TAYLORS FALLS, Minn. — In the latest installment of our summer drone series KARE in the Air, we take to the sky to look down on the water.
You've likely seen these nostalgic beasts meandering down the Mississippi or St. Croix Rivers: multi-level boats from yesterday, pushed by an engine and distinctive paddle wheels.
This one belongs to Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours, a family-run business that has been around since 1906. The current owners say their children, who help with the business now, are part of the 5th generation involved in the paddle wheeler business.
A couple of interesting tidbits for you:
- Despite the fact they look quite big, the paddlewheel on these watercraft draws just 17 inches of water.
- Some say the first paddle wheel on record was invented in 1685 by French physicist Denis Papin. It could be mounted either on the side or back of a boat, and was driven by steam from a wood or coal-fired boiler.
- The first paddle wheeler seen on the waters of the Mississippi river was in 1811. When that steam ship, known as the New Orleans, arrived in her namesake city the captain invited residents aboard for an excursion down the river and back.