Weather Forecast


Video complements Sea Wing book

By Ruth Nerhaugen, contributor

Ben Threinen’s new documentary on “The Sea Wing Disaster: Tragedy on Lake Pepin” is a vivid companion piece to Fred Johnson’s updated book on the tragedy.

The documentary tells many personal stories and describes Lake City’s role in assisting with the recovery efforts.

The Sea Wing had been on an excursion that day to Camp Lakeview, south of Lake City, and capsized about 4 miles north of the city en route to Red Wing. Survivors, as well as the wreckage, ended up near Central Point.

Threinen found numerous images and newspaper accounts in the Lake City and Goodhue County Historical Society archives — images that enable the documentary film to depict Red Wing and Lake City, Lake Pepin, the National Guard encampment and the people of the area as they appeared in the 1890s.

In addition to setting the scene, the video is able to complete the story with photos of the aftermath and memorial events.

An experienced videographer, Threinen retired after 20 years with KSTP-TV and now lives in Lake City. For the past few years he has been doing video projects for the Lake City Historical Society and area individuals interested in family histories.

“I do historical programs of local interest,” Threinen said. “I take old photos and bring them back to life” by stringing them together to help tell a story. “They’re part of our history,” he explained.

Completed projects include the story of Old Frontenac, a first episode on famous Lake City people and a piece on the Turkey River All-Stars, banjo music and the river.

He was working on his third Lake City project with Bob Norberg at that city’s historical group when he came across the Sea Wing story and decided to create a video about that event alone. Learning that Johnson was bringing out a new book, he teamed with the author. Johnson wrote and narrated the script.

The video is scheduled to be released this week. Copies will be available in Red Wing at the Goodhue County Historical Society and in Lake City at the Pearl Button Factory and other locations. Cost for the 40-minute video, which also will be available in Blu-Ray, is $20.

Plans are being made for showings of the Sea Wing video in both Red Wing and Lake City.