Overnight at Hermann Landing, 1873
THE DeSMET "Overnight at Hermann Landing, 1873" depicts an
we see a new form of transportation speeding past the buildings of the
Hermann riverfront. We may view the railroad rushing past the idle
as a symbol of the future domination of the rail system. The river, at
this point in time, is now beginning to accept a secondary role in
For thousands of years, the Missouri River has carried its share of
craft past this general location; and, for the first time in history,
waterways of the world are losing their position of dominance to the
of the industrial age.
This nocturnal setting features a view of many of Hermann, Missouri's
first permanent buildings including the historic White House Hotel. As
in most river communities, the display of rich and rugged architecture
is a clue to the optimism for the future expressed by the founders of
settlement along the routes of America's Inland Waterway System.
Only a few years earlier, the Hermann riverfront was a primary shipping
point for many of the iron products used to build the American West.
Hermann Landing was often referred to as "The Iron Landing." Maramec
Works, the first iron foundry west of the Mississippi River, was
in St. James, Missouri in 1826. Products were shipped on wagons drawn
oxen across the "Old Iron Road" and down the Gasconade River to the
river port of Hermann. The asset of the river literally gave Hermann
to the world and its markets.
The DeSMET, of course, is one of the primary subjects depicted in the
interpretation. She was built and piloted by the famed riverboat
Joseph LaBarge. Named after and blessed by LaBarge's old and good
Father Pierre Jean DeSmet, the DeSMET, on its way past the Hermann
was one of the last side-wheel steamers to make its way to Ft. Benton,
Montana. With her free-form beauty, the DeSMET typified the graceful
of America's Inland Waterways; and, was typical of the workhorse
used in the development of 19th century America.