Answer Man: Put your waders on, we’re headed to Wisconsin

May 5, 2019

Editor’s note: This Classic Answer Man was first published in April 2005.

I heard somewhere that Lake Pepin is slowly filling in and someday you’ll be able to wade across it. Any truth to that?

If you wait long enough, just about any body of water will fill in and be as soupy as Silver Lake. In the case of Lake Pepin, some people say it’ll only be about 340 years before it’s choked up with sediment.

The St. Croix Watershed Research Station, part of the Science Museum of Minnesota, says the lake is filling with sediment at 10 times the natural rate, primarily because of farm runoff. The lake already has lost 17 percent of its volume since 1830, researchers say.

Believe it or not, according to the research station, the upper end of Lake Pepin will fill in by about the year 2100.

That’ll be a big disappointment for lakefront land owners. And will Lake City, the “birthplace of water skiing,” have to find a new marketing angle when the lake’s gone?

Was Abraham Lincoln ever in southern Minnesota? Did he carry Minnesota in the 1860 election, and did his support go up or down in 1864?

Honest Abe, who was shot on April 14, 1865, and died the next day, never visited the Gopher State, as far as I can tell. Minnesota joined the Union only two years before his election in 1860.

Lincoln won the state in its first presidential voting, 63 percent to 34 percent for Stephen A. Douglas, the “Little Giant.” Two other candidates got the rest.

Four years later, the Rail Splitter won 59 percent of the popular vote in Minnesota, facing ousted Union Gen. George McClellan, who took 41 percent. So Lincoln’s support here slipped after four years of civil war, but not by much.