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Located on an island in the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota, Winona has been home to the transportation industry from its earliest days. Before Winona was a city, Native Americans and European explorers sailed past Wapashas Prairie in birch bark canoes, keel boats, or small sailboats. As early as the 1820s, steamboats plied up and down the Father of Waters, carrying people and goods to and from the interior. Until bridges were built, it was necessary to use ferryboats to cross this great river. The first bridge to cross the river was a railroad swing bridge that allowed steamboats to pass by. With the bridge in place, rail traffic arrived in Winona and a terminal was established along the riverfront.