Officially established in 1857, Red Wing -- a stop on many Upper Mississippi cruise itineraries -- is named after a succession of chiefs of the local Native American tribe, all called Red Wing by the white settlers. (The first chief with that name was Hupahuduta or "A Swan's Wing Dyed in Red.") The Minnesota city rose to prominence in the mid-19th century as the largest primary wheat market in the world; later its economy was driven by the pottery industry.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Red Wing on its distinctive destinations list in 2008, specifically for its "impressive architecture and enviable natural environment."
Visitors to Red Wing can tour museums dedicated to two of the city's most famous exports: Red Wing Shoes and Red Wing pottery. Pottery manufacturing in Red Wing dates back to 1877, when the Red Wing Stoneware Company was founded; it operated until 1967. The shoe company got its start in 1905, and the shoes are still sold today.