A Milwaukee Road train pulls up to G.A. Carlson's limestone kiln, still in existence today, on the Mississippi River side of Barn Bluff, c. 1895. Red Wing became known as Minnesota's "Lime Center" in the 1870s as local quarrying firms and their kilns reduced limestone to lime.
Red Wing's leading quarry owner G.A. Carlson built this 1882 Barn Bluff limestone kiln near the Milwaukee Road's tracks. He wished to facilitate shipments of lime and cement. The kiln, pictured about 1885, still exists.
Thanks to the limestone bluffs and hills that surrounded Red Wing, the town became a Minnesota lime-making and stone quarrying center from 1870 to 1910. Those forty years are sometimes known as the city’s “Stone Age.”
Flowing out of Detroit Lake to the southwest, short segments of the Pelican River connect a string of five large lakes and two small ones. From 1889 to 1918, steamboats, launches, and a system of locks and channels connected this chain of lakes, which stretches twelve miles southwest from the town of Detroit Lakes.