In the late 1600s, French fur traders began arriving by canoe to the St. Croix River Valley to barter trinkets with the Ojibwe and Dakota tribes in exchange for animal pelts. Traveling was arduous. In 1838, soon after the logging boom began, the first riverboat arrived. Palmyra was captained by George B. Cole. By 1858, nearly 400 steamboats docked in St. Paul while serving regional river towns. The paddleboats carried goods and also were lavish transportation for immigrants and early settlers. Colonists were thrilled to hear the welcome whistle of an approaching stern-wheeler each spring as the ice melted. Approximately 25 steamboats made stops along the St. Croix River in the 1850s. During the second half of the 19th century, train tracks were laid in increasing numbers and better roads were built. These cause the rapid demise of steamboats. You can relive these historic times by cruising on one of five steamboats operated by St. Croix Boat & Packet. Anastasia was named after Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, the daughter of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia.