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. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. The park includes 157 lakes covering over 3,000 acres, as well as 27,500 acres of upland and 1,500 acres of swamp. The origin of the present name is obscure. The lake is stocked with game fish and is popular with boaters. 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. Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca: Hours, Address, Itasca State Park Reviews: 5/5. A stop at Lake Itasca almost always made it into their road trip itinerary. 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. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/place/Lake-Itasca. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. See more. The primary source and start of the Mississippi River are Lake Itasca. Grades. The fur trader William Morrison may have been the first white man to visit the lake in 1803 or 1804. By following the Minnesota River, Duffield has traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. Lake Itasca is located in the southeastern region of the Clearwater County in north-central Minnesota. Today, the park totals more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. Schoolcraft was an Indian agent for the region, and he assembled an expeditionary party of thirty, including Ozawindib (an Ojibway guide and interpreter), an army officer, a surgeon, a geologist, and interpreter, and a missionary. It was explorer and ethnologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, however, who proposed Lake Itasca as the true source of the Mississippi in 1832. Emma Dill is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune. It is clear that the source of the river is Lake Itasca because a large channel of the river leaves the lake. So, the source of the Mississippi River is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota but what if Lake Winnipeg was the source of the Mississippi River and Lake Itasca and Lake Winnipeg were connected as a result? Omissions? He believed they were at Lake Julie north of Lake Bemidji since that source sprang from … The beginning of the Mississippi can be seen to be interconnected with Lake Itasca. “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… 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. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The lake was called Omushkoz by the Indians, Lac la Biche by the French, and Elk Lake by the English. Some geologists, however, have believed that other glacial lakes in the region also supply the headwaters of the river. Were Minneapolis' skyways first created to combat the cold – or something else? Why can't Minnesotans figure out how to zipper merge? Find all the transport options for your trip from Chicago to Lake Itasca right here. That’s the latest question for Curious Minnesota, our community-driven reporting project that invites readers into the newsroom to ask questions they want answered. The first vessel the “Chester Charles”, named after Captain Tom’s Father, was a 1970 40′ tour boat that held 55 passengers. 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. The name “Itasca” is a combination of the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). Lake Itasca, MN Directions {{::location.tagLine.value.text}} Sponsored Topics. As a child, Edward Murzyn remembers piling into his family’s car to head Up North nearly every summer. Website +1 218-699-7251. The 50-square-mile (130-square-km) Itasca State Park was established around the Itasca basin in 1891. He had been part of a previous expedition in 1820 led by General Lewis Cass that had named nearby Despite its detractors, Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers and Minnesota natives like Murzyn. 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. “If the source of the Mississippi is up in Canada, then the Brits have control of this major highway, the Mississippi River. Along the lakeshore in town stand the iconic statues of legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his sidekick, Babe, the Blue Ox. Why are Minnesotans the only ones to play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck? Why does Minnesota tax Social Security benefits? Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca, MN. Listen and subscribe to our podcast: Via Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher. 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 … Schoolcraft reinforced his claim by renaming the lake Itasca, meaning “true source.” The name combines the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). The other one is a science story.”. Murzyn remembers learning early on that this small stream fed the mighty Mississippi River that rushed near his elementary school in northeast Minneapolis. 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). 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. Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers. One of them, Henry R. Schoolcraft, proclaimed Lake Itasca as the true source of the river in 1832. Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis? Why hasn't Minnesota ever produced a U.S. president? Twitter; Facebook; Pinterest; Google Classroom; Email; Print; Credits Media Credits. The process, which included draining of the swampy area surrounding the source, was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Lake Itasca is the primary source of the Mississippi, and the water here flows out through the entire drainage system of the river. Get directions, maps, and traffic for Lake Itasca, MN. Lake Itasca is a glacial lake which approximately measures 4.7 km 2. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). It was an international and political question,” said Patrick Coleman, an acquisitions librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society. This is an account by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) of his discovery of the Mississippi River's source, Lake Itasca, in 1832. The channel of the Mississippi leaving the lake was engineered in the 1930s to make the tourist experience more exciting. Where did the term Minnesota Nice come from, and what does it really mean? Still is up to dispute, but in general, Lake Itasca counts as the rivers’s source. 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. 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. Corrections? Write a review. Rome2rio makes travelling from Chicago to Lake Itasca easy. 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. Legal. 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