnesota River up to Big Stone Lake, that takes you to … Bemidji is the first city on the Mississippi. It flows northwards from the lake. Write a review. Where did the term Minnesota Nice come from, and what does it really mean? 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? Reviews. He believed they were at Lake Julie north of Lake Bemidji since that source sprang from … Lake Itasca is located in the southeastern region of the Clearwater County in north-central Minnesota. It is the primary source of the Mississippi River which flows 2,340 mi (3,770 km) to the Gulf of Mexico. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. How did Minnesota's indigenous people survive the extreme winters? Schoolcraft is generally credited with having coined the name Itasca from the Latin words veritas (“truth”) and caput (“head”). Later, explorer Joseph Nicollet verified Itasca as the source, using the era’s scientific and surveying tools. Get directions, maps, and traffic for Lake Itasca, MN. 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 … It was an international and political question,” said Patrick Coleman, an acquisitions librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society. Why can't Minnesotans figure out how to zipper merge? THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, FIFTH EDITION by the … The Upper Mississippi River, more than 1,300 miles long, reaches from Lake Itasca to the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River at Cairo, IL. 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. Schoolcraft reinforced his claim by renaming the lake Itasca, meaning “true source.” The name combines the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). Why does Minnesota tax Social Security benefits? traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. Tourism. 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. 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. 1 Other Attraction within 5 miles. 1 Restaurant within 5 miles. Why hasn't Minnesota ever produced a U.S. president? 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 … 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. I know Lake Winnipeg is connected to the Hudson Bay, would that increase the size of the Mississippi? Lake Itasca Lake Itasca Photograph: Rocks partly dam a small river on a lake. Were Minneapolis' skyways first created to combat the cold – or something else? “If the source of the Mississippi is up in Canada, then the Brits have control of this major highway, the Mississippi River. Individuals like surveyor Jacob Brower became captivated by the region and the wildlife that inhabited it. 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. Subjects. Legal. 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. 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. Most of the area has a heavy growth of timber that includes virgin red pine, which is also Minnesota's state tree. “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… Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River and a scenic area of northern Minnesota, has remained relatively unchanged from its natural state. 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. Itasca A lake of northwest Minnesota. Listen and subscribe to our podcast: Via Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher. 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. Corrections? 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. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/place/Lake-Itasca. 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). Like Schoolcraft, he concluded the outlet at Lake Itasca was the only one with a surface flow and volume … Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca: Hours, Address, Itasca State Park Reviews: 5/5. Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers. Rome2rio makes travelling from Chicago to Lake Itasca easy. Jacob V. Brower surveyed the area and again identified Itasca as the Mississippi’s source because of the area’s bowl-shaped topography. Wendell Duffield, a geologist and native Minnesotan, argues that the Minnesota River should be considered an alternative source. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Douglas Lodge Restaurant (86) 3.1 mi $$ - $$$ American. 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. See more. The two even had matching Lake Itasca T-shirts. The 32,000-acre park is the state’s most developed park yet also one of its most pristine. Best nearby. “It’s just hard to describe for each individual person, but it does have some magic to it.”. “One is a cultural story. Emma Dill is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune. The lake is stocked with game fish and is popular with boaters. Lake Itasca, lake regarded as the main source of the Mississippi River, in Clearwater county, northwestern Minnesota, U.S. “There’s two parts to the answer,” said Connie Cox, the lead interpretive naturalist at Itasca State Park. 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. The process, which included draining of the swampy area surrounding the source, was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Stand under towering pines and visit landmarks of centuries gone by throughout the park. The river's channel appears much as it did when Henry Rowe Schoolcraft discovered the source in 1832. The primary source and start of the Mississippi River are Lake Itasca. Giacomo Beltrami claimed to have discovered the headwaters in 1823. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Readers then vote on which query we should investigate — and Murzyn’s was the winner of a recent round. “There is something that just brings out the youthful joy and excitement of adventure and discovery,” Cox said about the headwaters. 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. Find all the transport options for your trip from Chicago to Lake Itasca right here. In 1832 explorer Henry Schoolcraft, lead by his Ojibwe guide, traveled straight to Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River. By following the Minnesota River, Duffield has traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. The first vessel the “Chester Charles”, named after Captain Tom’s Father, was a 1970 40′ tour boat that held 55 passengers. 252 Reviews 5 Q&A. “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. From the lake’s surface, which is 1,475 feet As the source of the Mississippi river, Lake Itasca's drainage basin is considered a subwatershed of the entire Mississippi River basin. Updates? Twitter; Facebook; Pinterest; Google Classroom; Email; Print; Credits Media Credits. Website +1 218-699-7251. One of them, Henry R. Schoolcraft, proclaimed Lake Itasca as the true source of the river in 1832. According to these definitions, the Mississippi’s source should be the Missouri or Ohio rivers, respectively. It was explorer and ethnologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, however, who proposed Lake Itasca as the true source of the Mississippi in 1832. History of Lake Itasca Tours. The Itasca forest during the late nineteenth century contained towering pines and numerous lakes. 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. 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. 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. 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