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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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FLATBOATS

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Flatboats were used to ferry cargo and then broken up for lumber.
FLATBOATS. Large raft-like barges used widely on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER to float freight and passengers downstream in the early 1800s. Frequently used to float produce or LEAD from the mines around Dubuque, the flatboats benefited from flat bottoms which allowed them to pass downstream during periods of low water. When the freight reached its destination, the boats were broken up and sold for their lumber.