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Steamboat Warehouse Historic Marker

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The Steamboat Warehouse Historic Marker, located on the east bank of the Missouri River in Bismarck across the road from the water treatment plant on River Road (Highway 1804), commemorates the Northern Pacific Railroad warehouse built to store goods in transshipment between steamboats and freight trains. The 300-foot-long stone and frame warehouse was constructed in 1883 and was torn down in 1925. The interpretive marker also describes activity at the dock adjacent to the warehouse.


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From 1872 to 1887 Bismarck was an important transportation center and Missouri River port. Freight was hauled to Bismarck from the East by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Until a railroad bridge across the Missouri was completed October 21, 1882, the railroad terminated at the east side of the river and resumed on the west side. During the winter, trains crossed the ice on specially built track and during the summer, they were ferried across. A line called the River Landing Spur ran down to the steamboat warehouse so that freight from the railroad could be transferred to steamboats for shipping via the Missouri River. The river connected St. Louis, Missouri, Fort Benton, Montana, and ports in between.

The dock area included other warehouses, saloons, hotels, restaurants, and gambling establishments built to service the transient river trade. Bismarck was a major distribution point and travel center during that time and continued to serve in a reduced manner even after the railroad continued west in 1883.

This 3.21 acre site displays a fieldstone monument with an aluminum plaque and is open year-round. A small parking area is in front of the marker on the west side of the road.

SHSND Address:
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
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Contact SHSND:
phone: (701) 328-2666
fax: (701) 328-3710
email: histsoc@nd.gov