History & Culture


The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is rich with historical and cultural stories. The following collection of resources found on these pages are only glimpses into that rich history and illustrate not only why people of many cultures converged here, but how they changed the world.

river of history cover

River of History - A Historic Resources Study

The Historic Resources Study (River of History: A Historic Resources Study of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area) details the geological, cultural, historical and economic foundations of one of the United States great metropolitan areas and the river that so influenced its development. An electronic version is available for reading or download.


Fort Snelling: Breaking the Code

During World War II, Fort Snelling played a vital part in the U.S.'s war with Japan. As the center of the Japanese intelligence community, the fort's facilities housed some of the most effective and courageous code breakers and translators to serve in the war.

A person sits on a sandy bank at the confluence of two rivers.

The Confluence: Rivers and Cultures Converge

The confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota river is a place where cultures converged in the Twin Cities area. To the Mdewakanton Dakota it has deep historic and spiritual meaning. They called the joining of the two rivers Bdote Minisota. For some, it was their place of origin, their Garden of Eden. To early Americans it became a center of trade and military authority.

A tall white shoreline commercial building with barge traffic passing it front of it.

St. Paul Municipal Elevator and Sackhouse (City House)

St. Paul began its life as a port city. Located at what was once the Upper Landing, the Saint Paul Municipal Elevator and Sackhouse are the only remaining structures on the City's riverfront dating back to its early navigation history. They are listed on the National Register as nationally significant for their role in the farm cooperative movement in America and the origins of the current Mississippi River navigation system.

Kids welcome a paddleboat as it steams upriver.

River Songs

Charlie Maguire, often referred to as the "Singing Ranger," was hired by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area to write and perform songs about the Mississippi River and the people that have been--and continue to be--affected by its many faces.

Last updated: August 27, 2021

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101


This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center.

Contact Us