Big River Magazine
Mississippi River stories and news

September-October 2013

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From September-October 2013 Big River

Exploring the QC with QR

Quad Cities — Looking for a map to the Quad Cities’ many miles of bicycle trails? The Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has created a new online bicycling guide that presents trail maps, mileage, descriptions and historical sites, as well as shopping, dining and other tourist attractions. The map, available at the Quad Cities website, also shows bicyclists where to safely cross the river between the cities and where to catch the Channel Cat Water Taxi.

The CVB also rents bikes and distributes a printed Quad-Cities Metro Bicycle Map, available at Quad Cities’ CVB sites, bike shops and the River Action office, at 822 River Dr., Davenport, Iowa.

Nonprofit River Action has installed QR codes and website addresses on riverfront signs so riders, walkers and runners can get information about the riverfront, including wildlife, landmarks and art installations. Called the “e-Tour,” it works with both smartphones and tablets.


New Art from Old Maps

La Crosse, Wis. — Artwork based on antique maps of the Mississippi River and the United States will be on display September at Wine Guyz in downtown La Crosse.

Artist Lisa Middleton, who now lives in Kalispell, Mont., grew up in Stoddard, Wis. She has been painting historic maps for more than a decade, and also creates paintings based on subjects she finds on her travels.

Middleton scours libraries and old bookstores for interesting maps. She copies them onto acid-free paper, then adds color and dimension using watercolors and oil pastels. Five to seven original paintings of her Mississippi River maps will be at the show, along with maps of the Northwest and prints of a Mississippi River map called “Father of Waters.” This long, narrow map of the whole river, at left, was created in 1887 and is one of her most popular prints, having sold 3,000 so far.

Another 1887 map was created by a man who wrote a book and spent a good share of his life promoting his idea that “Glazier Lake” was the source of the Mississippi River. He named the lake after himself.

Many different things can make a map interesting. Sometimes many of the places on the map have disappeared, as in a 1906 map of Minnesota. Sometimes a map mixes reality and fantasy, as in a De’Lisle map of the United States commissioned in Paris in 1713, which was the first extremely accurate rendering of the East Coast, yet it illustrates a fanciful Northwest Passage.

“I like to work on maps with history, maps of places people love, maps that have stories,” Middleton said.

Middleton will do a presentation about her work at the Northside Fairgrounds on September 29 and hold a reception at the Wine Guyz on October 4.

Great River Arts


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