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Morning Edition in Winona marks the Grand Excursion
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Sunrise over the Mississippi River in Winona (MPR Photo/Julie Siple)

Winona, Minn. — On Monday June 7, 2004, MPR's Morning Edition originated from Levee Park in Winona, Minnesota as part of the coverage of this year's Grand Excursion. The celebration commemorates the flotilla of steamboats that chugged up the river 150 years ago

The five boats carried the passengers of the Grand Excursion of 1854. As far as we can tell the Grand Excursion did not stop in Winona, a community that had been founded only three years before.

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Image Winona Steam Calliope

The excursionists began their trip two days earlier on a train in Chicago. On the Morning Edition broadczast, Steve Keillor, the author of a newly published history of the Grand Excursion, said the river portion of the journey was not the main event of the excursion which was sponsored by the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad.

During the broadcast, Morning Edition shared the flavor of Winona, with the help of several local guests, including Winona County Historical Society Director Mark Peterson. Saint Mary's University music lecturer Eric Heukeshoven played the Winona Steam Calliope for listeners. Many of the segments of the broadcast are listed on the audio links, and you can view images of the Winona waterfront.

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