Steamboat Photo Postcards
This is a brand new real photo postcard which scanned up pretty well. John Hartford wrote an illustrated book about this incident called STEAMBOAT IN A CORNFIELD and probably a song by the same title as well. and in this photo the lookie-loos/curiosity seekers found the stranded steamer to be an irresistable tourist attraction. Imagine there were concessions selling beverages and popcorn etc. and postcards like this one must have been big sellers as well.
Here is the VIRGINIA's biography from Fred Way with detail on how she became stranded in the cornfield and eventually returned to the river.
Way's Packet Directory Number
Sternwheel Packet boat
Built Cincinnati, Ohio 1895 235 x 40 x 7 Compound condensing engines, 15's, 33 s- 7 ft. Four boilers, each 42" by 20 ft. six flues each. Built by Cincinnati Marine Railway Co. Machinery by Griffith & Wedge, Zanesville, Ohio. Built for the Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Line, construction superintended by Capt. J. Frank Ellison. Came out new on New Year's Day 1896.
She was noticed as being exceptionally quiet in operation, and we have heard Capt.William D Kimble remark that those in the office did not know whether she was in motion until they looked out the window.
She had 50 staterooms in the cabin and 10 more in the texas. Her cabin was done in white with elegant panels of a material known as Lincrusta Walton.
Also she was one of the first on the Upper Ohio to have a carbon arc searchlight contained in a glass fronted case with a reflector, called a White Squadron light imported from the Atlantic seaboard.
Paddlewheel 23 1/2 ft. diameter working 30 ft., buckets, staggered.
Had distinctive arch hogchains, an innovation later used on the QUEEN CITY KANAWHA, and others.
She had good water all 1896 and is said to have paid for herself that first season.
She struck a submerged bridge pier at Steubenville, Oh. on March 3, 1904, rupturing the hull, but prompt assistance from the local fire department and from towboats RAYMOND HORNER and IRONSIDES prevented her sinking.
She was the first packet to pass under the completed Wabash Railroad bridge, Pittsburgh, 1904 Her original fancy-topped stacks were replaced with plain 'towboat' stacks prior to April 1909 when she sank at the lower landing, Wellsville, Oh., on the 13th of that month.
The towboat RIVAL was sent down from Pittsburgh to assist but arrived too late.
The celebrated event of this boat's career came when she quit the river on the night of Mar 6, 1910 and was turned into a cornfield decoration. Captain Charles W Knox was master and Billy Anderson was pilot on watch. The river was in flood, and a landing was made at Willow Grove, West Virginia below Ravenswood to put off a passenger.
In departing, she sidled down over Williamson's submerged field and stuck.
In another week she was the Ark on Arrarat, high and dry, the river a half mile away steamboat excursions were run from St. Marys, Marietta, and Gallipolis with sightseers, and the B & O Railroad ran excursions to accommodate the curious.
The Pittsburgh contracting firm, John Eichleay Jr Co. was called in to move her back to the river, which was done, but she could not be launched because of the sandy riverbank soil.
A fortunate rise came in the Ohio River and lifted the boat back to its bosom.
The story of this epic is recounted with many photographs in the S&D Reflector issue March 1966.
Another feature story on VIRGINIA appears in the same publication s March 1973 issue, copiously illustrated.
She struck an overhead cable at the construction site of Dam 26, Ohio River Dec. 18, 1911, upbound, and knocked down her stacks and tore up the pilothouse.
After temporary repairs she continued to Pittsburgh and then returned to Pt. Pleasant, W Va., for repairs. At this time she was renamed STEEL CITY.
This is an undated photo postcard that I won in an eBay auction. On the back is penciled "From Mary Vanpattan (to) Miss Irma Carpenter Sandford, Ind." Above these girls dressed in men's clothing Mary wrote their names in pencil. Mary herself is on the right and the one in the middle is Ethel Hay. The name of the one on the left is more difficult. There's an indecipherable squiggle in front of what seems to be the last name "Broeff" This was advertised as being 3 "boys" on eBay, the seller didn't look very closely. The first thing I noticed was the high heeled shoes, then the rolled up trouser legs and outsized coats. Very cute old picture taken aboard a house boat or "shanty" boat. Must date from the early 1900's. Know this isn't steamboaty although that must be a barge right alongside there.
J.S. 1910 real photo postcard. Lots going on at the landing.
The attached postcard of the Chester is one of the weirder ones with the bevy of young ladies, were the "Marquis girls" vaudevillians or "fancy wimmen"? . . . they're too old to be school girls. And why the Mexican straw hats? Captain looks like Will Rogers. I like the geezer with the huge beard that looks like a disguise.
In the margins is written:
"Lexington, Missouri, August 21 -1907 Captain Burton (Steamer Chester) Miss Alice Spencer Miss Fannie Pirner (?) Bates and Marquis girls on trip down Mo. River - August 1- 1907."
Postcard of the "Morning Star Bar" located in the "Steamboat Inn & Barge" restaurant at 12 Northwest Second Street in Evansville, Indiana. Picture taken between 1945 and 1954
Below the postcard is a photo of folks enjoying beer and cocktails. A young couple are playing a pin ball machine on the left. The girl is wearing cowboy boots and the young man is wearing a uniform cap and coat along with a pair of white bell bottom trousers.
This photo was taken from the bar area looking towards the street entrance with the tail end of the words STEAMBOAT INN visible on the window to the right.
The interior of the Inn was made from parts salvaged from an actual steamboat cabin, probably from the MORNING STAR. Have heard that after the place closed that the arches and other architectural details were carefully removed and put into storage somewhere in Evansville. Hopefully some day they will be resurrected and reassembled in a suitable place.
The Gordon C. Greene, Cincinnati.
This just in from a dealer in Germany, an unusual wintertime real photo postcard of the VALLEY GEM dated 10 November, 1913. On the right is a small frame building with signage painted on it: MUSKINGUM VALLEY TRANSPORTATION CO. Likely location was somewhere in the vicinity of Marietta, Ohio.
VALLEY GEM Sternwheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 5535
Built for the McConnelsville-Zanesville trade on the Muskingum River in 1897 at Harmar, Ohio at Knox Yard From 1898-1917 she ran this trade, making one round trip a day.
Owners in 1898: Captain Newton Price, C.F. Siler; J.H. Shipps, Charles F. Hearing, H.S. Shaner and Lee Humphrey.
McLaughlin [first name unknown] was the (pilot in 1900)
Captain J. Orville Noll (owner and master, 1917-1918); T.M. Price (clerk)
Captain Noll bought her in 1917 to use in the Pittsburgh-Fairmont trade on the Monongahela River.
She was the last packet in the Fairmont trade. Destroyed by ice at Morgantown, West Virginia in February 1918.
Real photo postcard post of the excursion steamer CAPITOL at Sam Clemens' hometown.
post marked HANNIBAL JULY 6, 1940
Addressed to Mr. & Mrs. W.R. Finney Mansfield, Ohio
We're way down here in Missouri where it's hotter than blitzen.
Wish you were here.
Bob & Marialier"
I gather "blitzen" is used in one of the several German translations as "lightening." There are several ladies "Maria Lier" listed online including a Norwegian girl born in 1818. Bob's traveling companion may have made a "portmanteau" name by combining the two names which are still in use today.
With the exception of images credited to certain institutions,
most of the images on this page are from a private collection.
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