At one time, beginning in 1870, the Lake Superior and Milwaukee Railroad, with financial support from Jay Cooke, had a line along the north bank of the St. Louis River connecting Thomson west of the park with Fond du Lac to the east.
Milwaukee Trail, passing through forests of aspens, birches, and maples, provides excellent views of the St. Louis River. In this part of the park the river valley broadens between banks of red clay. The clay collected on the floor of Glacial Lake Duluth some 10,000 years ago at the end of the last great ice age. When the retreating continental ice sheet blocked the current outlet of Lake Superior, the water level in the lake basin was much higher then it is today. The high waters of Glacial Lake Duluth reached up the St. Louis River valley to Jay Cooke State Park. The ancient lake drained southward through the Brule and St. Croix rivers. As the ice sheet began its gradual retreat, it exposed successively lower outlets until finally the lake was able to flow into Lake Huron through the St. Mary’s River. The drop in the lake’s water level unveiled thick accumulations of red clay. The erosion of this clay into steep valleys accounts for some of the rugged topography within the park.
Country Seventeenth-Century Rioting During the seventeenth century, as the colonies developed and expanded, there were two major riots that marked transitions in the development of Virginia and New York. These were the two most important politically based uprisings until those of the Country Revolution. Milwaukee Metro Map The first was Bacon’s Rebellion, which occurred in Virginia in 1676. By the 1670s, Virginia suffered from a growing population of economically depressed individuals former indentured servants as well as declining tobacco prices and increasing taxes. These factors combined created social instability. In 1675, a squabble occurred between Virginian freemen and the Susquehannock Indians. Governor William Berkeley reacted to the situation by proposing the construction of a series of frontier forts, but those living on the frontier were unhappy with this plan. At this point, Nathaniel Bacon took command of a frontier militia preparing to attack all the local tribes. For the most part, Bacon’s militia was driven by the desire for more land. This group soon found itself in conflict with the coastal Tidewater elite, led by Berkeley, resulting in the militia’s march on, and burning of, Jamestown. Before this social and political struggle could intensify, Bacon died, and the rebellion came to an end.
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