Steamboat Illustrations, Page 1


Twin octagonal cigar box labels 4 1/4 inches square. I got the GREAT MARK (Sam Clemens) first a long time ago and GREAT MISSISSIPPI some years later. They appear to be around vintage 1910 or thereabouts.


Spectacular poster-style cover for a 1915 Streckfus travel brochure promoting their trips on the Upper Mississippi. The artist painted the steamboat in a way that gives it a 3 dimensional effect, out of the monitor and onto your keyboard! If you've got enough Streckfus related material in my wing of the museum you can use this as the introductory illustration and the others following it.

On the Mississippi: Novel Vacation Travel Between St. Louis and St. Paul, 1915 Issued by the Passenger Department Streckfus Steamboat Lines


Michael Blaser's painting entitled MEETING BELOW THE BEND of the big towboat SPRAGUE and the packet EVANSVILLE.


The landscape is more Central or South America with mountains, what looks more like a lake than a river, palm trees and exotic little cabanas. The cattle or maybe they're all bulls don't remind me bovine stock in the USA but that's not an area of expertise to me.


2.20 inch pin back button made for Winona, MINN's 34th annual Steamboat Days, June/July 1981


Detail of a 1943 calendar for J.R. Watkins liniment (that is still being made and sold today).

Winona, Minnesota on the Mississippi River is the headquarters of the Watkins company.

I've been to Winona several times and there are indeed beautiful bluffs there along the river just as seen in the distance in the painting.

The "modern city" inside the smoke from the steamboats stacks in the graphic must be a reminder of how the liniment was still as beneficial in 1943 as it was in 1868 when it was first introduced to folks who needed relief from their aches and pains.



Making Tow Detail DQ at Cave in Rock with Insert of Full Image

CAVE-IN-ROCK Making Tow, by Michael Blaser

Most casual observers have no idea that a Line Boat out in the river actually runs from one fleeting area to the next. Like a waterborne freight yard, she sits midstream while switch boats add on or remove empty barges. The time period of this painting is in the mid 1980's. Shown is the operation of Making Tow. Edition Size: 600 Signed and numbered lithograph Image Size: 16" x 32" plus borders

Here's some history of the Cave which you may have heard Riverlorians on the DQ mention:

The notorious bandits the Harpe brothers used Cave-in-Rock as headquarters and a trap for hapless flatboaters floating south circa 1800 who were tricked into assuming that the Harpes were extending and invitation to hospitality instead of robbery and murder. The Cave was used as a location in several movies about Ohio River pirates . . including Disney's saga of Davy Crockett and Mike Fink battling the pirates. In MGM's HOW THE WEST WAS WON Jimmy Stewart is lured into the pirates' trap.

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Circa 1864 bill o' fare (menu) for the ADAM JACOBS. Damned expensive but fulfilled a life long ambition to own a sure 'nuff steamboat bill o' fare. Inside the date and some of the courses like desserts are left blank so someone on board must've used a letter press to complete the "form" each day.

Way's Packet Directory
SW p wh b. Brownsville, Pa., 1864. 231 x 36 x 6. Engines 26's- 7 ft. Four boilers.
Was in Gen. Grant's fleet on Tennessee River. Named for Capt. Adam Jacobs, Brownsville, Pa. Machinery built by John Snowden & Son, Brownsville. Entered St. Louis-Memphis trade as an independent boat, September 1864. Became one of the early Anchor Line fleet. Dismantled in 1874 and machinery went to STE. GENEVIEVE of the Anchor Line.

Excerpt from
Natchez on the Mississippi:
by Harnett T. Kane
William Morrow & Company
New York, 1947
pages 295-96, Opening of Chapter 28


The crew and officers of one of the tinseled river steamers had been noticing something they could not explain. In one of the best cabins, nearly two months earlier, an elderly, jovial-mannered individual had taken passage at Natchez. Arriving at New Orleans, he announced that he would not get off, but remain until they reached St. Louis. At St. Louis he gave notice that he would stay on until they arrived back in New Orleans; and so it went.

The old fellow wasn't a gambler; that they knew, because they could spot the brotherhood a vessel's length away. He wasn't a thief or a murderer; he smiled along, talking, offering cigars, buying toddies, sitting around with the rest of the passengers. Still, they were disturbed by this phenomenon. Finally the captain had to do something. With several mumbled apologies, he brought up the subject.

His guest's answer became historic.

"Of course, sir, I'll tell you."
"It's the finest way to pleasure myself that I know."
"No hotel in America can equal this."
"The finest food—your wild game, your glazed fish, your roasts, sauces and pastry!"
The gourmet purred.
"My cabin—it's as finely equipped, as well decorated, as any room I've enjoyed in my life."
"The bar, the cabin, the promenade—nothing to match 'em, I tell you."
"And the company! I meet all my friends, the best people in the world."
"Why should I want to leave?"

The captain, pink with pride, bought the man a drink. The incident went the rounds, but the explanation brought little surprise. Everybody agreed the man was right.


"Old Hickory Whisky" ad


With the exception of images credited to certain institutions,
most of the images on this page are from a private collection.
Please request permission before reproducing our images in any publication.*