River turns wheels of industry, stokes city’s economic engine

By Updated: April 01, 2019 10:10 PM CT | Published: March 28, 2019 12:10 PM CT
<strong>Captain Robert Smith, a boat captain for Wepfer Marine, traverses through McKellar Lake with an empty barge that will soon be loaded with goods to take down the Mississippi River. Smith has been with Wepfer for 20 years and says the river presents a new challenge every day.</strong> (Houston Cofield/Daily Memphian)

Captain Robert Smith, a boat captain for Wepfer Marine, traverses through McKellar Lake with an empty barge that will soon be loaded with goods to take down the Mississippi River. Smith has been with Wepfer for 20 years and says the river presents a new challenge every day. (Houston Cofield/Daily Memphian)

The Mississippi River has been lubricating the economic machinery of Memphis since land speculators put down stakes where a high bluff overlooked the muddy terminus of the Wolf River.

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container on barge McKellar Lake Memphis cobblestones Port of Memphis Presidents Island
Wayne Risher

Wayne Risher

Business news reporter, 43-year veteran of print journalism, 35-year resident of Memphis, University of Georgia alumnus and proud father and spouse of University of Memphis graduates.


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