Steamboat Photos, Page 6


A favorite from La Crosse of the sidewheel packets MILWAUKEE and KEY CITY circa 1862 The delicacy of the gingerbread on the MILWAUKEE's boiler deck is beautiful.

Sidewheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 3936
Built in 1857 at Cincinnati, Ohio

Owned by the Minnesota Packet Company
Ran the Prairie du Chien-St. Paul line 1857-1859
the Dunleith-St. Paul line 1860-1861
the Dunleith trade in 1861, off the lists in 1870

Sidewheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 3278
Built in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1857
First home port was Dubuque, Iowa
inspected at Galena, 5th district report, 1867
a twin to the ITASCA, their parts were interchangeable.
Owned by the Galena and Minnesota Packet Company (a.k.a. the Minnesota Packet Company, 1857
Northwestern Union Packet Company, 1864

She ran Galena-Dunleith-St. Paul and according to one source, was the first boat through Lake Pepin.

In a collision with the sternwheel packet BEN COURSIN at the mouth of the Black River, near La Crosse, Wisconsin, August 24, 1857, the COURSIN sank with the loss of seven lives.

The KEY CITY arrived at Madison, Indiana for dismantling on December 6, 1869.


Towboat CONTROL at Vicksburg 1930

Here is a neat image with fine contrast of the impressive towboat CONTROL, enhanced from a La Crosse photo. Taken at Vicksburg, Mississippi on the Mississippi River the in 1930.

CONTROL Sternwheel Towboat

Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T0498

Built in 1905 by Howard at Jeffersonville, Indiana as the SCIMITAR II; renamed 1906

OWNERS: U.S. Engineering Department, Vicksburg District (1906); Captain George Prince (1940) In 1921 a new steel hull was built for her by Dravo at Neville Island, Pennsylvania. She was towed to Vicksburg where the old upper works, machinery, etc. were placed on it.
In March 1932 she and the C.W. Howell went up the Yazoo River to Silver City, Mississippi—the first steamboats to do so for many years; work was underway there in closing a breached crevasse. In February 1941, Captain Prince sold her to parties in Harvey, Louisiana who dismantled her.

Captain Benjamin Bernstein, master, 1929; S.M. Bigby, chief engineer, 1929; Captain Sam F. Haney, master, 1932; Frank Burdick and Robert Young pilots, 1932.


Photo I took in the 90s of one of my favorite signs (the one on the bottom that says MISSISSIPPI RIVER DOCKS & RAMP) which was on the river's edge at Canton, Missouri which is 37 miles north of Hannibal. I usually took the old 2 lane stretch of 61 so I could see the river and the small communities of La Grange and Canton during my drives north to Keokuk, Iowa where the towboat GEO. M. VERITY is on display.

Finally some years back when I made my pilgrimage the small River sign under the Phillips 66 sign had vanished, probably "harvested" by someone as a coveted piece of vintage highway and river ephemera.

Short history of Canton below from the Santa Fe Trail research site:


Here on the Mississippi River, where wooded hills rise above the plains along the river, Edward White, Robert Sinclair, and Isaac Bland founded Canton, probably named for Canton, Ohio, in February of 1830. On the pioneer Salt River Trail, the town by 1860 was a thriving river port and trade center for the upper Salt River Country. A rival town, Tully, laid out adjacent to Canton, 1834, declined after the flood of 1851 and disappeared when Federal Lock and Dam No. 20 were built in the 1930's. During the Civil War, the countryside suffered from raids and recruiting sorties by Confederate and Union troops.

In the period after the war, Canton recovered its economic standing with the coming of the St. Louis, Keokuk, and Northwestern R.R. (now Burlington) in 1871.

Culver-Stockton College, founded by the Disciples of Christ here, 1853, as Christian University, is famed for having the first college charter in Missouri to assure equal education to men and women.

The present name, adopted, 1917, honors Mary E. Culver and R.H. Stockton, school benefactors.

Canton is the first town founded in the fertile Mississippi River county organized in 1833 and named for Meriwether Lewis.

Settled by Southern pioneers as early as 1819, Lewis County lies in territory ceded the U.S. by Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes, 1824.

Westward is Montcello, the seat of Lewis County, laid out on the North Fabius, 1833. La Grange, south on the Mississippi, early river port and meat packing town, was laid out in April, 1830, near the mouth of the Wyaconda where Godfrey Le Seur is said to have had a trading post by 1795. Baptist Hannibal-La Grange College was chartered there as La Grange College, 1859.


Excellent quality original 8 x 10 received October 2016.

Sternwheel/Diesel Towboat
Built in 1925 for the Nashville Bridge Company

In the background on the left:
Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 2487
Built in 1918 at Paducah, Kentucky
Owned by Captains W.L. Berry and Fred McCandless (Nashville Navigation Company)
Her engines were from the RAPIDS
She was named for a wholesale grocery owner in Nashville.
Ran Paducah-Nashville.
During the 1927 flood she was beached across a highway at Wooddale Grove above Nashville
In 1935 her engines went to the BARBARA HUNT

In the background on the right:
Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 3025
Built in 1913 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yard
Owned by Captain Tom Ryman, Jr. and others in the Nashville Navigation Company; later owned by Captain Pete Lee

Owner Tom Ryman, Jr. was shot and killed on board near Hunter's Landing, Tennessee in the fall of 1915; Captain Wilson Montgomery was the assailant. She ran on the Cumberland River. In May 1922 she made a special trip to Burnside, Kentucky. She was sold, converted into an excursion boat and renamed the VALLEY QUEEN circa 1926


Towboat ARKLA

Just received today (8 Sept 2016). Much sharper than pictured on auction site and scanned up nicely. Perhaps taken at an Arkla Lumber Co. riverside facility or a boatyard. A quaint and picturesque image.

Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T0163

Sternwheel towboat

Originally the GRADY built at Franklin, Louisiana 95 x 20 x 3.4
Had been named H.H. WIGGIN before becoming the ARKLA after being purchased by the Arkla Lumber Co. circa 1925.

She burned on the Bayou Teche on June 16, 1934 at Patterson, Louisiana during the height on a severe storm which caused great damage all along the lower Mississippi and Louisiana bayou regions.

Jim Hale made some observations about my photo of the Towboat ARKLA which I responded to and shared them with model maker John Fryant who supported some of my speculations.

Jim Hale's observations inspired me to speculate that perhaps the ARKLA was at this boat yard for maintenance, modifications or upgrades. A sort of "work in progress."

Jim Hale's comments from Sept 10th:


John Fryant's comments from Sept 25th:

Dave, Regarding your photo of the ARKLA. I agree that she is being worked on. The frame over the pilothouse was no doubt a temporary fixture. Note the front port hog chain post: There are two short wooden strips extending from the top of it, probably put there to keep the iron rod from slipping off. This tells me that the hog chains wee being repaired of replaced. Perhaps the large wood frame was a part of this operation.

This photo perhaps taken at an Arkla Lumber Co. riverside facility or a boatyard. A quaint and picturesque image.

Savannah River Dredge MACON & the WILEY L. MOORE 55 percent

Attached was apparently taken during the 1930's sometime at Savannah or Augusta, Georgia on the Savannah River.

The dredge MACON is on left, the little sternwheeler WILEY L. MOORE, Port of Augusta is on the right.

Looks like a ceremony was about to take place on the barge attached to the front of the MACON since there are American flags displayed.

Suppose this could have been on the 4th of July or the launching of the MACON which looks just about brand new and folks are visiting on board.

Lots of gents dressed in white, must've been summer time. There are not too many ladies or children visible.

Some discoloration upper left and upper right suggests the negative suffered some chemical damage in processing before it was printed.

Perhaps some folks who live in Savannah or Augusta could shed some light on exactly where, when and what was going on in this picture.

Flying Eagle and Barge Steve Chou Collection HALF exp

Best photo ever taken of the Flying Eagle from the collection of Steve Chou who is the most successful collector of Hannibal, Missouri memorabilia.

Flying Eagle (Packet, 1888-1903)
BUILT: 1888 at Rock Island, Illinois, the Kahlke yard .
Formerly the rafter IRENE D.
Sank on June 3, 1903
Owned by Tom Adams
Officers and crew: Tom Adams (master in 1903); Frank Slater (pilot in 1903); Thomas Boland (Captain); Charles Campbell (mate in 1903)

She was operated as an excursion boat out of Quincy, Illinois with room for extra passengers in a barge named LITTLE CATE which was lashed to her port side.

The photo is from the collection of Steve Chou who has amassed the biggest private collection of Hannibal, Missouri photographs and memorabilia.

The following is from THE STORY OF HANNIBAL by Hurley and Roberta Hagood (1976):

The Flying Eagle—Hannibal's Steamboat Disaster:

The Park Methodist Church sponsored a steamboat excursion for its members and other interested persons. A Sunday School class, consisting of Sadie Conlon, Aileen Davidson, Marguerite Rightmire, Laura. Mae McClure, Rose Eichenberger,

Katie Eichenberger, Mable Orr, Adele Tucker, Theresa Zimmerman, Sylvia Collins, Lena Ober, Fanny Ober, Miriam Boulware, Lonnie B. Curts, Frances Kabler, Miss Olive Orr and Mrs. J. A. Swinney, made the arrangements and 176 tickets were sold.

The Flying Eagle, often used for such excursions, was chartered for June 3, 1903.

The Flying Eagle had a double decked barge secured to its side for expanding space, making additional room for the passengers.

The barge, enclosed at the lower level, had most of the passengers on it. Friends and spectators were at the ferry landing as the boat cast off. The river had been at flood level of 22 feet during the seasonal run-off and was still high. It was a rainy day.

The Wabash Bridge, in 1903, pivoted at a span farther out in the river than now. The current ran on the east side of the opening span. As the Flying Eagle approached the bridge, the waters tugged at it and caught it, turning it partially crosswise to the current. The captain and the pilot both strained at the pilot's wheel to turn the boat and were unsuccessful. With a crash, the stern slammed into the pier. The barge, loaded with frightened passengers, swung slowly to the opposite side of the pier, and the two hung there temporarily. The bridge operator closed the draw span against the Flying Eagle so that passengers could crawl onto it.

The cook, James Harvey, at the stern, was either stunned or killed in the first crash. His galley was demolished, his body never found.

Passengers kicked out windows and climbed to the top of the pier against which the barge was precariously caught. The shoulder of the pier was a foot and a half above the top deck of the barge and women, children, and men frantically scrambled to safety.

A group of Wabash painters working on the bridge assisted the passengers.

The Flying Eagle was pinned on the west side of the pier and the barge on the east side. Water was pouring into a large hole in the boat's hull and she began to sink. As water covered the first deck, then the second, people rushed to the top deck. In the meantime, the Hannibal Ferry had cut loose from its mooring and was rushing to the rescue. Someone with presence of mind, realizing the sinking boat would pull the barge to the bottom, chopped the ropes to free the barge. It started floating downstream with 40 passengers aboard. The ferry, circling behind the barge gradually nudged it ashore near Cave Hollow, and the passengers disembarked. The barge had lost a plank in the collision, just above the waterline. The ferry boat pilot cautioned those aboard to stand on the side opposite from the missing plank to keep the barge balanced and afloat until it could be beached.

When the Flying Eagle sank those still aboard were in the water. The swift current carried them downstream and they were rescued by small boats.

Phineas Bradshaw, a Negro musician, who lived in Soap Hollow pulled many ashore with his rowboat.

Lonnie B. Curts, a teenage girl, was left in the water when the boat sank, and Harry Eichenberger, who had reached the safety of the pier, jumped into the water in an effort to save her—both were drowned.

Martha Coppedge, another teenage girl, failed to reach the pier and was drowned.

FerryH&C No 1 to become MemphisQueen Smaller file

The name on the ferry boat's pilot house is H&C No. 1 which Ed Langford of Marine Supply Co. in Memphis bought from H.E. Bellinger of Tell City, Indiana who very probably knew our hero Bert Fenn.

According to the news clipping on the back of this photo from 1954, the ferry was in the process of being converted into the MEMPHIS QUEEN, the first of a fleet of Mississippi River excursion boats that would later include the BELLE CAROL, the MEMPHIS QUEEN II and the MEMPHIS QUEEN III.

The ferry looked plenty authentic in style before she was made over to suit the tourists' fantasy of what an old fashioned packet boat was like.

Additional notes are included under the photograph below.

September 5, 1954
The Commercial Appeal Memphis, Tenn


Memphis Queen To Offer Trips On Mississippi

The Memphis Queen, a diesel-powered sternwheeler, will begin operating here as a sightseeing craft in two weeks as an attraction for tourists and conventions.

Memphis, made famous in Mississippi River stories for more than a century, now has its own sternwheel harbor sightseeing boat, the Memphis Queen is anchored at the foot of Monroe.

Ed B. Langford owner of Marine Supply Co. at 628 Union, said yesterday he bought the craft partially to satisfy the curiosity of tourists who come to Memphis expecting to be able to take a ride on a river boat with a power wheel on its stern.

Mr. Langford plans to use the Memphis Queen primarily for entertaining conventions, Sunday school groups and other organizations, he said.

Powered by a Diesel Engine; the Memphis Queen is 90 feet tong and 43 feet wide.

It has a shallow draft making it a simple manner to park on a sand bar for a few hours for a party.

Remodeling work began yesterday for the two-week job of readying the boat with a second deck as a cover on each side and 10 feet forward of the pilot house.

It will have a dance floor.

From several hundred suggestions, Mr. Langford picked the name, "Memphis Queen" and will give Mrs. Joy Evans of 3000 Kingston Road a $10 prize for, submitting it.

He bought the vessel from H. E. Bellinger of Tell City, Indiana.

Ed B. Langford owns the boat, now undergoing remodeling at the foot of Monroe. -Staff Photo

A good color slide of the MEMPHIS QUEEN taken in 1974 and credited to Lynn Harris whose nickname on Flickr is "Little Red Hen" can be seen at this link:


The MEMPHIS QUEENS are presently operated my Memphis Riverboats whose link is here: memphisriverboats.net. The company history, going back to the 1960s, can be found at their website: memphisriverboats.net


Nice clean real photo post card port side view of FRED SWAIN which was built in 1900 at Stillwater, Minnesota

Owned and operated by the La Salle and Peoria Packet Company on the Illinois River

Officers & Crew: Captain Percy Swain (master early 1900s); Joseph Casrider (engineer, 1909); Captain Verne Swain (1909)

Way's Packet Directory 2146:

She departed Peoria on a regular trip in August 1909, caught fire 20 minutes later, was safely landed and 25 passengers and crew came ashore safely. Captain Verne Swain was in command at the time.

Hannibal, MO & Mark Twain Memorial Bridge River Queen Illinois Shore 1960's 75 percent

Hannibal, MO & Mark Twain Memorial Bridge River Queen Illinois Shore 1960's 75 percent.jpg

I found this photo back in the late 1990's in an antique store at Springfield, Illinois (Abe Lincoln's town) 100 miles east of Hannibal, Missouri.

At the bottom of the picture is the former GORDON C. GREENE renamed the RIVER QUEEN, moored as a tourist attraction along the Illinois shore of the Mississippi River just north of the first Mark Twain Memorial Bridge (dedicated by FDR in 1936) with Hannibal, the boyhood home of Sam Clemens, Hannibal just opposite on the Missouri side of the river. The photo was a timely discovery since it would be included in a book that local historians Hurley and Roberta Hagood were then writing entitled HANNIBAL BRIDGES THE MISSISSIPPI which gave the history of the spanning of the river at Hannibal, first by the railroad bridge further up the river in 1869 and then by the new deluxe Mark Twain Memorial highway bridge located a relatively short distance north of this location and replacing this old worn out two lane bridge in 2000.

MADISON Ferry Ladies 600DPI grayscale sharp FOR NORI

Taken aboard the ferry MADISON.

The solitary lady on the boiler deck stands next to a door with a sign above it that says FOR GENTS ONLY.

The three ladies down below have an air of mystery about them, the one on the right is reminiscent of Almira Gulch (in Kansas) who became the Wicked Witch of the West in Oz.

Fred Way's Packet Directory
built Jeffersonville, Ind., by Howard, 1892.
157.4 x 45.4 x 6.1.
She was a centerwheel ferry owned by Madison County (Illinois) Ferry Co.
Still listed 1908, maybe later.

recent acquisitions

The 1943 fire that consumed the CAPTAIN WEBER (which looked so splendid in the Stephen Foster "biopic" SWANEE RIVER) was captured dramatically in this news bureau photograph.

I scanned the teletype read-out off the back and put it below the picture.


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.*