NEBRASKAland October 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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NSHS RG2341-337 S S NSHS NSHS NSHS G RG2 RG2 RG2341 341 341-33 337 337 337 OCTOBER 2017 • NEBRASKAland 13 rounding the bank, [he] stood erect in the water, his body half out, and taking a bugle which hung from his miniature vessel, he blew a blast, long and loud. A moment afterwards he took from the same depository two detonating rockets, which he sent up from his hands, lighting them from his cigar ... Cheer after cheer went up, and the enthusiasm was perfectly unbounded." Boyton's trip downriver was far from easy. He complained to the Bee of the Missouri's quicksand, its "blue mud, soft and sticky like glue," and of shots fired at him by a party of hunters near Blair. His short stay in Omaha was marred by the death of a spectator, who after shouting that he could swim as well as Boyton, jumped into the Missouri and drowned. Boyton and Creelman eventually covered the more than 1,600 miles from Glendive to St. Louis in just 64 days. After his swimming days ended, Boyton found new outlets for his considerable energies. In 1894 he opened an early amusement park, Paul Boyton's Water Chutes, in Chicago, and later, an amusement park at Coney Island. He died on April 19, 1924, in Long Island, New York. ■ Visit the Nebraska State Historical Society's website at Above: Omaha's riverfront during the Missouri River flood of April 1881, six months before Paul Boyton's swim.

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