Historic Sites of Manitoba: The Anson Northup Plaque (Kildonan Park, Winnipeg)

The Anson Northup (commonly misspelled Anson Northrup, as on the present plaque) was the first steamboat on the Red River and the first to reach Fort Garry. Her maiden trip in 1859 proved that steamboat navigation on the river was practicable and initiated a new era of economic relations and transportation between the Red River Settlement and the United States. Built at Lafayette, North Dakota by Anson Northup of St. Paul, the machinery, cabin and furniture were transported overland from Crow Wing, Minnesota. The boat’s capacity was 50 to 75 tons. Its hull measured 22 feet wide and 90 feet long, equipped with engines capable of producing 100 horsepower.

On her first trip, the Anson Northup left Fort Abercrombie on 6 June and reached Fort Garry on 10 June 1859, winning for her builder the prize money offered by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce to the first person to initiate steamboat travel on the Red River. Following her maiden voyage, she was purchased by J. C. Burbank, rebuilt and renamed the Pioneer, in 1861. The boat sank at Cook’s Creek near Selkirk in the winter of 1861-62 and was dismantled.

A plaque in Kildonan Park was installed in 1959 by the Historic Sites Advisory Board of Manitoba. The original wooden plaque was later replaced by the present metal one.

The Anson Northup

The Anson Northup (no date)
Source: Archives of Manitoba

Original Anson Northup plaque unveiled in Kildonan Park

Original Anson Northup plaque unveiled in Kildonan Park (1959)
Archives of Manitoba, Historic Sites - Anson Northup 2.

Anson Northup commemorative plaque

Anson Northup commemorative plaque (July 2014)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Anson Northup commemorative plaque

Anson Northup commemorative plaque (October 2021)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.94100, W97.10152
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

The First of Many by Molly McFadden
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 4, Number 3, April 1959


Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.

The Anson Northup, Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques.

We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 May 2023

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