Steamboat Photos, Page 7
In this photo of Henry Ford's SUWANEE out of the water & being worked on, the paddlewheel appears to be on backwards. The "buckets" (boards) should have been strapped on the opposite way than they are in the photo. The way they are attached would be logical if the boat moved mostly backwards most of the time but not forward.
John Fryant concurred about the paddlewheel:
"Someone goofed and either got the buckets on backwards, or they put the whole wheel on backwards, as you suspected."
An April 9, 1989 DETROIT Michigan NEWS photo captioned:
"Greenfield Village carpenters Alan Dobies (kneeling) and Dennis Morrison work on the starboard brace supporting the sternwheel on the steamboat SUWANEE."
During the late 1920's and early 1930's Henry Ford moved historical buildings from all over the United States (and one from England) and reconstructed them on a 90 acre meadow/pasture/prairie at Dearborn, Michigan. Among these structures is Thomas Edison's original laboratory from Menlo Park, New Jersey and the Wright Brothers' cycle shop from Dayton, Ohio where they began assembling their first airplane.
A gentleman who calls himself Historical Ken has created a blog called "Greenfield Village Open-Air Museum: A personal tribute to the finest open-air museum anywhere" which he first posted on July 8, 2008.
Below are excerpts from Ken's history of the Suwanee.
"Thomas Edison, while in Florida, would travel the waterways on a boat named SUWANEE, a 19th century steamer. The boat sank and all that Henry Ford could salvage was the engine. In 1929 Ford brought the boat's one-time captain, Conrad Menge, to Dearborn to help in the re-building of the boat which would operate at Greenfield Village.
In March 1937, Ford dredged a loop of the Rouge River to create a circular Suwanee Lagoon.
The steamboat sat idle much of the time, however, but, gradually, this icon of 19th century Americana gained in popularity and proved to be one of the most popular rides in the Village.
A River Rouge flood nearly destroyed the old boat in 1968. The flood waters seriously damaged the hall and part of the decks. But, in 1969, it underwent reconstruction and, by spring of 1970, was up and running once again.
After the summer of 2004, the SUWANEE was idle once again - then, during the winter of 2011, the old girl was taken apart, board by board."
. . . and here's the SUWANEE on Greenfield Village's "lagoon" . . .
Suwanee, Greenfield Village.
Attached scan of an original framed albumen print of Captain Cooley's AMERICA loaded with cotton that I purchased from Dave Dugas in his Le Petit Solider antique shop on Royal Street in October, '89.
The Sprague, circa 1905 (she was built in 1902 at Dubuque). Biggest paddlewheel towboat ever, hull 276 feet long, and with the paddle wheel, 318 feet.
Charleston Daily Mail
Charleston, West Virginia
Monday, January 29, 2007
LOCAL HISTORIAN NOTES LANDMARK CRAFT, HOME OF OLD GENERAL SEAFOOD
This historic Charleston riverfront photograph was among a group of 45 recently purchased by California steamboat aficionado Dave Thomson.
The Sun Valley, Calif., resident collects model boats, photographs, documents and various other steamboat paraphernalia.
The Web site steamboats.com offers pictures from his collection.
When someone suggested this photo was of the Charleston, W.Va., riverfront, Thomson offered it to the Daily Mail for publication.
Local historian Richard Andre called this 1921 shot "a very interesting photo from an unusual vantage point."
"It was taken from the Ward ship yard and shows a riverboat pilot's cabin in the foreground while across the Kanawha River the rear of buildings along the Kanawha Boulevard live up to their reputation as eyesores."
Thomson says a close-up scan of the photo reveals the name "Edward's Moonlight" on the largest boat in front of the Union Building.
That's the same boat that in recent years served as a floating restaurant tied up at South Charleston's Riverwalk Plaza.
Now it has been pulled east to the Trojan Landing near the Patrick Street Bridge and is being renovated, again for use as a restaurant.
It was built in the late 1920s by Capt. Annis Boggs.
The spot where it is docked in the photo was known as Boggs' Landing.
It was towed by the Shamrock 2, the sternwheeler to the left of Edward's Moonlight.
Through the 1920s and 30s, the boat was used for dance cruises on the Kanawha River.
It was first called simply "Moonlight" and later rechristened "Edward's Moonlight" in honor of Boggs' son.
From the years of World War II through the mid 1980s, "Edward's Moonlight" was used for business purposes.
For many years it was leased by Amherst Industries and used as a dispatch barge.
Andre said the building with a row of windows just left of the Union Building is an old Army barracks donated to the Red Cross during World War I.
The Security Building is visible in the middle, and the Kanawha Banking and Trust tower can be seen to the left.
Also on the river at the levee is a wharf boat that served as a warehouse where steamboats could leave freight for local merchants, he said.
"This photo makes it obvious why the Boulevard was so welcome in 1940," Andre said.
In contrast, the recent river view photograph was shot by Daily Mail photographer Tom Hindman.
Attached is the best of 5 photos taken aboard the ROSE HITE and at Donora, PA on the Monongahela that I won on eBay. I love "Captain" Edna Walker's prim pose with sweet face and features which finally dawned on me resembled Drew Barrymore's.
Am sure this was just a "gag" where she borrowed the Captain's cap for the picture. She moved her left shoulder a bit which resulted in a blur on the sleeve of her blouse. Love the fashions of those days.
This just in, letterhead for the WHITE STAR LINE Steamboat Co. which ran on the Coosa River with headquarters in Rome, Georgia. The Coosa River's headwaters are in northeast at Rome, Georgia at the confluence of the Oostanaula and Etowah rivers. Most of the length of the Coosa runs diagonally from northeast to southwest in the upper right quadrant of the state of Alabama.
The following is from Wikipedia:
The Coosa River played an important role into the early 20th century as a commercial waterway for riverboats along the upper section of the river for 200 miles south of Rome. However, shoals and waterfalls such the Devil's Staircase along the river's lowest 65 miles blocked the upper Coosa's riverboats from access to the Alabama River and the Gulf of Mexico.
3 1/2 X 4 1/2 snap shot circa 1920's on what looks a ferry boat, perhaps crossing the Mississippi in Louisiana from New Orleans to Algiers.
Written in bottom margin: "Bobby & His Mother Sailin' Down the Missis(sippi)" tail end of last word cut off with missing corner lower right.
If anyone recognizes this boat or thinks that it may belong on a river other than the Mississippi I'd be glad to hear from them.
It's possible that whoever wrote the caption was just joking about this being on the Mississippi.
Mother looks a little annoyed and Bobby not much pleased either.
As if they were saying to the photographer "Choose your words carefully before you speak to us again Mister!"
Behatted and besuited gents seated on the bench further down the deck.
A metal awning extends out over the side from the deck above which probably provided shade on sunshiny days.
The spirit of America at Covington, Kentucky, in 1990. Photos by Dave Thomson were featured by Fred Way in The S&D Reflector, December 1990, in black and white. The boat (sans engines) is now the Alton Belle at Alton, Illinois.
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.*