Towboat Photos, Page 1
Unusual real photo postcard. Scan came through with warm and cool tones. It's just in from eBay.
Built in 1899 at Dubuque, Iowa for $24,800.
Owned by Mississippi River Commission; USE (1905)
Way's Steam Towboat Directory - T2702;
In October 1901 she burned her cabin and pilot house off at O'Donnell's Landing, Arkansas below Cairo. She was transferred to USE, St. Louis in 1905 and then transferred again to USE (or could that be USACE for the United States Army Corps of Engineers?), Memphis by 1917. In April 1926 she made a trip to St. Paul with five barges loaded with water ballast to test the possibility of an upper Mississippi River extension of the Federal Barge Line. At Island 17 the barges went aground and after they were freed the General Ashburn completed the trip. On August 4, 1929 the WYNOKA hit a rock and sank near the Rock Island bridge. The boat was repaired at Keokuk. She took part in the dedication of the new Peoria, Illinois terminal in June 1931. Sold to the Bissos and renamed BISSO in 1935.
"On the ways" at Gasconade, Missouri, 1933.
The JOHN JAMES is either being pulled out of the river or being lowered back into it.
JOHN JAMES (Towboat, 1931-1943?)
Way's Steam Towboat Directory T1416
Built in 1931 at Paducah, Kentucky
Owned in 1931 by Massman Construction Company; and in 1940 by the Burke Line
Captain C.H. VanHorn (master), Murrel Wade (chief engineer)
Operated on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers
Nice sharp photo from the Detroit Publishing Co. collection
The Ohio River circa
"Canal locks at Louisville, Kentucky."
8x10 glass negative
Detroit Publishing Company 1906
Way's Towboat Directory Number T2463
Built in 1889 at Brownsville, Pennsylvania by the Axton yard
While owned by John Hoffman she was a harbor boat at Louisville, Kentucky.
In April, 1901 she sank at the Louisville harbor while moored at shore with four loaded coalboats; one of the coalboats sank and pulled the other three and the Transit down.
In March, 1912 Captain Dan Varble died on the Louisville levee enroute to catch the Transit.
She was later owned by the Combine (MCC) and in March, 1918 they brought her to Pittsburgh. John F. Klein bought her in October, 1920.
In 1925 she was rebuilt at the Ayer & Lord ways at Paducah, Kentucky and renamed A.W. ARMSTRONG. At that time she was owned by Ayer & Lord Tie Company
This 1928 photo was online a while back on the California state capitol's newspaper the Sacramento BEE. The DOVER No. 2 (1891-1935) was built in a characteristic style once plentiful on the Sacramento River. Boats like this appeared in that 1931 "talkie" HEAVEN ON EARTH that was based on Burman's novel MISSISSIPPI. The DOVER is literally "towing" two barges behind her, each barge was steered by pilots in the individual pilot houses which were necessary to keep the barges on the same course as the DOVER. In the Mississippi valley the barges are attached to the front end of the towboats and become in effect part of the towboat steered by the pilot all day and night, visibility permitting.
This can also be found at the Sacramento Room digital site oclc.org
Madison Coal & Supply Company chairman Charles T. Jones took his family on summer vacations aboard the diesel sternwheel towboat LAURA J (built in 1929).
In a 2013 on portky.com Captain Eric Grubb wrote that the LAURA J. had been purchased by Lawson Hamilton who named her MOMMA JEANNE and keeps her at Port Amherst, West Virginia on the Kanawha River.
In one of the photos that Cap't Grubb posted of the MOMMA JEANNE in that article everything but the sternwheel had been remodeled so extensively that the boat no longer possessed the authentic vintage appearance that the LAURA J did.
This print that I scanned was mixed in with some photos from my '93 DELTA QUEEN voyage that began at Memphis. I may have taken this after disembarking from the DELTA QUEEN at Cincinnati and took a rental car up along the Ohio River.
This could have been taken at Aberdeen, Ohio (across the river from Maysville, Kentucky), Gallipolis, Ohio or Marietta, Ohio. The opposite shore reminds me of what I could see across the river from Gallipolis while taking photos of the JUANITA there in 1990.
From a good quality poster print. Our hero Fred Way Jr. was one of the two pilots on this towboat in 1935, In the winter of 1919 the IRON CITY was chartered to a movie company for NORTHWARD MALICE, filmed along the Allegheny River. So far I have not found any additional information regarding this "silent movie." The name may have been changed and some of the footage of the IRON CITY may have been "recycled" for use in "talkies" filmed after the advent of sound beginning in 1929.
Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number 1199
Built in 1912 at Parkersburg, West Virginia at the Pope docks for Iron City Sand Company
Officers and Crew 1935:
Captain Tom Potts, Master
Chris Bigenho, Chief Engineer
Clayton Wiley, 2nd Engineer)
Clarence W. "Heavy" Elder, Pilot
Fredrick Way, Jr., Pilot
In December 1926 she was stranded for a time on Deadman's Island on the Ohio River. In the winter of 1919, she was chartered to a movie company for making the film "Northward Malice" along the Allegheny River. In August 1934 she burned to water's edge and was completely rebuilt. In November 1935, she made a trip for the American Barge Line. Dismantled in 1948 by the owners, the Crain Brothers.
BUILT: 1898 at Raymond City, West Virginia
Burned at North Bend, Ohio in August 1935
OFFICERS & CREW:
Captain Ed Woodward (master, circa 1898-1916); Walter Thacker (pilot, before 1908); John Mahan (pilot, before 1908); Thomas Oliver (chief engineer); Captain William D. Curry (master); Captain John F. Rust (pilot); William H. Patrick (pilot)
Way's Steam Towboat Directory No. T1982
Captain Burt Chambers supervised the original construction of the Otto Marmet; she was later lengthened at Cincinnati. On January 29, 1935, she broke a shaft at St. Joe in lower Cincinnati which caused her to run through herself on both sides. She was not repaired and burned in August 1935
A favorite photo of a jaunty little boat. One of those perfect profiles with a beautiful reflection on the water. This is a craft one could live aboard and navigate the rivers with for a lifetime.
ARTEMUS GATES 1896-1927
Built 1896 at Clinton, Iowa by C. Lamb and Sons
Burned on September 4, 1927
Clinton Sand and Gravel Company
Captain John W. Lind
Way's Towboat directory - T0166:
"Was used as the bow boat for the Chancy Lamb when towing log rafts; did raft work in early years."
This is an original albumen print that I loaned to Ralph DuPae and he had it copied for the Murphy collection.
JOHN MOREN (Towboat, 1885-1907)
Built in 1885, Brownsville, Pennsylvania at the Axton yard
Burned at Cairo, Illinois on November 8, 1907
Owned in 1885 by Moren interests
Captain James Moren (master)
Fred Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T1424
The Moren interests in Pittsburgh operated the Advance Coal Company. The John Moren was called the "Irish Ram" by rivermen. December 1895, Captain James Moren left her to become master of the James Moren. Once in the MCC Combine (1900), she was laid up ca. 1903-1906. She came out again in October, 1906 and burned at Cairo, Illinois on November 8, 1907
A Culver picture captioned on back "Loading rock phosphate." Probably along the Ohio River.
SPRAGUE at Vicksburg, 1968 from a high resolution scan of a vintage Kodachrome slide.
Vintage 35mm Kodachrome Color Slide 1959-1962
SPRAGUE "Port of Baton Rouge, Louisiana" under her name at stern
Looks like this was taken at Vicksburg in the same location as the other color slide we have which was taken at a later date from a lower angle
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.*