Steamboat Photos: Stereoviews


This image I combined from both the left and right "eyes" in a stereoview by Underwood & Underwood "S 174" (in upper right hand corner)

Caption under "right eye": No. 11212 "Busy ship-crowded wharves on the Mississippi, New Orleans, U.S.A."

I always think of these vessels as "boats," not "ships" but I guess it's a matter of opinion.


A low angle view of the ROB'T E. LEE also from a stereoview and also taken at the New Orleans levee. This is a rare photograph, pretty much a mirror image of the angle that Cornwell painted the LEE from for his painting of the race with the NATCHEZ.


I own the original of this stereoview in my collection which I loaned to Ralph DuPae and he had it copied for the La Crosse Steamboat Collection University of Wisconsin.

Such deluxe Victorian splendor and opulence!

Stereoview "Drawing Room, Steamer City of Natchez, Mississippi River."

Photographed and Published by Kilburn Brothers of Littleton, New Hampshire

Sidewheeel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 1109
Built at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard in 1885, at the cost of $75,000 for the Anchor Line
Master was Captain Horace E. Bixby (who "learned" the art of piloting to Sam Clemens)
H.E. Corbyn was clerk

Burned at Cairo, Illinois on December 28, 1886


From my stereoview collection . . .

"Left eye" from Stereoview

No. 215 Str. NATCHEZ Loading (not dated)

Published by:
S.T. Blessing
87 Canal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana.

This is the steamer that raced the ROB'T. E. LEE in 1870


The Steamboat Landing, New Orleans, LA


Patented April 14, 1903 H.C. WHITE Co. Publishers

Red Wing

From a stereoview of the Red Wing 1870. Those huge smokestacks and outsized flags are amazing, must've taken 3 men and a boy to raise banners like that. Low bridges already must have made stacks this high impractical.

paddlewheel boat

Missouri River steamer Montana in 1864 from a stereo view.


Scanned from my vintage stereo view of the back end of the cabin of the MINNEAPOLIS. A lady is playing the piano for the passengers. She is facing a mirror that reflects the cabin. Steamboat authority and collector Bert Fenn of Tell City, Indiana loved this photo and I gave him a print of it.

MINNEAPOLIS (Sidewheel Packet, 1869-1884)
Way's Packet Directory Number 3944

Hull and framing were done at Wheeling, West Virginia, completed at Pittsburgh in 1869
First owned in 1869 by Captain R.C. Greg
Subsequent owners:
Keokuk Northern Line
Consolidated Northern and White Collar Line
1881: St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Company

On October 23, 1880, the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Morning Chronicle published that the MINNEAPOLIS sank in 6 feet of water, one mile above Denmark Chute, a short distance above Louisiana, Missouri. She was raised.

From May 17th to the 21st 1882 Mark Twain traveled from his hometown Hannibal, Missouri to St. Paul aboard the MINNEAPOLIS

The MINNEAPOLIS was sunk by ice at St. Louis, Missouri in 1884

One of Mark Twain's notations in his Notebook during the voyage:

"8 years ago boats like the MINNEAPOLIS used to go into St. Paul with 150 people. Man used to say 'Got 28 cars of wheat, Captain.'
'I'll take 2 of 'em.'
Now the Captain inquires
'What you got for us?'
The RR has done it."

- Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Vol. II, 1877-1883


From a stereoview of the Pilot House and Texas aboard the Commonwealth steamboat. A stereoview offered two photos that looked like a three dimensional image.


This is the "Left Eye" in a stereoview from my collection.


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.*