Photos of Boats - the Avalon, Belle of Louisville, Delta Queen as it went through the Panama Canal, the Church Boat, Island Queen, Morning Star, Showboat Majestic, and the Steamship Tarascan.
Postcards - Illustrated and photo postcards, including one illustration of a steamboat laden with cotton.
Posters and Drawings - Various boats, including one poster for Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie
Miscellaneous Items - An album cover, steamboat stamps, tickets, and a steamboat toy.
When I was looking at the original I copied this from, I read something in the picture which indicated it was taken on the Ohio River, but I could be wrong. Apparently the Delta Queen was heading up river to Pittsburgh to get the Navy Gray removed.
Old sternwheeler brought religion to ports along the Ohio Steamboat Church
By Richard A. Briggs
It was just about the most unusual church the Ohio Valley has ever seen. It was a steamboat church, featuring preaching at every port.
The steamboat had living quarters for the preacher and many of his followers, in addition to a large room where services were held in river towns. It plied the Ohio for 10 years back in the early 1900's.
The pastor was the Rev. L.L. Nichols, a bearded, astute man. During his youth he closely examined many religions, but found none to his liking. He finally founded a sect of his own, and it was known as the Megiddos.
At first, Mr. Nichols journeyed from village to village throughout the Midwest, preaching the gospel as he saw it, and gathering a small flock of followers. Many of them were homeless. They welcomed the opportunity to join Mr. Nichols, who preached the second advent of Christ before the year 1941, and promised salvation, to all who joined him.
About 1900, Mr. Nichols brought a sternwheel steamboat, then on the ways at the Lyons, Iowa, shipyards. As soon as the boat was completed, he had an auditorium equipped to seat more than 200 persons. The rest of the boat was converted into living quarters for his converts.
The craft was named "Megiddo Mission Ship," and between the tall smokestacks was a sign, "united We Stand." On the bow was still another sign reading, "in God we Trust," arched over an open Bible. The craft was painted spick-and-span white.
At many landings, Mr. Nichols might preach in competition with one of the numerous showboats then operating on the river. When the collections were exceedingly good, it was always convenient for the boat to lay over for an additional day.
A news item in The West Point Beacon, on September 23, 1901, noted that the Megiddo was tied up at the wharf with some 95 followers living on board. It was a few days after this that the Megiddo paid its first call to Louisville, and services were held on the Fourth Street wharf. But the Megiddo remained mostly a mission for the smaller river towns.
The sternwheeler plied the Ohio's tributaries, too, and it is remembered to this day by many as the steamboat church. Finally, when Mr. Nichols was too old to carry on his missionary work, the boat was sold and converted into an ordinary passenger craft at Paducah.
Ed's note: Built at Midland, PA in in 1924. On Sept. 9, 1947, the fuel tanks exploded, destroying the boat. No passengers were on board, but 19 crew members died. One crew member, Earnest Wagner, jumped from the roof to save himself. The Delta Queen had just moved to the Mississippi River. In 1960 Ernest Wagner became master of the Delta Queen and served for about 20 years.
The Delta Queen also got the Island Queen's calliope. From the Delta Queen Archive: January 1958: "[Richard] Simonton asked his associate EJ Quinby to locate a steam calliope for the vessel. By April, Quinby had tracked one down. It had been aboard the Island Queen steamboat, which sank in 1936. It was retrieved by the boat's calliopist, "Crazy Ray," and later acquired by a circus couple who offered it to Greene Line Steamers for $1,000. By June, Quinby made a $100 down payment."*
History of the Showboat Majestic
The Showboat Majestic is not a steamboat, but rather a barge like "floating theater" that was pushed from town to town by a towboat. The towboat "Attaboy" provided the floating theater with generator power for lights, steam for the calliope, and cooking facilities for meals. The showboat had a couple of staterooms on the second floor which served as apartments for the traveling performers.
1923 Built by Tom Reynolds, Sr. as a traveling family theater in the tradition of steamboatin' which was launched in 1831 with William Chapman's Floating Theater.
1948 Kent state and Hiram College lease the Showboat Majestic for a summer drama workshop to travel the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers; Captain Reynolds continued to rent the Showboat Majestic to student workshops for the next 10 years.
1959 Captain Reynolds begins negotiations to sell the Showboat Majestic.
1960 Indiana University completes acquisition of the Showboat Majestic and the Attaboy, renaming the towboat the IU.
1965 Coast Guard finds the wooden-hulled Showboat Majestic unriverworthy and she was docked at Jeffersonville, IN where IU produced summer shows
for three seasons.
1967 City of Cincinnati acquires the Showboat Majestic and the Attaboy; in September the Showboat Majestic was towed to the Four Seasons Marina. The Showboat Majestic is leased to the University of Cincinnati's Theater Department; in October, a variety show entitled Here Comes The Showboat Majestic is staged for city officials and civic leaders to introduce Cincinnati's newest attraction.
1968 Alterations to the Showboat Majestic are made, including a new steel hull. First full season of the Showboat Majestic Majestic entertains Cincinnati audiences. Showboat Majestic is moved to its present location at the Public Landing.
1980 Showboat Majestic Majestic is listed in the National Historic Register
1989 Cincinnati Recrecation Commission, which oversees the Showboat Majestic majestic, leases it to Downie Productions following UC's decision to terminate its lease with the City. Season opened with Oklahoma! On June 1, 1999.
1998 75th Birthday Celebration held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1999 Showboat Majestic, docked at foot of Broadway in Cincinnati, Ohio still features the best in musical, comedies and dramas! For schedule information call: 513 241-6550.
Photo and history of the Showboat Majestic supplied by Paul Urbahn.
Photo of the Steamship Tarascan.
The Packet Natchez, Nov. 12, 1870.
Picture Postcard of the Clinton, Iowa, landing.
Picture Postcard of the Klondike, 1900.
Picture postcard of a steamboat in Oregon.
Whistle Echoes album cover.
Steamboats.com wishes to thank Paul Urbahn for donating these items to the Online Steamboat Museum.