Chippewa County Historical Society




Doug Pederson tells the story of how the canoe was found and how it was preserved after being removed from the Minnesota River.



June Lynne tells the story of how the Chippewa Country Historical Society took possession of the canoe.
Ann Merriman also explains how lakes and rivers can preserve wooden boats for hundreds of years.

The Minnesota River Canoe

Minnesota River Dugout Canoe

Storing canoes underwater and in the mud was a way of keeping the canoes from drying out and extending their life.

It is possible that the Minnesota River canoe may have become lost or was abandoned at the end of its useful life. In any case, the mud and cold water acted to preserve the canoe.

In February 1982, Wendell Peterson and Doug Pederson were canoeing the Minnesota River noticed the tip of a dugout canoe sticking out of the water one mile below the Churchill Dam at the foot fo the Lac Qui Parle lake. Later that year, Lon Redel, Douglas Pederson and Brad Rasmussen dug the canoe out of the river.

Objects which are found in Minnesota lakes and rivers belong to the State of Minnesota, and the canoe was eventually turned over the Chippewa County Historical Society.

The canoe, once out of the water, was expected to rapidly deteriorate. The Chippewa County Historical Society was awarded a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to soak the canoe in 135 gallons of polyethylene glycol for several months to prevent it from drying out and to preserve it.

The canoe is currently on display in the Gippe Log Cabin at Historic Chippewa City.

Dugout Canoes