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Skillman, W. D. The Western Metropolis; or St. Louis in 1846 . St. Louis: W.D. Skillman, 1846. [format: book], [genre: advertisement; catalogue; history; guidebook; ledger; report]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=skillman.html


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The Missouri River.

The Missouri River rises in the Rocky Mountains, and takes its name after the union of three branches, the Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison. The springs which give rise to the Missouri River are not more than a mile distant from some of the head waters of the Columbia River, which run in a contrary direction to the Pacific Ocean.

At the distance of 441 miles from the extreme point of the navigation of the head branches of the Missouri, are what are denominated "The Gates of the Rocky Mountains," which present an exceedingly grand and picturesque appearance. For

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the distance of about six miles, the rocks rise perpendicularly from the margin of the river, to the height of twelve hundred feet. The river is compressed to the breadth of a hundred and fifty yards, and for the first three miles, there is only one spot, and that only of a few yards, on which a man could stand between the water and the perpendicular ascent of the mountain. At the distance of 110 miles below this, and 551 miles from the source of the river, are the "Great Falls," 2575 miles from the egress of the river into the Mississippi. At this place the river descends, by a succession of rapids and falls, a distance of 357 feet in sixteen and a half miles. The lower and greatest fall has a perpendicular pitch of eighty-seven feet, the second of nineteen, the third of forty-seven, and the fourth of twenty-six feet. Between and below these falls are continual rapids of from three to eighteen feet descent. These falls, next to those of Niagara, are the grandest on the continent. Above, the course of the river is northwardly.

The Yellowstone river, eight hundred yards wide at its mouth, and probably the largest tributary of the Missouri, enters it on the south-west side, 1216 miles, from its navigable source, and about 1880 miles from the junction with the Mississippi. The Yellowstone, at the place of junction, is as large as the Missouri. Steamboats ascend to this place, and could go farther by each branch.

The length of the Missouri river, from its source to its entrance into the Mississippi, is 3096 miles, which, with the addition of 1353 miles, the distance from the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico, makes a total length of 4449 miles, and it is probably the longest river in the world. Through its whole course, there is no substantial obstruction to the navigation, before arriving at the Great Falls. Its principal tributaries are each navigable from one to eight hundred miles. The alluvial, fertile soil on this river and its tributaries, is not very broad, and back of this are prairies of vast extent. Through the greater part of its course, the Missouri is a rapid and turbid stream, and in the upper part of its course, flows through an arid and sterile country. It is over half a mile wide at its mouth, and for a greater part of its distance is much wider. Notwithstanding it drains such an extensive region of country, and receives so many large tributaries, it is at certain seasons quite shallow, affording hardly sufficient water for steamboat navigation, owing to its passage through a dry and open country, and being subject to a great evaporation.

The "Missouri River Trade" has become a very important one, and the annual business between St. Louis and the towns on the river, and with Santa Fe, through Independence, is rapidly increasing.

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Skillman, W. D. The Western Metropolis; or St. Louis in 1846 . St. Louis: W.D. Skillman, 1846. [format: book], [genre: advertisement; catalogue; history; guidebook; ledger; report]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=skillman.html
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