Steamboat photos! By popular demand, we have posted four high resolution steamboat photos that print 8 x 10 - click here. In addition, we have hundreds of smaller steamboat photos. Most are in the public domain, but if you use them, please acknowledge "steamboats.com" in your end notes. Find more photos here: Steamboat Museum.
Link Pages There is a lot of information out there about steamboats. We've organized it into categories to help you find what you're looking for. You will have a lot to look at here: Link Pages. If you locate any good steamboat-related sites we don't have, please send us the URL: Contact Info.
Save the Queen! Save the King! Learn about the history of two famous steamboats built in 1927: Delta Queen and Delta King History. There's enough information on this subject to do a Ph.D.
Who Built the First Steamboat? That's a good question - and one that has many different answers. Link here to read a variety of answers and then make up your own mind. We have now posted full biographies of John Fitch and Robert Fulton, two of the early inventors.
Field Trip Idea:
Find Local Steamboats Click here for a list of paddlewheel boats in the Fifty States.
Steamboat Models Click here to go to the model boat center at Steamboats.com.
Steamboat Whistles Listen to 50 different steamboat whistles, plus calliope music. Go to steamboats.org of Germany.
Search for historic steamboats, genealogy, and sunken boats: Online Research Library.
Steam Engines: Find information on steam engines and how they work. Go to the Steam Engine Exhibit. Descriptions written by K. Spitzner of Georgia. Please attribute any direct quotes from this section to him.
Steamboat Experts Wanted You could become the next steamboat expert. The steamboat hobby is open to all. Steamboat experts want to pass along their knowledge and help people learn how to do steamboat research. One of the best ways to learn about the hobby is to subscribe to the S & D REFLECTOR, 126 Seneca Drive, Marietta, OH 45750. It's $15 a year and you will receive their quarterly newsletter of steamboat news, gossip, and memories.
Most steamboat information is not yet online, but the books are available. We have a good collection: Bookstore.
Access bulletin boards, discussion groups, experts, and other resources: click here.
Question Steamboat Authorities Send your really tough steamboat questions to our steamboat experts (click here).
Steamboats' Reading List - click here
Steamboat Historical Societies - click here
"Mississippi steam boating was born about 1812, at the end of thirty years, it had grown to mighty proportions; and in less than thirty more, it was dead! A strangely short life for so majestic a creature...it killed the old-fashioned keep-boating, by reducing the freight-trip to New Orleans to less than a week. The railroads have killed the steamboat passenger traffic by doing in two or three days what the steamboats consumed a week in doing."
Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883
A Brief Statement about the History of Steamboats In the late 1700s, into the 1800s, steamboats were the only means of transportation to new parts of America. It was easy enough to go down river, but going up river required steam power. Thus, America grew along the Mississippi River system (including the Ohio River, Great Lakes, and other connected waterways), opening up frontiers in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, and Florida. Many people moved "west" on steamboats, then the steamboats supplied all the goods they needed to live in these remote areas.
In the 1800s there were thousands of paddlewheel steamboats on the Mississippi River system. They also had steamboats in Idaho, Oregon, California, the Great Lakes, and other places that had rivers. The age of steamboats ended when railroads were built. Since they were safer and more dependable than river travel, trains soon took over as the preferred means of transportation and put the steamboats out of business. Hundreds of steamboats were destroyed during the Civil War (1860s), then almost all of them were gone before World War II. Only a few of the old steamboats still exist. Now they are used as tourist destinations - cruise ships, hotels, museums, etc.
More research information: Research Page.
Steamboats.com is dedicated to paddlewheel steamboat history and serves as a networking site for people who do steamboat research. One of our goals is to increase the amount of historic information available on the Internet so that people can more easily trace their family histories. We encourage young people to take up steamboat history as a hobby.
If you quote extensively from this website, please acknowledge Steamboats.com in your end notes.