The first steamboat to make its way upriver to the Dalles of the St. Croix was the Palmyra. It had been chartered in 1838 to carry men, and supplies to construct a sawmill at St. Croix Falls. Steamboats were used to push rafts of logs down stream and to carry passengers and freight.
A large number of the best boats on the Upper Mississippi as well as those that navigated the St. Croix were built in St. Croix valley river towns—nearly every town can be credited with building at least one steamboat, if not many more. River business began falling off when the first iron horse entered the valley in 1870.