Steamboat Photos, Page 3


From old real photo P.C.

On verso it's post marked 14 Aug 1907 Paducah. addressed to Miss Ruth (something), McKinney, KY.

On front is written:

This is where I live on Cumberland River—you can see the crew of the Str Rowena on Top. AGJ (?)

on back is written:

I think there will be a Lion in your city soon but don't get scared & run too quick. I like this run fine have plenty of young ladies (something, something)

Boat facts:

Rowena (1904 - 1931)
owned first by Burnside & Burnsville Packet Co.
owned last by Cumberland Transportation Co.
Ran on upper Cumberland also on the Ohio River during low water seasons.
In 1917 ran Louisville-Evansville


Sharp snapshot of the ALABAMA at the St. Louis levee with a "Texas" deck added which elevated the roof of the pilot house to a level only a short distance below the top of the stacks.

ALABAMA (Packet, 1912-1934)
Built at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, 1912
Rebuilt into a quarter boat in 1934
St. Louis and Tennessee River Packet Company
Captain J. O. Tayon
Ohio, Tennessee & Mississippi rivers

Way's Directory - 0096; Ran the Paducah-Shiloh trade in 1929, the last regular steam packet on the Tennessee River. Was in the Cincinnati-Louisville trade under charter to the Louisville and Cincinnati Packet Company, in spring of 1931. Chartered to George Partin, Memphis, in 1932 for the Memphis-Caruthersville trade. Was retired soon after and made into a quarter boat

FallsCityHighBridgeKY Kentucky River HALF

Ye ol' FALLS CITY passing under Kentucky's imaginatively named High Bridge on the Kentucky River.

Brief background from Jessamine County tourism site: jessamineco.com "When the bridge was built in 1877 it was the highest railroad trestle in the world and the first cantilever bridge in North America and the highest bridge over a navigable stream until the early 20th century. It towers about 280 feet over the Kentucky River Palisades."


The sternwheeler FORT SUTTER: 1,139 tons, 219.2 feet, was built for the overnight passenger trade between San Francisco and Sacramento.

The FORT SUTTER was built by Schultze, Robertson & Schultze Ship Builders at San Francisco and launched there in 1912.

Both the FORT SUTTER and the CAPITAL CITY (which was built in 1910) had the distinction of being built with private baths which was a first in luxurious passenger comfort on the Sacramento River

In 1927 the DELTA KING and DELTA QUEEN replaced the FORT SUTTER and CAPITAL CITY in the overnight passenger service trade between Sacramento and San Francisco.

In 1942 the FORT SUTTER was drafted for troop transport in San Francisco Bay along with the DELTA KING & DELTA QUEEN; the ISLETON which was renamed the ARMY QUEEN, the PORT OF STOCKTON (formerly the CAPITAL CITY) and the CROCKETT (formerly the H.J. CORCORAN).

For a while, the FORT SUTTER was a floating bistro on Threemile Slough, then later burned on the beach in San Francisco, on a date yet to be determined.

The three boats in the distance to the left of the Fort Sutter are the J.D. PETERS (BUILT 1889), the GRIMES (a small utility boat used to haul materials around the harbor for the shipyards) and the celebrated CAPTAIN WEBER (built in 1892) which went on to play Mississippi and Ohio River steamboats in the period films THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, SWANEE RIVER, DIXIE and THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN

steamboat photo

You've got to love the old J.B. Bassett, she has a picturesque and unpretentious working boat quality to her that is ingratiating.

Her owners name sounds like it should be adopted by a trendy new brewery: The Mississippi and Rum River Boom Co.

The Mississippi River field guide web site has a capsule history of the company which is informative.


submitted by: Steve Lee

The Mississippi and Rum River Boom Co.

Location: River Mile 859.70 - On Both Banks

At about Lyndale and 56th North was an operation area of the Mississippi & Rum River Boom Company.

Northern Minnesota loggers cut trees and floated logs down the tributaries and the Mississippi to the sawmills at St. Anthony (Minneapolis). Of course logs of the different logging companies got all mixed together. Each log was stamped on its ends with the company's brand.

The St. Anthony Boom Company and the Mississippi Boom Company were chartered to sort logs into the correct "booms" for the various companies.

A boom is a string of chained logs that channel and corral floating logs. The companies received 40-50 cents per thousand logs sorted.

These two companies merged into the Mississippi and Rum River Boom Company in 1856. Their operations extended up the river to Monticello.

J.B. Bassett HALF size

Another photo of the J.B. Bassett. The rig on the front of the boat looks like it might be a pile driver to pound wharf pilings into the river bed etc.

recent acquisitions

A favorite photo on the Library of Congress Digital Images collection.

Sternwheeler Belle of Calhoun on the left and sidewheeler Belle of the Bends on the right. This looks like the landing at Memphis, Tennessee on the Mississippi.

recent acquisitions

A fisherman and his family aboard their tiny shanty boat on the Mississippi below the RR bridge at Louisiana, MO (first big town south of Hannibal).

Post marked Oct 29th 1914 by the Louisiana, MO post office.

Hand written message on verso:

"Would have pictured the entire family - but the other six members were asleep in the spare room and I did not like to disturb them."

(signed W. R. C.)

recent acquisitions


The town of Louisiana may have issued licenses to these small craft . . . above the door behind Mama are the letters and numbers WA113R.

Cliff Edwards (voice of Jiminy Cricket) was from upriver in Hannibal where his father was a fisherman. Some of the Edwards clan may have lived aboard a shanty boat like this at some point while living along the river.

According to one historian I knew in Hannibal, the father of Cliff Edwards was fishing in his "waders" in the shallows near the Missouri shore where he fell into a "sink hole" not visible under the opaque river water and he was consequently held under by the current and drowned before he could be rescued.

"Dangerous waters" on the Mississippi whether along the shore or out in the deep channels.


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.*