As the ice sailing season takes a break, it’s time to explore more of our history. Recently, a piece of history found its way into my U.S. mailbox: a vintage photo of a stern-steerer on the Mississippi River at McGregor, Iowa, circa early 1900s. It’s the first photo of ice yachts south of Pepin, WI, and Lake City, MN, I’ve ever seen. Iowa’s ice sailing and stern steerers bring to mind the Davis family, located a bit further inland from the Mississippi River.

A quick search of newspaper archives yielded no information about ice sailing at McGregor so that it might have been an individual’s activity. The back of the photo indicates that it was associated with the Hollingsworth family. I’m sure that the stern-steerer sailors will be able to spot some details by closely examining the photo.

UPDATE: Stern-steerer sailor Mike Peters writes in, “The iceboat in Macgregor probably is sailing on the backwaters of the Mississippi.
Looks like a side railer or wishbone. Interesting it has a crack jumper or strut forward of the steer runner.”