Steamboat Photos, Page 16


Page 144 from:

J.R. Hildebrand, "Cotton: Foremost Fiber of the World." National Geographic, 74, 2 (February 1941): 137-185


Attached lucky find on eBay . . . an original "cabinet card" photo of the CAPE GIRARDEAU 3.70 x 4.60 inches. The man standing next to the bell was not identified. The focus is a bit soft on the pilot house but the bell and stacks are sharp.

Cape Girardeau (Packet, 1901-1910)
Ran on the Mississippi River
Way's Packet Directory Number 0827:
Built at Madison, Indiana 1851, as War Eagle; rebuilt at the Carondelet ways, St. Louis, Missouri 1901 and renamed Cape Girardeau.

She had red-painted smokestacks and was known as the "Red Stack Cape."

Owned by the Eagle Packet Company, she ran regularly in the St. Louis-Cape-Commerce trade, Captain Willam H. "Buck" Leyhe master.

She sank while en route from Commerce to St. Louis, Missouri, after hitting a hidden obstruction and was lost at Turkey Island 50 miles above St. Louis, Missouri July 11, 1910.

The total loss of cargo was estimated at $60,000; no insurance.


A dinky little snapshot from a scrapbook 2.80 x 3.70 of the S.L. ELAM at a landing on the Red River or the Ouachita River.

Whoever wrote in white pencil under the photo on the black page in the album probably hadn't heard the word "paddlewheel" before because they described it simply as "Old Time Propeller"

S. L. ELAM (Packet, 1913-circa 1918)

Built 1913 at Slidell, Louisiana

Originally owned by the Carter Brothers

Fred Way's Packet Directory Number 4897:

Originally had a patented Kidney boiler which was replaced in 1915 with three return-flue boilers.

Named for Judge Elam of Natchez, Mississippi.

She ran on the Red River at first and later she ran on the Ouachita between New Orleans, Louisiana and Camden, Arkansas.

In December 1915 she snagged and sank in the lower Red River.

She made one trip, Pittsburgh-Cincinnati, under the name S.L. ELAM after being sold to the Liberty Transit Company in 1918.

She was then rebuilt and renamed General Wood


From John Fryant to Dave Thomson, August 13, 2015:
Dave, Fascinating photo! The big wooden bulkheads out on the head of the boat aroused my curiosity but then I realized that they were "wooding up" the boat and those were removable bulkheads normally placed along each side of the boiler area to form the "firebox" where the fuel was stored. But the big surprise to me was the wooden arch structure on the port side extending from the main deck up through the boiler deck. She had hog frames! I've only ever seen these on larger deep-water craft on the Great Lakes and coastal waters. This is a first for me. Never thought I would see this type of construction of a shallow draft sternwheeler. Well, ya learn something every day. The pilothouse roof is interesting too. Looks sort of like a standing seam metal roof. And the little weather-vane tops on the stove pipes must have kept the smoke blowing downwind.
Thanks for sharing.
John Fryant

Excellent 7.20 x 8.50 original albumen photo of the ELLEN HARDY mounted on card stock Written on verso: "Holmes Kaysar's (Keyser's) Boat" at Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin River 1870

ELLEN HARDY (1867-1888)
Sternwheel Packet
Built 1867 at Faxon, Minnesota
M.H. Keyser and Company of La Crosse, Wisconsin 1869; of Prairie du Sac, 1881
First home port, St. Paul, Minnesota. In the Minnesota river trade 1867-68
Abandoned in 1888

Officers: Captain Captain A. Russell (master, 1868); Captain Hardy (master, 1869); Jacob H. Hinderman (master); A. Baldwin (master, November 1881)




A selection of the three best images from a group of 3 x 4 snapshots apparently taken by a passenger.


Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 0432

Built at Madison, Indiana 1898

Mississippi River; Ohio River; Missouri River; Cumberland River; Illinois River

Much of the equipment came from the D. H. PIKE.

Owned by the Eagle Packet Company and ran principally St. Louis - Illinois River, although in latter years St. Louis-Cape Girardeau commerce.

Ran St. Louis - Fort Madison, in 1929.

She was sold to a contracting company for use as a quarter boat on the Missouri River.

This was her last use before she broke in two and sank in the Missouri River in 1934.


Paramount News
St. Louis MO.
Sternwheelers were not made for Arctic use but this one is making the attempt to navigate the ice choked Mississippi river before navigation became impossible. The photo shows the workman chopping ice from the paddlewheel as the river boat attempts to ford her way thru the ice.


One of the stranger "caught in the act" photos of a sternwheeler from Murphy Library. This is the gas boat HANOVER on the Alabama River.

Looks like the diving boy just above the sternwheel could have been launched from the boat with "help" from a "friend." A knock out punch delivered from behind? Note that 3 of boys in the middle of the boat were watching, so were witnesses to that "dive."

A head first dive that close to shore could be dangerous if the water was too shallow.

The HAVOVER had a lot of style for a little gas boat. Charming capture of bygone days. Undated photo, possibly early 1900's.


BOAT DESCRIPTION: Sternwheel/Gas boat
RIVERS: Alabama River
Packets--Alabama River
Neg. 11564
UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs

Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Steamboat Collection Photographs


Photo of mini-pilot wheel manufactured by HUCK FINN Incorporated of Minneapolis Minnesota. This would fit on a pontoon boat or some other small craft. Measures 15 inches across, got it on eBay from a dealer in Niceville, Florida . . . the town's name would lend itself to be a title for a T.V. series about a superhero's boyhood hometown.

The metal portion originally had an aluminum finish, I had it copper plated, gave it a patina & re-stained the handles. Want to mount it on a circular wooden plaque for display eventually.


Concept of a sidewheel steamboat reduced to basic shapes as a child's pull toy, hand made of wood and painted. Circa 1970's. 12 1/4 inches long, 9 1/2 inches tall, 4 1/2 inches wide. Proportions of components in the model relied on "artistic license" rather than being "true to life." I posed the toy with some wooden display type, flipped the photo into a mirror image so the lettering would read correctly. Toy is symmetrical so it wasn't compromised when it became a "reflection." Pilot wheel from the PEERLESS against the wall behind the objects.

SUWANEE Greenfield Village Winter Very Cool

A note by the photographer who took this picture:

The River Paddle Steamer Suwanee - Photo taken at Henry Ford Museum's Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan, 2004. It is a digital infrared photograph taken with a 720 nano-meter infrared filter, which renders a dream like quality to the image. The photograph was a 1st place winner in the Detroit News Images of Michigan Photography contest in 2007. Photographer - P. Into

Sadly, the Suwanee which was in service at the Henry Ford Museum's Greenfield Village since 1930 was dismantled and scrapped in 2011.

Prints are available from the photographer at his site:


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*