Thoreau's "Journey West:"  The Actual Journey

     The 1861 trip that led Henry David Thoreau & Horace Mann, Jr., from Massachusetts to Minnesota


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Henry David Thoreau

Horace Mann, Jr.

Map of the Route

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     Thoreau and Mann spent two weeks getting from Massachusetts to Minnesota, by rail and by steam.  They spent one month exploring the area around the Twin Cities, and also accompanied a tourist excursion to the Lower Sioux Agency in Redwood, Minnesota.  Then they took to water and rails again and followed a more northern route to return home.  

     Though the intent was to relieve Henry Thoreau's symptoms of consumption, the trip was also his one and only chance to "Go West."  He and young Horace were able to "botanize" at Niagara Falls, N.Y.; on Barn Bluff in Redwing, Minn.; along the Minnesota River; and on Mackinac Island, Mich.

    Click here to see a map of their route.  Click here for a list of railroad stops.

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2014 Corinne H. Smith