Steam Boats

27 Апр 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Cranchi 43 Flybridge boat


In October of 1811 the first Steamboat started down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh. Called the New Orleans it was captained by Nicholas J. Roosevelt the brother of Theodore Roosevelt’s great grandfather. It made it to New Orleans but it’s draft proved to be too deep for the Ohio River. (The Mississippi was deep enough for it to operate there). The New Orleans sank in July of 1814 when it struck a submerged tree snag.

New Orleans replica

The non-postcard image above shows a replica of the New Orleans that was built in 1911 for the centennial celebration of the momentous event.

In 1816 Captain Henry M. Shreve piloted the first mechanically successful steamboat down the Ohio by placing the engines on deck. This permitted the George Washington to take the minimum draft necessary to clear the bottom of the Ohio River. It was capable of carrying 200 tons of cargo.

There are those who claim Captain Shreve was the person who cut his cabin up into small rooms and hit upon the idea of naming them after the states in the union, hence the name they are now called around the world, staterooms. Another version states that Nicholas Roosevelt built the luxurious steamboat George Washington in the 1830s. This steamer contained 26 rooms and since there were 26 states in the union at that time each room was given the name of a state. All rooms are numbered now but are still called staterooms.

In 1841 the cost to build a steamboat was an average of $35,000, with a daily running expense of about $200.00. A trip from Cincinnati to New Orleans and back took about 20 days. Very large cargoes were taken down river by steamboats towing the dismantled hulls of old boats. Thus the beginnings of the tow of today. By the way a barge is never towed it is pushed so it should be called a push boat, but of course it never will. Sternwheelers were better barge pushers and displaced the side-wheelers.

The majority of boats you see here are what were called packet boats. These were Steamboats that ferried passengers to specific destinations and returned. Their departure and arrival times were so accurate that they were contracted to carry the mail, thus the term mail boat was used interchangeably with packet boat. Packet boats were of two general styles. There were large side-wheel packets that were prized for their speed, maneuverability, ability to haul large numbers of people and cargo, and were preferred for the longer, regularly scheduled daily runs. The other style were the smaller side or stern wheel packets that were used for the shorter routes. They also ran the longer routes when the river level was too low for the larger packets to operate.

Some steamboat disasters, a list of some of the packet lines plus a more complete history of events on the Ohio will be found on page five.

The non-postcard drawing above shows what some of the parts of a steamboat are called.

In 1901 Albert Otto Kraemer started what would become the most prolific postcard business in this part of the country, Kraemer Postcards. He is shown on the right in one of his postcards called Good by Off for a trip on the Ohio.


The Delta Queen and her identical sister ship the Delta King — nicknamed the million dollar boats — were fabricated from 1924 to 1927 on the River Clyde at the Isherwood Yard in Glasgow, Scotland and assembled at Banner Island shipyard in Stockton, California. Their nickname was not far off the mark as each boat cost $850,000 after the cost of furnishings were added to the actual construction costs. This is compared to the average cost of $75,000 for other boats being built on the Ohio River. The boats were completed on May 20, 1927.

Construction of the Delta Queen

Ferretti 42 boat

Both boats ran between San Francisco and Sacramento on the so called Delta Route, the Sacramento — San Joaquin River Delta, which gave them their names. Both boats ran their last runs on the last day of the Golden Gate International Exposition or World Fair on Treasure Island, September 29, 1940. The Delta King (right) and the Delta Queen (left) are pictured below docked at the Stockton (California) channel, ready to take their places from their predecessors, the Fort Sutter and the Capital City, in the overnight passenger service between Sacramento and San Francisco. (not a postcard)

They ferried troops from San Francisco to troop ships until the fall of 1941 when they were returned to Stockton and were sold to the Isbrandsten Steamship Co. of New York. Both boats were to be towed to the East Coast via the Panama Canal and used as excursion boats on the Hudson River. World War II put an end to that idea. The Navy rushed both boats back into service as emergency hospital transports. Their classification was Yard House Boats, the King was YHB-6 and the Queen as YHB-7. On July 5, 1944 they were reclassified as Yard Ferry Boats, the King was YFB-55 and the Queen was YFB-56. Below you can see the battleship gray YFB-56 ferrying troops.

From April 25 to June 26, 1945 the Delta Queen took the delegates of the 51 countries that were present for the founding conference of the United Nations on sightseeing trips around San Francisco Bay. Both boats went into the mothball fleet in 1946. The King was removed from the Navy records on April 17, 1946, the Queen was removed on August 28.

If you would like to see the fate of the Delta King

The Delta Queen was Purchased by Tom Greene in 1946 and was towed thru the Panama Canal to Cincinnati, (The Queen was the only paddle wheeler to traverse the Panama Canal). The famous Captain Frederick Way Jr. was in charge of bringing the Delta Queen back to Cincinnati. After the paddle wheel had been removed a cover was built over the housing. Way had painted Delta Queen of Cincinnati on the cover but had to paint over the word Cincinnati. due to some maritime law.

Boarded up for trip Delta Queen in the Panama Canal May 10, 1947

The Greene Lines ran the Queen until 1969 when it was sold to American Classic Voyages. In 2006 the Queen was sold to Ambassadors International Inc. based in Newport Beach California. The Delta Queen called Cincinnati its home port until 1985 at which time it was moved to New Orleans. Since 1946 some of the more than half a million vacation passengers are 3 Presidents; Jimmy Carter, Herbert Hoover, and Harry Truman: Supreme Court Justices Earl Warren and William O. Douglas; Princess Margaret; Hollywood’s Marilyn Monroe, Helen Hayes and Errol Flynn. The Queen was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. In 1970 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some minor notes: the Queen was the first steamboat to have air conditioning. She is 285′ long and 60′ wide and weighs 3,360 tons. Her paddlewheel is 19′ wide and 28′ in diameter. The 2000 horsepower motor propels the boat about 10 mph. She carries 174 passengers with a crew of 80. The first two images are not postcards.

Princess 42 boat
Princess 42 boat

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