Thirty or more 19th century steamboats are buried beneath the Missouri’s waters and bottomlands between Yankton and Omaha.
Lewis & Clark Marina may be the largest sailboat port on the Northern Plains. More than 200 sailors dock there.
Giant paddlefish, some measuring 7 feet long, thrive in our river. It’s North America’s oldest species, dating back 350 million years.
Welcome to Yankton!
More stories on Yankton …
More Winter By The River
Almost every morning, you’ll find retired Yankton High School teacher and debate coach Paul Harens along the Missouri, scouting for fresh views of our old river town. We shared a few of his cold-weather shots in “Winter by the River,” a story in our January/February 2020 issue, but here are a few more for your enjoyment. Look for more of Harens’ work on Instagram.
Yankton’s Civil Rights Champion
Until the day Ted Blakey died in 2004, he possessed a newspaper clipping from February 1838. It advertised his grandfather, an 11-year-old boy at the time, for sale at a slave auction in Missouri. For Blakey, a Yankton businessman and tireless Civil Rights advocate, it served as a reminder of how far his family had come.
We Winter with Eagles
Eagles were a rare sight in South Dakota just decades ago. The pesticide DDT got in their food (fish) chain and decreased the birds’ fertility. Then, 522,000 acres of their favorite habitat along the Missouri River was flooded by the Corps of Engineers’ six big dams. Eagle sightings became rare.
The Last Nurseryman
One of the saddest days of Jay Gurney’s life came in 1977 when his father lost his job at what had been the family nursery. “I helped my father gather up his stuff,” he remembers.
By the early 1940s the Gurney family no longer owned the historic family business in Yankton. The company changed owners several times and was eventually bought by American Garden Products. “Shortly after my grandfather’s death, the company said to my father Sidney: ‘We’ll offer you $100 to continue using your name and likeness in our mail order catalog. If you don’t sign the agreement, you’re fired.’