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Steamboat Riding the Rapids
July 7, 2024

After studying family ancestry, Philip Newton wrote to us about his steamboat ancestor W.W. Prather, whose boat was the Katie Prather (named after his aunt). While documenting his ancestor J. Richard Lawwill, Philip found this story about the Katie Prather. Lawwill learned about it from Fred Way, but it had been in river lore for decades. The Fred Way directory says Katie Prather was still on the books in 1892.
At the Thanksgiving season, (W.W. Prather the boat owner) had arranged to pick up several crates of turkeys from a farm on upper Brush Creek. At the riffles in the creek, the boat barely cleared the shallows. They proceeded to the farm, loaded the crates of turkeys and hurried back downstream, (but) the boat could not clear the riffles.

Undaunted, the owner directed his deckhand to remove the turkeys from the crates and fasten their feet to the deck. With the turkeys in place, he commanded "full forward speed" and blasted his blunderbuss over the turkeys. The frightened birds flapped their wings wildly, and over the riffles went the Katie Prather. Chugging merrily on its way to Cincinnati to provide the main course for many Thanksgiving dinners.

Philip Newton has located the plans for the boat and a model bot of the Katie Prather, but research continues. He hopes to find photos of the boat and his ancestors. To read more about the Katie Prather, click here: Ancesetry Stories

UW La Crosse Murphy Library Honors David Thomson
June 3, 2024

The Eugene Murphy Library Special Recognition Award was established in 1986 to recognize those who have significantly contributed to advancing the library's mission. This year the Award is being posthumously awarded to the late Dave Thomson.

Dave was a steamboat historian, enthusiast and collector of all things steamboats. His unexpected passing in 2021 left his brother, Darryl, searching for a new home for Dave's vast collection valued at $64,000. Murphy Library's reputation led Darryl to reach out, resulting in the 2022 cross-country journey of Dave's materials from Southern California to their new forever home in Special Collections at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse.

Click here to read more:

Nineteenth Century Efforts to Curb Steam Boat Boiler Explosions
June 2, 2024

Steamboat researcher John Bernhardt compiled a thesis on the 1838-1865 efforts to address the problems with steamboat boiler explosions. Bernhardt sent his document to publish at this site and wants to reach out to steamboat societies and archives that have a serious interest in archival steamboat history. Bernhardt said:
I used mostly primary sources from the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) in Washington, DC. Most of the information has never seen light of day until my work.
This document describes how our government got to the creation of the Steam Boat Inspection Service, the precursor to the U.S. Coast Guard. You can read the whole paper here: SteamboatInspectionService.pdf

THE PRACTICAL ENGINEERS' REBELLION: EVANS PATENT SAFETY GUARD AND THE FAILURE OF SCIENTIFIC TECHNOLOGY IN THE STEAM BOAT INSPECTION SERVICE, 1830-1862 John A. Bernhardt III, Master of Arts, 2008 Directed By: Dr. Robert Friedel, Professor, History Department, University of Maryland.

(Author's errata note on p.191: "Engineers Dickey and Watson were NOT exonerated.")

2024 Steamboat Race
May 2, 2024

The great steamboat race took place yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky. Congratulations to the Belle of Cincinnati.

"It was amazing when the boats crossed the Finish Line. We could hear on land the crowds on both boats cheering and having such a great time," said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President & CEO. "You could feel the vibe the entire race."

Apply for SSHSA Job Openings
April 18, 2024


Are you a hard-working professional with a passion for making a difference in this world? Are you willing to share your knowledge, expertise, and time with a talented, seasoned, and multi-task oriented crew of non-profit leaders charged with moving Full-Ahead, educating and reaching the next generation of maritime enthusiasts? If your answers are yes, then we'd like to hear from you.

SSHSA is seeking motivated, skilled, and efficiency-driven individuals able to accomplish great amounts of achievements in a fun, congenial, and drama-free cultural environment. Positions are based on-site at SSHSA's 8,000 square-foot Ship History Center, located in Warwick, Rhode Island, only a few miles from vibrant Providence, picturesque Narragansett Bay, and America's City by the Sea, Newport.

For immediate consideration, please send a letter of interest, resume and a brief statement of what unique characteristic(s) set you apart from others to:

Matthew S. Schulte, Executive Director -

We encourage sharing this posting with colleagues and friends who may be interested in applying.

Click on job title below to see description of SSHSA Current Job Openings:

Director of Development (full time)
Administrative Assistant (part time)
Assistant Archivist (part time)


New Video of the Delta Queen in Houma
March 18, 2024

Google Alerts brought this newly-recorded footage of the Delta Queen Steamboat in Houma, Louisiana. Take a look:

Delta Queen on Youtube


The Rogue River Once Had a Paddle Wheel Boat
March 5, 2024

Recently I was discussing with Ben Truwe how unfortunate it was to have never had a paddle wheel boat on his river, the Rogue River in Oregon. However, he wrote back with the good news there once was a paddle wheel boat on the Rogue River! Sometimes riverboat history breaks our hearts, but it's good to know the truth.

On Feb 23, 2024, Ben Truwe wrote:
I was astounded to find mention of a paddle wheeler on the Rogue River - briefly. This is all I have:

Rogue River's Only Steamboat Sinks.

The steamer Rogue River, property of the Rogue River Packing & Navigation Company, capsized and sank last Thursday in the Rogue River below the mouth of the Illinois, and is a total loss. When the little steamer was within half a mile of its destination, in lining over a rapid the line parted, throwing the steamer against the bank and completely demolished the driving wheel. The boat was disabled and at the mercy of the current. The steamer drifted down the river a distance of three miles, when upon striking an eddy upset in about 20 feet of water. The steamer was of 25 tonnage, and carried merchandise and machinery valued at $6000.

The Rogue River was valued at $6000. The loss on vessel and cargo is total.

The Rogue River was built last spring by Joseph Supple and shipped from Portland in knock-down shape.

- Medford Success, November 25, 1902, page 1. SOHS Research Library M77F2

Howard Museum to Host a Forum on the Delta Queen
Posted: March 1, 2024
Event: September 8, 2024


News of the Delta Queen
December 30, 2023

Two years ago the small town of Kimmswick,Missouri, built a new dock but just in two years the water receded and boats cannot access the dock. The news came out today in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Since the Delta Queen has a connection with Kimmswick, the article includes a few paragraphs about the Queen:
Meanwhile, one company's absence from the Kimmswick riverfront isn't due to current low water levels.

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company announced in 2015 that Kimmswick would be its port of call and headquarters. Before the historic vessel could embark on overnight excursions, it needed an exemption to federal law, which came in 2018.

But since then, the company has faced numerous setbacks, manager Phillip Johnson said.

He said the company spent 2019 trying to put together financing for the project, but that efforts were derailed in early 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down of the cruise industry.

In 2021, the historic Delta Queen sustained damage from Hurricane Ida, Johnson said.

"Only recently did the insurance monies come through and repairs to the vessel get underway," he said in an email. "The damage was primarily to the roof and outer decks, such as railings and a few windows. The interior of the vessel remains in good condition and thanks to the new roof has remained dry and preserved.

"We are currently in talks with a couple groups to secure a future for the Delta Queen as an overnight cruise vessel," Johnson said. "Should we be successful we most certainly plan to stop in Kimmswick."

To read the whole article, go to

Christmas Day Wishes
December 25, 2023

During this time of turmoil in our world and in our own country, we pray that everyone take a moment to reconsider. It's a fact we human beings are more alike than we are different. We all share common needs and feelings. So let's pray for peace in the coming new year even though it almost sounds like too much to ask.

Merry Christmas

Joe Fowler Drawing
December 23, 2023

One of our readers, Lorri Conklin, sent us a picture of this drawing of the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat. The print had been stored in the back of her closet for many years.


Artist's signature (lower right) © J. Franklin Brown 1968

The Joe Fowler served as a steamboat for Disney in Florida from 1971-1980. Sadly, like many other riverboats, the Joe Fowler suffered a tragic death. In 1980 during a routine dry dock operation, the crane broke and dropped the boat, destroying it beyond repair. Rest in peace Joe Fowler. While the boat suffered an early death, the boat's namesake lived to be ninety-nine years old. For more information about this boat, see Wikipedia.

The Streckfus Riverboat Dynasty
December 18, 2023

The Streckfus Riverboat Dynasty: Jazz and the Big Smoke Canoe, by Arthur L. Smith, is now available in a hefty, four hundred page hardcover. Amazon calls it "a thrilling story of the days of excursion riverboat glory on the great Mississippi and Ohio rivers."

History doesn't save itself, but books on the history of our favorite boat lines will help preserve steamboat history for decades to come. Purchase the book now at Amazon and other online venues. You can also order it at your local indi bookstore.


The River is Now a Book!
December 1, 2023

If you've been following The River, by Captain Donald J. Sanders, published weekly in the Northern Kentucky Tribune, you will be happy to learn the good captain's stories are now available as a book! The River: River rat to steamboatman, riding 'magic river spell' to 65-year adventure.

The River book cover

Buy it now through the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism: The River.

Friends Mourning the Loss of Keith Norrington
November 19, 2023

Earlier this year we lost Keith Norrington who was a pillar of the steamboat community. He was an encyclopedia of steamboat history and his teacher and mentor was Ruth Ferris. Keith was one of the first people I met after starting He sent me a pack of photos to post and it was the first exhibit on - The Keith Norrington River Room. I would like to share this post from a friend in Florida:

On Nov 19, 2023, at 11:58 AM, Carole Matthews wrote:

Keith E Norrington died 8 30 2023 services 9 5 2023 burial 9 5 2023 Keith's services were at Naville Grace Seabrook Funeral Home located at Chapel of Naville 1119 East Market Street New Albany Indiana 47150 They have a 20 minute film about his life and it was so fascinating to watch I was afraid to move. It shows him with Ruth Ferris will explain later accepting the bell from the destroyed Mississippi Queen on the Belle of Louisville on the Becky Thatcher and on the Delta Queen Keith enjoyed playing organs and calliopes and belong to several organ clubs Now about Ruth Ferris a close longtime friend of Keith's She wrote with the help of Elizabeth A Picard a book called Ruth's River Dreams she was a former schoolteacher it is on sale in paperback online. Ruth Ferris died in 1997 As far as thinking about Keith my friend for 14 years he can be described as a KIND SOUL I would send him little riverboat models every year for Xmas and I would get a fast reply saying KEEP UP STEAM and how much he liked them MISS MY FRIEND TERRIBLY Riverboat Carole


Book Review
A Beautiful Portrait of the Delta Queen Steamboat
September 13, 2023

Voices on the River: 22 Days on the Delta Queen
by Dennis Brown
Reviewed by Nori Muster

Dennis Brown took eight cruises on the Delta Queen Steamboat in the seventies and eighties, then got the ultimate invitation to stay for three cruises in a row. This is something any of us could only dream about!

Brown was a CBS Entertainment publicist who helped out with the production of the three-part Civil War documentary, The Blue and The Gray. The documentary features actor Sterling Hayden, who portrayed abolitionist John Brown. When the documentary was set to play on three consecutive Delta Queen cruises, they invited Dennis Brown to introduce the show and tell behind-the-scenes stories from the production.

Brown says he brought along a tape recorder just in case he might get some good interviews. In 1987 he used his recorded interviews to write the first hundred pages of the book he envisioned. Then he put it aside for more than thirty years.

When he found the unfinished manuscript he read it over and found the interviews were "as timeless as the river itself," so he went ahead and completed the manuscript [p. 2].

Brown's interviews are candid conversations from random Delta Queen moments like sitting around the dining room table or watching the shore go by in lounge chairs on the deck. He also included relevant stories from people who weren't on the Delta Queen. A good example is a long conversation with a taxi driver in Memphis. Dennis asked Walter if he was working on the day Elvis Presley died. The Taxi driver recalled fans from around the country flooding into Memphis to congregate at Graceland. He also shared his memories of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. [pp. 248-250].

Dennis embeds each discussion with background about the river, the boat, and sentimental memories he's held over many years. He also discusses his favorite moments from his years with CBS. The memoir is packed with stories from the history of the places the boat takes him on this twenty-two day voyage.

The book is composed of three sections, one for each back-to-back cruise, and each of the twenty-two chapters cover one day of the cruise.

Anybody who loves the Delta Queen Steamboat would appreciate the amount of history contained in this book. One example is when Brown speaks with dinner table friend Russ Zahn from Wisconsin. Zahn and his family happened to be on the Delta Queen in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter and his family were on the boat. Zahn's narrative filled in a lot of blanks spots for me because I knew the Carters were on the boat, but there's a lot more to it than that. It was fascinating to learn the Secret Service referred to the Delta Queen as "Steamboat One."

Captain Fred Way, the man who helped bring the Delta Queen to the South, was also at the table. After Zahn told his memories of that cruise, Captain Way told his most prominent memory. He said Mr. Robert Simonton, the savior of Green Line Steamers, died in California while the Carters we on the boat. He said right after Mr. Simonton died, a squall hit the Delta Queen with seventy-five miles-per-hour winds and rain. [pp. 100-104].

After hearing from Mr. Zahn and Captain Way, Zahn asked the author if he had ever met Jimmy Carter. Then Brown recalls his encounter with President Carter and that's how day seven wound up. [pp. 105-109]

This book includes a sixteen page insert with historic photos and each chapter has additional pictures. Plus, each section features a map of the rivers they visit on that cruise. It's not easy to find a map of the Western Rivers, and this book would make a great gift for anybody on your list.

Voices on the River is now available at
Hardcover $37.99
Paperback $26.99


1962 Memoir of Travel on The Delta Queen Surfaces
September 5, 2023

After sixty years, a memoir of one man's travel on the Delta Queen Steamboat has come to light. The author is Russell E. Vanderbilt, and he went on a three wek cruise, beginning in Cincinnati, traveling to Minneapolis-Saint Paul on the Mississippi River, and back to Cincinnati. He describes the boat, the itinerary, and river history of the areas he visits.

This concise eighteen page memoir will take you back to the time when Greene Line Steamers was based in Cincinnati. thanks the author's granddaughter Linda Dietrick for sending the memoir and asking that we post it at the site. Click here to read the memoir, with introduction by Linda Dietrick: Memoir of a Cruise on the Delta Queen, by Russell E. Vanderbilt

Harriott II Riverboat
August 9, 2023

Harriott II Riverboat

Harriott II Riverboat, a historic 19th century paddle wheel gives river tours out of the Downtown Montgomery riverfront. This boat has a permanent, assigned docking slip at the riverfront. Don't steal this lady's parking spot and beat up the captain. That's just wrong! The people who did this deserve to be in prison at the least.

Support all riverboats, and everyone who takes care of the boats - especially the historic boats that are still with us!

I couldn't find Harriott II Riverboat in the Fred Way Directory, but added her to the steamboats of the fifty states list. I put in a call to find out if it runs on steam. If this boat was renamed since 1994, let me know so I can find out more about it!

A New Home for the Dave Thomson Collection
July 21, 2023, updated August 8, 2023

After Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian of, left us, his brother and sister-in-law spent two years processing and packing Dave's photos, books, model boats, and other steamboat materials. The major part of the collection was bound for the Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.

Murphy's Special Collections Library already had one of the largest paddle wheel steamboat photo collections in the world. Now it's doubled in size.


Video of reception of the Dave Thomson Collection: The Dave Thomson Collection at La Crosse


UWL campus news article: "Steamboat photos and memorabilia continue to flow into the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse"


This is how the Dave Thomson collection looked when the moving van dropped it off at Murphy Library.

You can still see Dave's collection here at - steamboat museum.

David of Louisville
July 19, 2023

The editors at would like to encourage the 21c Museum Hotel and greater Louisville community to get poor old David some cover. For many years he's been standing around naked on Main Street. At first that sounds like fun, but it's got to wear on a guy. We think David would look great in a pair of running shorts with steamboats. So let's go Louisville. Let's get David some steamboat shorts!


Video from the Engine Room
July 5, 2023

Over the Fourth of July weekend I went on the Belle of Louisville and came back with video and photos. It's all posted here: steamboat museum.

Anastasia Lost and Found
April 11, 2023

Sometimes we lose track of our favorite steamboats because, obviously they can move around, and furthermore, they can change their names. Recently Ellen McCroskey, who lives on the Ohio River, wanted help locating her favorite boat, Valley Voyager. I searched everywhere and had no clue. But then she realized the name had changed several times - Valley Voyager - Dottie G. - and now Anastasia. You can go for a cruise on the Anastasia, now located in Stillwater, Minnesota, as part of Stillwater River Boats' fleet.

Ellen sent some pictures she found, and I'm grateful we rediscovered this beautiful boat. I do my level best to keep track of the paddle wheel steamboats in America here: Steamboats of the Fifty States. If you notice any that are missing, or listed in the wrong location, please feel free to contact me!




The Steamer Admiral
by Annie Amantea Blum
Photos and history.
Paperback Amazon
Kindle Amazon

The book above has more pictures while the blue book is more definitive with some pictures and more historical text.


The Steamer Admiral and Streckfus Steamers, A Personal View
by Annie Amantea Blum
This book has fewer photos, but a more comprehensive history of the Admiral, and includes history of the Streckfus family.
Hardcover: Amazon

Buy directly from the author for a discount on these books - $15 each plus $3 each for shipping. Send cash, check, or money order to: Annie Blum, 6239 Westway Pl., St. Louis, MO 63109. For more information. For more information email Annie at barley.blum @

Avalon Memories
March 1, 2023

Robert Powell wrote:

Hello Nori Muster,
Over the years I have enjoyed your site along with another riverboat/steamboat website. I have seen many photos and stories about the Idlewild/Avalon/Belle of Louisville and most all were great photos and stories about this boat. Now I would like to share my story about this great boat.

Like Mark Twine, so to speak, and a few other individuals that grew up in a river town so did I. My hometown of New Albany, Indiana had its fame and glory during the Golden Age of Steamboats. New Albany's six shipbuilders had the reputation for building fast & elegant boats, I am sure every riverboat captain knew of New Albany, if not before The Great Race they sure did after the Robert E. Lee beat the Natchez to St. Louis from New Orleans. Captain John W. Cannon specifically chose New Albany to build his boat because he wanted to have the fastest boat on the Ohio & Mississippi Rivers.

Back to the Belle of Louisville - before I was born my parents went on many dance cruises on the Avalon as I did when I became a young man living in New Albany and partying in Louisville, although it was not called the Avalon by then. But even before that, back when I was in high school, we had our Junior/Senior prom in May of 1961 on the Avalon. That was not the first time New Albany High School held their prom on this boat, I know it dates to at least the 1940s. My class wanted to hold our 1962 prom on the boat for the following year but that night when we tried to book our prom, we were told the company was going out of business and this will be our last trip home to Cincinnati. Well, as you know, the city of Louisville bought the boat and renamed her the Belle of Louisville.



Thanks, Robert G. Powell, New Albany H.S. Class of 1962

Editor's note: You're welcome Robert and thanks for sharing your story!

Showboat History Update
February 19, 2023

Duane E. Mann wrote:

I am writing to you in reference to the showboat pages on the website.

You were the first contact information that I found. I have some sad news relating to the Golden Rod, National Landmark, ShowBoat. I had some contact with the people who were trying to return her to service somehow in the early 2000's As I was contacted by them inrelation to a project that I started working with around that time, The James Adams Floating Theatre, JAFT.Sadly my website for the JAFT seems to have lost it's URL But I hope to gt it running again now that I have seen it is no longer linked to my pages,

Upon first hearing about showboats and before writing her Novel Showboat Edna Ferber contacted both the GoldenRod and the James Adams for the purpose of research.

Only Charles Hunter and Beulah Adams from the JAFT, responded, having followed her stories in the magazines. She then went down to meet them in Bath North Carolina and spent four days, I believe she said,aboard doing various things helping around, as often happened on showboats, mainly waiting for Charles Hunter to have time to speak with her. Once he did she took many pages of notes from his experiences as, evidently, his father was a riverboat captain on the Ohio river that propelled showboats in his youth. I "assume" that one was the original Cotton Blossom, and inspired much of the name's association with the novel and therefore both stage and movie offerings. Another similarity of the subject showboats is that they both succumbed to fire. The James Adams in 1941 near Savanah, GA while going in for refitting after her sale. And from what I saw on the GoldenRod's facebook page, the GoldenRod burned up, I believe on the Indiana River in the 2000s sometime, likely due to vandals.

I have several photos given to our organization by the author Richard C. Gilespie who wrote a fine book about the James Adams Floating Theatre: I have some pictures of the James Adams Floating Theatre, some scanned in high resolution. And I have some facebook followers that were descendants of crew/cast members on our facebook page: I belive the the last living performer, Rachael Brown, passed away here in Maryland in the early 2000s.

I would be interested in maintaining contact with you and or Dave about these lovely pieces of American history, as I continue to try and return the James Adams Floating Theatre experience to Mid-Atlantic coastal communities.

On another note the Majestic was purchased a few years ago and was being moored near Manchester, Ohio: I hope to make a trip there one day soon to look her over. I suspect the plan is to put her back into operation as a stationary attraction vessel:

A a side note the Steamboat ERA museum in Irvington, VA, has the absolute hands down best model of the James Adams that I have seen to date.

- Duane E. Mann
Chesapeake Bay Floating Theatre


Our reply to Duane:
Thank you for the information. We are saddened by the fate of the world's most famous showboats. Steamboat history does not save itself. Also sadly, Dave Thomson passed away in 2021. When he left, he took an encyclopedia of steamboat history with him. But let's stay in contact!
- Nori, web designer

For more showboat information at this site, go to:
New showboat photos and posters
The Goldenrod Showboat Photos of one of America's great showboats, lying in pieces in a yard in the St. Louis area in 2015.

2023 Louisiana Rose Parade Steamboat
January 5, 2023

Thank god somebody finally put a steamboat in the Pasadena Rose Parade! We love you Louisiana!


Lego Steamboat Models
December 20, 2022

This site has boats built out of Legos, and Simple Ship Designs made a Lego model of the Delta Queen. He doesn't list his name, but he dedicated it to his girlfriend. Have a look!

2023 Steamboat Calendars
November 17, 2022

2023 Sternwheel Wall Calendar is Available!

Back by popular demand, the 2023 calendar features early photos of sternwheel towboats. The calendar contains 13 large photos printed on heavy card stock, suitable for framing.


This calendar is our best yet, with higher quality images, extra images, and added color throughout!

Each month features a specific boat along with its history, and a complete calendar page, with holidays marked. The boats featured for 2023 include:

R. J. B.

The 2023 calendar marks our 22nd year of wall calendar offerings!

Calendar Price: $15.95
Plus Shipping: $ 4.50 for one calendar.
(add $1 for each additional calendar)

Please mail check or money order to:
Draftware Inc.
41 Ems W32
North Webster, IN 46555

Online credit card ordering is available on our web site:

Below are images of the calendar's front and back covers:



Steamboat Community Mourns the Loss of Doc Hawley
November 13, 2022

Doc Hawley, New Orleans riverboat captain and calliope player, dies at 87
Retired Natchez captain was 'one of the keepers of the flame of steamboat romance' - NOLA

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate

Northern Kentucky Tribune nkytribune

The Waterways Journal Weekly


Calliope concerts with Doc. Hawley
Calliope with Captain Clarke Doc Hawley part 1
Capt. Clarke Doc Hawley Playing The Calliope At The W. P. SNYDER, JR's 100th Birthday Celebration
DELTA QUEEN Calliope Capt. Clarke Doc Hawley
Steam CaLLiope at TaLL Stacks 1992, Capt. DOC Hawley
Louisiana Cultural Vistas narrated by Captain Doc Hawley


Doc Hawley at the Steamboat NATCHEZ calliope October 1989.

Energy Saving System

New Yorker magazine, August 1, 2022

Email Header - News from The Wharf

Mark your calendars! Tickets are now available for SEVEN special event cruises aboard Belle of Louisville Riverboats!

Swashbuckling Family Adventure - September 25
Crossing the Ohio: Exploring the Underground Railroad and River Connection - October 8
Dream Within A Dream: A Journey With Edgar Allan Poe - October 13 & 14
Fall Foliage & Geology Cruise - October 22
Dining and Sightseeing options available!
Hull-o-ween Family Cruise - October 29
Haunted River Cruise (Ages 21+) - October 29

Book your cruises now:

The Maine lake full of sunken steamboats
September 22, 2022

We of course knew the Western Rivers were full of sunken steamboats, but now it turns out Moosehead Lake, in Maine, had sunken steamboats. Plus, the owners sank the boats because of a dip in tourism.

Learn more about the era and what remains . . . Maine lake full of sunken steamboats - BBC Travel.

Collecting and Preserving Steamboat History
September 4, 2022

This year Andrew Trovato procured a collection of steamboat ephemera and shared some of his great finds with! History is constantly disappearing, so we all need to do our part to save a as much history as we can for future generation. In that spirit, we want to share one of Andrew's great finds: a 1909 brochure for the steamers on Lake George.







Eastern Kentucky Floods
July 31, 2022 sends our sympathies for the families affected by the horrific floods in Kentucky. We are in this together as a union of states. Hang on, better times will come.

Latest News from Kimmswick
June 24, 2022

Cory Schuh, deputy director of the Jefferson County Port Authority, Kimmswick city officials, and the Kimmswick Historical Society are working to restore Kimmswick's history as a hub of paddle wheel steamboat activity. The American Queen and other paddle wheel boats have committed to stopping in Kimmswick more often. The owners of the Delta Queen Steamboat are also expected to make Kimmswick their home port.

Congratulations to Kimmswick for keeping history alive. To read the full article, click here:

60th Great Steamboat Race:
Controversial Outcome
May 9, 2022

Three boats competed, but only the Belle of Louisville is a genuine steam-powered boat. Thus, even though the Belle crossed the finish line last, the judges declared her the winner. There will be no recount. The silver antlers remain with the Belle of Louisville.

Two other boats, the Belle of Cincinnati and the American Countess, competed. Here at the editorial room, we believe somebody should have warned these boats their lack of steam boilers would disqualify them from winning.

According to Wave 3 News in Louisville, "Belle of Louisville Captain Mark Doty ordered the steamboat's cannon to fire around 6 p.m. Wednesday, signaling the start of this year's celebration." It's almost like he knew they would win before the race even started. See video and article here:

For anybody who is upset with this outcome, donate generously to the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Only by bringing the Delta Queen back to the rivers can you defeat the Belle of Louisville!

Frankly, we love all the boats, and are grateful for their participation. However we are secretly in favor of the judges' decision to award the silver antlers to the Belle of Louisville. Please don't tell anybody!!



Editor's note: these are screen shots from the Wave 3 News coverage. Note (above) not every steamboat had a cannon, but the Belle of Louisville has a working cannon. Another reason they deserved to win (watch out). Also (below) look at that paddle wheel thumping - no computer parts needed.


Steamboat Race - May 4, 2022
Tickets now available for the Chaser Boat for the Great Steamboat Race!


A message from the good people of the Belle of Louisville:

Join us aboard the Mary M. Miller to watch our favorite Kentucky Derby Festival tradition . . . the Great Steamboat Race!

Onboard the Mary, you'll be treated to the race's best spectator view as we chase the Belle of Louisville, the Belle of Cincinnati and the American Countess as they race up the Ohio River. Guests aboard the Mary M. Miller will enjoy a delicious build your own burger bar during this two and a half-hour excursion.

This event on May 4th boards at 5 P.M. and runs from 5:30-8:00 P.M.

Tickets are $62.50 for adults (15-64) and seniors and $31.50 for children (5-14); free for children ages 4 & under.

To view the menu and purchase tickets, click here - Belle of Louisville Special Events.


Get your May 4 tickets to follow the steamboat race onboard the Mary M. Miller!

Valentine Livingston St. Ceran, Captain of the Steamboat Maggie
February 28, 2022

Enclosed below is an ancestry story of Valentine Livingston St. Ceran, written, documented, and submitted by Adam Selino.

I stumbled across your steamboat archive and would like to pass along info regarding an ancestor of mine.

Valentine Livingston St. Ceran (1825-1908) was the captain of the steamboat "Maggie" from at least 1868 to 1871, replacing it by 1872 with another steamboat named "Favorite", which operated from at least 1872-1874. Newspapers show his steamboats constantly arriving and departing from the greater New Orleans area with cargo.

Attached to this email are a few newspaper clippings and a photo Tulane University claims is the Maggie along the Ohio River near Moscow, OH, with the hills of Kentucky in the background. The last newspaper clipping is an advertisement posted in 1873 for the steamboat Favorite. In the advertisement, St Ceran refers to the Favorite as a "fine passenger steamer", though every newspaper mention I can find of the Maggie or the Favorite is about it transporting lumber, shingles, cotton, and similar goods. Another oddity is that the first mention of the Maggie in any newspaper refers to it as "propeller Maggie, in tow of steamship Texas". Every clipping afterwards always described it as a steamer.

Here's a bit more info about St Ceran:

Captain Valentine St Ceran was born in Bborder="1" altimore in 1825, where he was raised and learned the trade skills of a mechanic and blacksmith. Shortly after completing his education he moved to New Orleans and began work repairing steamboats and various engines. Throughout the 1850's he also served as a state tax collector for Louisiana.

By 1865 he had become the proud owner of his own steamboat, the Maggie. The Maggie travelled all around the greater New Orleans area, skimming the Mississippi coastline and, of course, up the Mississippi River. By 1872, the Maggie was replaced by the Favorite, which he operated for several more years.

He later gave up his career on the river, returning to work as a skilled mechanic to help build the Norfolk Southern Lake Pontchartrain Bridge, the longest railway bridge in the US. He also dabbled as an electrician, helping to wire the United States Custom House in New Orleans.

In 1908, Captain Valentine St. Ceran fell ill after taking his daily stroll on a particularly dreary day. A week later he succumbed to pneumonia, at age 83. According to his obituary, at the time he was "one of the oldest and best known residents" of New Orleans, and his death came as "a shock to a large circle of people".









The newspaper clippings are a bit hard to read, so I've included three edited clippings that I think should be much easier to read, and are the more interesting of the bunch anyways; two being advertisements and another being a receipt of freight delivered by the Maggie. Below, I've included transcripts for each of these.

The Daily Picayune
Friday Morning, June 16, 1865
It will be seen by the advertisement of the agent, Mr. Charles W. Lewis, 186 Gravier street, that the staunch sea-going steamer Maggie, Capt. V. St. Ceran, has been put into the trade between here (New Orleans) and Biloxi. She will run in the daylight so as to give all a sight of the coast and continual breathing of the fresh air, and she will touch at Pilot Tower, Cat Island, Ship Island, Bay St. Louis, etc.
For freight or passage apply to Mr Lewis, 186 Gravier street.

The Daily Picayune
Tuesday Morning, March 9, 1869
Steamers Maggie, St Ceran, from Georgetown
COVINGTON (Pearl River) -- Steamer Maggie -- 108 bales cotton to Warren, Crawford & co -- 72 to Aleus, Scherk & Autey -- 46 to SH Aby & co -- 21 to M Musson & co -- 13 to Lehman, Newgass & co -- 8 to Ben Gerson -- 3 to Jno F Hardie & co -- 4 half barrels molasses to J Bloom & co -- 44 barrels tar master(?) - sundries to order -- Total 271 bales cotton.

The New Orleans Times
Tuesday, February 11, 1873
Leaves on Tuesday, 11th inst., at 4 p.m. For Amite River and Bayou Manchac -- The fine passenger steamer FAVORITE, Captain Val. St. Ceran, Julia street side New Basin, will leave as above for Black Bayou, Port Vincent, Governor's Bluff, and all landings on Amite River.
For freight or passage apply on board or to WM DAMEWOOD & CO, Agents, 41 Carondelet Street

2022 Steamboat Calendars Now Available
December 14, 2021

"Little Boats on Little Rivers"
For 2022 we revisit scale model sternwheelers, which was the theme for our 2005 calendar. Steam and diesel models are featured in great detail. The calendar contains 13 large photos printed on heavy card stock, suitable for framing.

This calendar is our best yet, with higher quality images, extra images, and color throughout!

Each month features a specific scale model boat along with related information, and a complete calendar page with holidays marked. The boats featured for 2022 include:


The 2022 calendar marks our 21st year of wall calendar offerings!

Calendar Price: $15.95
Plus Shipping: $ 4.50 for one calendar.
(add $1 for each additional calendar)

Please mail check or money order to:
Draftware Inc.
41 Ems W32
North Webster, IN 46555

Online credit card ordering is available on our web site:

Below are images of the calendar's front and back covers:



Latest News and Photos from the Delta Queen Steamboat Company
November 2, 2021

Editor's note: The following news and photos are from the Delta Queen Steamboat Company's Facebook page, posted September 15 (Facebook)

HURRICANE IDA UPDATE: On August 29th the Delta Queen was unfortunately impacted by a direct hit from Hurricane Ida at her mooring in Houma, Louisiana. Despite being subjected to winds in excess of 150 mph for over an hour, the Delta Queen did not suffer any major structural damage. However, the waterproofing membrane on the roof of the vessel was ripped away, along with several sections of handrail along the stern (rear) of the vessel. Several doors were damaged and about a dozen windows were broken. In the process, the shore power connections providing electricity to the Delta Queen were destroyed and the boarding stage heavily damaged. Our security team that rode out the storm did a fantastic job and we certainly appreciate their efforts. They are still onboard 24/7, even in the heat and these difficult conditions to protect the Queen.

All things considered; the Delta Queen held up very well, especially when compared to adjacent structures in the area. She is a true testimony to the quality craftsmanship of her builders over 90 years ago. We have engaged marine surveyors to complete a detailed damage assessment and repair plan which isn't expected to be complete for several more weeks. The immediate concern to address at this point is sealing up the exterior of the vessel with a new roof. We are already working with insurance and an installation contractor to install the new roof as soon as possible to prevent any further water damage to the interior.

The pictures attached here were taken this past weekend as crews worked diligently to clear the roof of any debris and get heavy plastic tarps in place to provide a temporary seal. The owners of the Delta Queen are thankful for all of the concern and outpouring of support from her many fans. We remain 100% committed to the long-term preservation of the Delta Queen and are continuing our efforts to re-secure the funding necessary for a full renovation and return to service. #FullSteamAhead

Delta Queen post-Ida

Delta Queen post-Ida

Delta Queen post-Ida

Delta Queen post-Ida

Delta Queen post-Ida

Delta Queen post-Ida

Delta Queen post-Ida

Delta Queen Steamboat Damaged in Hurricane Ida
September 16, 2021

The Delta Queen was under the eye of Hurricane Ida August 29 and sustained damage. According to the article below,
The waterproofing membrane on the roof of the vessel was ripped away, along with several sections of handrail. Several doors were damaged and about a dozen windows were broken, according to the company. In the process, the shore power connections providing electricity to the Delta Queen were destroyed and the boarding stage heavily damaged.
Read the article for more information:

We are deeply saddened and await more news of repairs.

Queen City Waterfront Needs a Mark Twain Riverboat
August 18, 2021

Cincinnati is considering two bids to bring their waterfront to life. One idea is to add a retired casino boat from Dubuque, Iowa, and turn it into a hotel, restaurant, event center. Here at, we think this is the best choice. First, there are so many grand boats that need good homes. Second, Cincinnati had the Delta Queen Steamboat on their waterfront for decades, and it was an iconic symbol for their city. The Delta Queen still bears a plaque on the bow that says "Port of Cincinnati." A paddle wheel boat could bring people together and provide a sense of identity for every true Cincinnatian.

Here's the story:

American Queen Returns to the Rivers
August 11, 2021

The American Queen Steamboat Company started the 2021 season on August 8, with an all-vaxxed crew and all-vaxxed passengers. This is the first cruise in eighteen months, due to the pandemic.

We celebrate the return of the American Queen, the youngest of the three sisters of the Greene Line / Delta Queen Steamboat Company. The boats changed hands many times, and had a tragic break-up under Majestic America Line / Ambassador Cruise Line. When the company went into bankruptcy in 2009, they murdered the Mississippi Queen and abandoned the Delta Queen. The third and youngest sister, the American Queen, had a government loan, so the government took possession of the boat. They took good care of it and the Great American Steamboat Company, then headed by Jeff Krida, bought the American Queen for $15 million. The boat was in near-perfect condition thanks to the US government, and soon returned to the rivers.

You can read the article here:

G. Dave Thomson
March 31, 1946 - July 3, 2021

George David Thomson Jr. graduated from the California Institute of the Arts, CalArts, in 1968, then worked at Disney Studios in Burbank for twenty years. He ran the scene planning department for many years and worked with the animators on many Disney classics like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Following his time with Disney, he worked for Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbera, and Hyperion Studios. All told he was in the cameraman's union, the International Cinematographers Guild, for thirty years.

After retiring in 2000, Dave threw himself into Mark Twain and paddle wheel steamboat history. He was a prolific collector of vintage steamboat photos, oil paintings, model boats, and other steamboat artifacts and paraphernalia. In January 2002 he contacted Nori Muster, web designer of, and began to send her images and information to post at her website.

The Dave Thomson Collection is comprised of 240 pages displaying 2,990 steamboat images. It is the largest collection of steamboat photos on the Internet.

Over his twenty years as the primary contributor and historian for, Dave answered hundreds of questions for people about their ancestry or a particular boat or captain they were researching. In addition, hundreds of people contacted the museum for permission to use Dave's images for book covers, museum exhibits, magazine articles, and other commercial use.

Dave wrote all the captions for the steamboat jpgs he sent for the museum, and his writings now serve as a valuable bank of information. Losing Dave to medical complications is a loss for the entire steamboat community. He was one of the elders, and took an encyclopedia of history with him when he left. Sadly, it is a history that was already disappearing.

Dave grew up in Palos Verdes, in Los Angeles County, California, and is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Darryl and Jerri Thomson. They will spread his ashes in San Pedro, nearby Palos Verdes where Dave and Darryl used to walk along the breakwater as kids.

One final note from Nori Muster: In 2015, Dave and I had a telephone conversation about the museum and wandered into the subject of our spiritual beliefs. Neither of us were ultra-religious, but we both felt a connection to the numinous through steamboats. He said:

"Worshiper of steamboats perhaps? I think we're onto the key to a positive afterlife where steamboats are our reward and compensation for rough times we experienced on planet earth."

Visit the Dave Thomson Museum:
Dave's favorite songs:
Dixie Lily, by Elton John (from the 1974 Caribou Album)
On The Robert E. Lee, by Neil Diamond (from the 1980 motion picture soundtrack The Jazz Singer)

Contact: Nori Muster, author and web designer
480-275-7889 norimuster - at - gmail


Dave Thomson in his river room with fellow steamboat enthusiast, Goldie Cat. Dave Thomson 1946-2021.

# # #

Possible Inspiration for this Kiyoshi Ikezumi Work
May 20, 2021


This is done by Kiyoshi Ikezumi who was a Japanese woodblock artist. I am trying to figure out if the boat is from Britain. It has an eagle under a crown with the date 1870. He would do prints from these time periods of cultural significance. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Mark Labacz Museum Historian Dave Thomson found an American boat that may have been the inspiration. The Red Wing (the earliest of several boats with the name) was a side wheeler from Brownsville, Pennsylvania (hull) and completed in Pittsburgh in 1870. It ran St. Louis to St. Paul for the Keokuk Northern Line until dismantled in about 1882. This photo of the Red Wing is in the Museum collections*:

Dave Thomson said, "It could have been inspired by this boat with '1870' on the paddlebox. But of course in the fun stylized version by Kiyoshi. The whole thing is abstracted and transformed into something brand new."


Above, the Red Wing, ween with "1870" painted on the cover of the side wheel on the windward side of the boat.
Below, detail of the artist's signature on the art piece:


Editor's note: maybe the artist improvised the British decorations on the paddle box, or maybe the paddle box had decorations, but they're just hard to see, or may be faded in the photo we have of the boat. Does anybody have one of it when it was new (1870)?

Kimmswick Updates
May 17, 2021

Latest update - the Kimmswick port about ready to open. Read the whole article here:

May 11, 2021 update - St. Louis TV Channel 5, KSDLK, has some good news after Covid and floods "nearly wiped the town and it's festivals off the map":
Kimmswick making comeback this Mother's Day!
Mayor Phil Stang said Kimmswick is making inroads with riverboat companies, like the Delta Queen, to make Kimmswick a stop along their Mississippi River journey. The dock at the Kimmswick port is complete and they should be ready to receive riverboats this summer. Read more:

April 17, 2021 update - Check the latest news on the progress in Kimmswick, future home port of the Delta Queen Steamboat! Also enclosed below is the new logo.


Remembrance of the Sultana Disaster
by Nori Muster, editor
April 7, 2021

Sultana Before DIsaster Landscape
The Sultana in 1865 Library of Congress

The anniversary of the loss of the Sultana is coming up this month. The boat exploded on April 27, 1865, en route from Memphis to New Orleans with the loss of 1,547 lives. Of those who died 1,100 were Union soldiers returning North from Southern battlefields at the end of the Civil War.

My great grandfather, John Muster*, spent most of the Civil War in Confederate prisions, including Andersonville. For many of us who have ancestors who fought in the Civil War, this was a terrible loss.

Here at, we received a letter from Dee Cody, whose great-great-great grandfather was on the Sultana when it exploded, but his life was spared. At Dee Cody's request, I will pass along the information she sent about the Sultana Association, dedicated to preserving the memory of the event, and those who lost their lives.

The Sultana Association, formed in the late 1980s, holds an reunion ever April. Due to Covid, they postponed the reunion last year, but plan to hold the reunion on Zoom this month. Contact The Sultana Association (thesultanaassociation @ for more information about the event.

More resources . . .

The Sultana Association:




Wikipedia: Sultana_(steamboat)

Civil War History:


Loss of the Sultana and Reminiscences of Survivors, by Chester Berry (survivor of the disaster, published in 1829), University of Tennessee Press hardcover and paperback

The Sultana Tragedy: America's Greatest Maritime Disaster, by Jerry O. Potter hardcover and ebook

Disaster on the Mississippi: The Sultana Explosion, by Gene Eric Salecker hardcover and ebook

Sultana: Surviving the Civil War, Prison, and the Worst Maratime Disaster in American History, by Alan Huffman paperback and ebook

Life on the Delta Queen Steamboat - A New Memoir
March 14, 2021


Just out this year is Life on the Mississippi, 1969, by Dell Franklin, a storekeeper on the Delta Queen. He worked behind the scenes making menus with the chef, and ordering and stocking supplies for cruises. Check out his book - it will either take you back to the good old days or introduce you to a time when the Delta Queen Steamboat was cruising the rivers with abaondon.

Description at Amazon:
Almost a century after Mark Twain wrote Life on the Mississippi, the legendary river imparted different lessons to a young Dell Franklin, fresh out of the army in 1969. Most of the lessons a young Samuel Clemens learned came from the captains of the boats he served on, helping him to become a pilot with the knowledge to navigate the snags and tricky currents of the Mississippi. But during Dell Franklin's brief but colorful life on the river the lessons came from the lower decks, the galley, storeroom, and sleeping quarters he shared with Black crew members and the Black chef, Henry Joyner Sr., a master of his galley and a true life character who is unforgettable.

Click here to see the book: Amazon

Ripley Moves Ahead with Dock
February 13, 2021

Ripley, Ohio, is raising funds to build a dock for the Delta Queen Steamboat and other large boats. The village is seventy miles east of Cincinnati on the eastern side of the Ohio River. To read the entire article, click here:

Ripley is known for its role in the Underground Railroad in the nineteenth century, and the location of the new dock will be in Freedom Park Landing.

Lateset Good News from Kimmswick
January 4, 2021

Waterways Journal reports:
After many years of planning and delays due to high water, and many other issues, work has finally begun on a new excursion boat landing in Kimmswick, Mo.

Ground has been broken, and the pilings are being placed. The long-anticipated arrival of excursion boats to the Jefferson County shores will soon be a reality, including the historic Delta Queen.
Read the whole article here:

Happy New Year!
New Museum Items!

January 5, 2021

This week, our elves at the Steamboat Museum posted all the new items for your perusal! When there's time, we will place these in the permanent collection. Get 'em now! Putting them in their permanent spots will take place later this year.

New photos, page 1

New photos, page 2

New ephemera, page 1

New ephemera, page 2

New movie photos

New paintings and art

New showboat photos and posters

New model boats

New illustrations

New steamboat documents

Recent Photos of the Delta Queen Steamboat
December 31, 2020

Last evening, Patrick Doornbos posted 49 photos of the Delta Queen taken September 30, 2020. Here at we think the boat looks darn good for being tied up since 2008.






See all 49 photos: Facebook

We want to thank Patrick Doornbos for posting these, and thank Cornel Martin, head of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, for his words to rally support for the Queen as we merge into 2021.

Cornel Martin said:
I am sorry that so many are saddened and some are shocked at these photos.
Many of you have asked why and even expressed anger that no one stepped up to save the Mississippi Queen. And now she is gone.
Well, a few of us have stepped up to save the Delta Queen from suffering the same fate as the Mississippi Queen. Had the owners not bought the Delta Queen in 2015, she would be gone.
We got the exemption through Congress after a nine year battle when so many had given up and said it would never happen. And yes, we had several resources who assured us that the funds to fully restore her would be available once the exemption was secured. Unfortunately during that nine year battle, some moved on to other investments, some suffered their own setbacks and some lost interest and faith in the project, but the owners never gave up.
Immediately after buying the Delta Queen the owners had to spend $250,000 to move her from Chattanooga to Louisiana when the mayor of Chattanooga said the boat had to go. For nearly 6 years the owners have kept the boat safe with security personnel onboard 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We have paid $15,000 to $20,000 on security insurance, rent and utilities every month since owning the Delta Queen.
We have put together a budget with marine architects, marine surveyors and venders and developed a very detailed business plan as well as a very reliable repair and renovation plan. We have solid estimates on how much it will cost to replace the boilers, main steam line, generators, galley, sewerage system, HVAC, electrical work and to repair the superstructure, interior passenger and crew spaces and cabins, the hull and the paddle wheel. Over the last six years, the owners have spent over a hundred thousand dollars to make necessary repairs so that when full funding becomes available the Delta Queen is still viable and can be restored and returned to service.
We have had about $84,000 in very generous donations since 2015 to help Save the Delta Queen, and to date, our owners have spent several million of their own dollars to keep the Delta Queen from the scrap yard.
The owners will continue to keep the Delta Queen safe and dry as long as we are able, hopefully until we can find the $20+ million needed to fully restore the Delta Queen and return her to overnight river cruise service. That total includes full restoration, crew training and start up capital. COVID has interrupted our efforts to secure those funds, but we will not give up.
To those who continue to support us, thank you! To those who are disappointed, all I can say is we are doing our very best to save this National Treasure.

To read more comments, go to the Save the Delta Queen group at facebook (

New News from Cincinnati Waterfront
December 24, 2020

A December 23 report on the Cincinnati waterfront reveals trouble in the river city. Here's an excerpt from the article:
A month after Cincinnati's Board of Park Commissioners endorsed the idea of a no-bid contract for Queen City Riverboats to install a public boat dock at Cincinnati's Public Landing, Parks Director Kara Kish asked the city solicitor Tuesday to launch a formal bidding process for the marina's "construction and operation."

The policy change came less than a week after the WCPO I-Team started asking questions about the financial terms of the proposed deal and critics warned in letters to the city that the new dock would prevent the Public Landing from being used by overnight passenger vessels like the Delta Queen and American Queen.

Read the article:

Latest News from Kimmswick
December 15, 2020

Updates from Kimmswick, Missouri, the future home port of the Delta Queen Steamboat: Read the article:
Kimmswick port construction has begun
By Steve Taylor My Leader newspaper
December 14, 2020

Holiday Steamboat Shopping
2021 Steamboat Calendar - click here
Belle of Louisville giftshop - click here
(or scroll down)

Support the Belle of Louisville
Updated November 27, 2020

The Belle of Louisville is home for the winter, safe and sound. They want to encourage everyone to visit their gift store for apparel, drinkware, accessories, paddle wheel wood art, membership, and gift cards. Or donate! Let's show our support for the Belle this year!


October 28,2020 The Belle is up and out of the water! The Coast Guard is doing an inspection this morning and then maintenance and repairs will begin. You can help offset the cost of her preservation by making a donation!

Editor's note: this is routine maintenance, but in the time of COVID, our historic steamboats can use all the help they can get!

New 2021 Sternwheel Wall Calendar Available!

Back by popular demand, the 2021 calendar features early photos of sternwheel towboats. The calendar contains 13 large photos printed on heavy card stock, suitable for framing.


This calendar is our best yet, with higher quality images, extra images, and added color throughout!

Each month features a specific boat along with its history, and a complete calendar page, with holidays marked. The boats featured for 2021 include:


The 2021 calendar marks our 20th year of wall calendar offerings!

Calendar Price: $15.95
Plus Shipping: $ 4.50 for one calendar.
(add $1 for each additional calendar)

Please mail check or money order to:
Draftware Inc., 41 Ems W32. North Webster, IN 46555
Online credit card ordering is available on our web site:

Below are images of the calendar's front and back covers:



Editor's note: get one while they last! Steamboat calendars make great stocking stuffers!

Kimmswick Port Back on Track
August 30, 2020

Due to the pandemic, the fate of the Kimmswick marina was in doubt last spring.* However, things are back on track now. When completed, Kimmswick port will be the home port of the Delta Queen Steamboat. However, due to the pandemic and social distancing, work on the Delta Queen is moving along at a slower pace. Read the entire article for details:

Kimmswick port project on track for 2020
By Steve Taylor

Editor's note: another update to the situation in Kimmswick - go to


One of my Steamboat Facebook friends challenged Biden supporters to post a yard sign. Here is my yard sign. I support equality of black and white, gay and straight, young and old, North and South, and a United States for all Americans.

Tracking Steamboat History
August 16, 2020

The River: Tracking down particulars of a certain riverboat calliope; answer may never be known, by Don Sanders, from his ongoing column in the Northern Kentucky Tribune:

Captain Wagner Painting
July 16, 2020


Jackie Smith recently completed this painting of Captain Ernest Wagner, one of the most beloved and respected steamboat captains of our era. She used a photo by Bill Muster, and colorized it to fine detail. We encourage everyone to contact Jackie to buy a copy of the painting: Jackie at

Delta Queen Watchman John Hartford Tribute Album
June 16, 2020

From Rolling Stone: "A tribute album and an LP of unfinished Hartford instrumentals reflect new interest in the bluegrass picker, songwriter, and all-around Renaissance man."
Article by David Browne: Supports #BlackLivesMatter
by Nori Muster
June 17, 2020 | updated has always supported #BlackLivesMatter and we urge people to acknowledge the discrimination and violence white America has inflicted on Black Americans for four hundred years. We support removing monuments and statues, and updating names that refer to the Confederate era. Most of these monuments were erected during the Jim Crow era, into the 1970s. White people installed these monuments to threaten Black Americans in the twentieth century.

The same goes for the Confederate flag, which also dates back to the Jim Crow years. Not everybody takes it that way, but if you do not understand the history of the symbol, consider not idolizing it. Better to identify with the pirates of history and fly a pirate flag. You don't need a to brandish a weapon - or weaponized symbol - to prove who you are.

The swastika was adopted by Hitler as a symbol of Nazism during World War II, when America and Europe came together to fight back fascism in Europe. That war ended in 1945 and Europe stopped using the swastika. In America, the Civil War ended in 1865, but 155 years later, people cannot let it go. If Europe was still displaying the swastika at their official government sites for 155 years after WWII, that would go on until the year 2100.

It's time for America to come to terms with its original sin of slavery and discrimination. It's time we accept one another as equal citizens here - and not just accept - but embrace our fellow Americans. It's way past time to end police brutality, so let's get more community services to create civility and solidarity in our cities and towns.

When my father was president of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, he designated black officers to manage some boat operations. He told everybody if they hand a problem with it, he would pull the boat over to the shore and let them off.

Paddle wheel steamboats were all around the world at one time, but Mark Twain made the Mississippi River famous for paddle wheel steamboats. It's a positive, appropriate symbol of the South and all of America. With a long line of artists, authors, and musicians from the South, steamboats are up there as positive symbols. Paddle wheel boats are known for settling the western territories before trains came along. They brought jazz to the North, and were a link in the Underground Railroad.

Editor's Note: Today Quaker Oats announced they ended the Aunt Jemima line of foods, and it's about time. Our Steamboat Museum* has its Preston and Child Cabinet of Curiosities aspects. Who knows what mysteries are in there. As curator of the collection, I have blocked racist images, and also work to cull them out. If you find any, tell me*.

Besides racist images in our collections, I would like to complain about social discrimination against workers. What makes people think the working class are automatically criminals? Like they are somehow trying to cheat the government, or like they don't deserve a living wage, or decent unemployment. Now, due to the pandemic, we realize the value of people who work for big companies at minimum, or near-minimum wages.

Let's get it through our heads: all people are created equal. As Americans pledging to the flag since childhood, we realize equality for all is the basis of our beliefs. Everybody knows people who work for a living are usually the best people you will ever meet.

Please stop attacking each other anonymously online or on the road, and be friendly to strangers. We reside in the home of the brave. Helping each other along the way is how we will keep our freedom.

SOS Save our Steamboats
May 4, 2020

If you have the means during this crisis, the Belle of Louisville could use your help. History does not save itself, especially at times like this. Like on an airplane, we recommend you put the mask on yourself first, then help others. If you are feeling suddenly financially insecure, just send your thoughts. But if you can manage it, send cash money to the Belle of Louisville. Every little bit will help, and doing something to help others during a crisis makes you feel good too.


Belle of Louisville - mail your check with a friendly positive note: Belle of Louisville, 401 W River Rd, Louisville, KY 40202, or visit on line to send your positive thoughts:

Kimmswick Update
April 1, 2020

My Leader paper, out of Festus, Missouri, has an update on the town of Kimmswick, home port of the Delta Queen Steamboat. The article by Tony Krausz appeared March 28, 2020. He said in part:
Kimmswick, Jefferson County's main tourist destination, is bracing itself for harsh economic repercussions because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. "I really don't know where we are going," Kimmswick Mayor Phil Stang said. . . . .

However, the town is part of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI), which represents 124 cities along the river, and Stang is a member of the organization's executive committee.

Stang said he is not sure how the pandemic will affect the planned arrival of the Delta Queen riverboat to a port being built for it in Kimmswick.

"It was supposed to come in around late spring of 2021," Stang said. "(The port, which is under construction) is still moving along, but like anything else, I have no idea."

Read the entire article: will keep Kimmswick and the Delta Queen Steamboat in our thoughts during this pandemic.

New! Stories By Jerry Canavit
February 26, 2020

Read the Confessions of a Steamboat Addict - now at Jerry Canavit grew up with paddle wheel steamboats and tells all. Close to twenty of his stories now posted. Go to: Steamboat Stories.


The winning boat in our Parde of Lights. Best holiday wishes from!

Delta Queen in the News
December 12, 2019

The Delta Queen received Coast Guard approval while it undergoes renovation and updates to prepare the boat to go back into service as early as 2020. Read more: Minnesota Post Bulletin.

Editor's note: not sure why the caption to the photo says, "The Delta Queen may return to the Mississippi River once it receives a federal exemption to a passenger limit on wooden boats." The Senate passed the Save the Delta Queen bill November 14, 2018, the House passed it November 27, 2018, and the president signed it December 4, 2018.

2020 Delta Queen Calendars!
November 14, 2019

Get your 2020 Delta Queen calendar!!

On Nov 11, 2019, at 11:26 PM, John Weise wrote:

My new 2020 Delta Queen Calendar will be going to print shortly.
Get your order in so I can get enough of them printed.
This is the 13th year in a row that it has been published!
The photos were taken between 1998 & 2008.
The price of the calendar $15 remains the same.
The price of mailing an individual calendar has increased to $4 or two calendars for $5.


You can reach me at 513-3852381 in Cincinnati
Or by e-mail - click here - jrweise @

Or by snail mail:
John Weise
5552 Dry Ridge Road
Cincinnati, OH 45252-1800

2020 Sternwheel Wall Calendar is Available!
December 22, 2019



Back by popular demand, the 2020 calendar features early photos of sternwheel towboats. The calendar contains 13 large photos printed on heavy card stock, suitable for framing.


This calendar is our best yet, with higher quality images, extra images, and added color throughout!

Each month features a specific boat along with its history, and a complete calendar page, with holidays marked. The boats featured for 2020 include:


The 2020 calendar marks our 19th year of wall calendar offerings!

Calendar Price: $15.95
Plus Shipping: $ 4.50 for one calendar.
(add $1 for each additional calendar)

Please mail check or money order to:
Draftware Inc.
41 Ems W32
North Webster, IN 46555

Online credit card ordering is available on our web site:

Remembrance of Lewis Verduyn
October 10, 2019

On Oct 6, 2019, at 8:26 PM, David Thomson wrote:

I had not heard from New Zealander Lewis Verduyn in quite a while. His site Steamboat Times is a great resource and I hope that it will continue to be available online since his passing. An intuition on my part led me to search for him online today and I was shocked and deeply saddened to discover that he passed on at age 60 on the 21st of August 2019. A ceremony to scatter his ashes in his beloved Clutha River occurred (yesterday) the 5th of October, 2019.

Lewis was a wonderful correspondent and his e-mails were always full of tales of his life, times and many adventures as a river rafter and conservationist. I will miss him and wish that we had met in person.

Message from Lewis 23rd December 2018:
Hello Dave,
It's one of those clear sky and calm mornings here, and I sure hope we get a breeze later, otherwise it will be mighty hot. Tomorrow, Christmas day, the temperature is supposed to be 31Celsius (equivalent to about 88 degrees Fahrenheit) but unofficially, down the river valley, it is usually several degrees hotter. I must get outside before it heats up. When the days are like this, I like to pump my water from the river into my tank in the mornings (using my old circa 1930s electric windmill water-pump), and I also like to check my plantings including my vegetable garden.
I hope all is well with you, and that you have a very pleasant and peaceful Christmas and New Year. Your friend on the riverbank,

Published in Southland Times from Aug. 21 to Aug. 24, 2019

Sadly Lewis passed away at his home in Luggate; aged 60 years. Much loved youngest son of Catherine and the late Jacob, loved brother of the late Roger, a much loved nephew, uncle, and cousin of all his family in New Zealand and Holland. In accordance with family's wishes a private cremation has been held.

Memorial service for Lewis Verduyn was held at 2.00 pm
Saturday 5th of October 2019
The memorial will be in order to pay tribute to the life of a friend, teacher and visionary. Lewis' ashes will be scattered at the river and there will be anvopportunity for those who knew him to say some words. Bring a cup for Manuka Tea.

Red Bridge River Park Charitable Trust

We are fundraising to create and maintain a river park and native recovery centre at the Luggate Red Bridge near Wanaka. The Clutja Mata-Au River Parkway Group, New Zealand, was formed in October 2003 in response to land development issues along the Clutha Mata-Au River corridor, much of which has high scenic and recreational values.

The project aimed to establish a regional river parkway, including a river trail, along the entire 338 km river corridor from Lake Wanaka to the Pacific Ocean. The project was initiated by Lewis Verduyn, a rafting operator on the Upper Clutha Mata-Au who has rafted the river since 1981. Lewis became Chairperson of the project and was known as an advocate for river protection and conservation.

Rafter Clyde For Sale
August 12, 2019

Here's a description of the boat from Captain Don Sanders:

Fifty-three by thirteen-foot authentic stern hydraulic paddle wheeler. Powered by 35 HP Kubota, four-cylinder diesel engine. Full galley, Captain's Quarters and Pilot Bunk. Full bathroom (head) with toilet, shower, and sink. Holding tank. for black water. Potable water tank plus three diesel full fuel tanks and one hydraulic oil tank. New Bow Thruster Tunnel installed last year. Bottom prepped and coated with coal tar epoxy and four coats on Bar-Rust 235 two-part epoxy bottom paint. Marine hull survey completed, June 2018. The CLYDE is on the Middle Ohio River and is accessible to all points wherever the rivers flow. Will consider any and all reasonable offers.

Contact the Captain at - RafterClyde @

Listing on

Nine-thousand photos of the CLYDE are on

My phone # is: 859-445-8912. The first cal anyone will likely need to leave a voice mail.


Editor's Note: Find more about Rafter Clyde at this site: Steamboat Museum.

Footage of Gordon C. Greene Cruise Emerges
August 5, 2019

Our thanks to Shawn Douglass for unearthing this rare 8 mm footage of a steamboat cruise aboard the Gordon C. Greene. Shawn located the footage while going through his grandfather's home movies, then shared it with and He also posted it on Youtube and asked that we share it! Enjoy.




Grieving today for the victims and their loved ones in El Paso and Dayton.
Fight hate speech with love.
Ban civilian use of military weaponry.

Delta Queen in the News
July 4, 2019

The Delta Queen Steamboat was in the news again - two days in a row! "The Delta Queen Will Set Sail Once Again in 2020," by Mackenzie Manley, came out July 2 in Cincinnati's City Beat. The story includes quotes from Phillip Johnson, who along with Cornel Martin and Leah Ann Ingram, make up the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Read the article:

American Flag   Happy Fourth of July!

Preservation News:
Delta Queen Steamboat Saved and Safe

July 1, 2019

Today Preservation in Mississippi highlighted a recent article about the Delta Queen Steamboat with updates. Read the articles here:

Delta Queen Coming Back to the River
By Elmal Vaney, July 1, 2019

Saved and Safe, Beloved Steamboat Looks Forward to 2020 Launch
By Carson Bear, May 9, 2019

New Exhibit at Steamboats Online Museum
June 28, 2019

Learn all about the history of the sternwheelers of Freedomland USA, a theme park in The Bronx, 1960-1964. Our thanks to Mike Virgintino for sending history and photos from his collection! Click here to see the exhibit: Freedomland at

New Twist to a Classic Delta Queen Logo
June 15, 2019


Warren Stitchtenoth created the logo for the Delta Queen Steamboat in the 1960s. Tie dye added at - just for fun.

Craig Stitchtenoth said (August 14, 2019): "If you look in the DQ photo album in the gallery*, you will see all sorts of examples of the logo used in many different ways. It borders on crazy."

Delta Queen Steamboat in the News
May 7, 2019

The National Trust for Historic Places published a great article about the Delta Queen, including her history, and the successful effort to get the Congressional exemption reinstated. The article said,

Along with other passionate advocates, the National Trust helped tell her story to lawmakers who had the influence to impact her future.

Phillip Johnson explains that thanks to the 11 Most listing and National Treasure designation, "we were able to get the word out and get people actively calling their congresspeople to save the boat. It made our issue important to representatives."

After years of petitioning local representatives, alerting the media, and asking Delta Queen fans for their support, the steamboat's advocates were successful; the Coast Guard Authorization (S. 140) passed Congress and was signed into law in 2018, enabling her return to operation as an overnight passenger vessel.

With her exemption well in hand, Delta Queen LLC is now in the process of a multi-year restoration. She's in need of over $10 million in repairs, including fire safety updates, more efficient generators, and sewage upgrades, as well as a litany of mechanical updates. Still, according to Johnson, it's important to maintain her historic mechanical character. "What the passengers will hear and see is what the Delta Queen is largely known for," he says.

Read the whole story:


Old Town Sacramento in History
January 12, 2019

Editor's note: we recently heard from KV Bunker, who recognized these photos were taken near Old Town Sacramento. I've traveled there many times to stay on the Delta King Steamboat Hotel - but never picked up the connection.
On Dec 11, 2018, at 6:44 PM, KV Bunker wrote:


I just stumbled upon the wonderful site today and was just poring over the movies section.

Since I was born and raised in Sacramento, I instantly recognized this:


The very rural scene showing the 'Cotton Palace' being shoved toward shore more likely was shot on the Sacramento River side channel known as "Steamboat Slough" - or just as easily a similar stream on the eastern side of the main river, "Georgiana Slough." The main Sacramento is nearly always betrayed by taller California-style levees and a broader water surface, which are aspects quite so typical (especially before the 1940s and '50s) in the paralleling sloughs.


The earlier shot (above) was shot from the Yolo County bank opposite Sacramento, with what we now call "Old Sacramento" (back then "Skid Row") and the Southern Pacific Railroad's waterfront freight dock and railroad freight station in the background, and the CA State Capitol dome in very far right background; the mansard roofed building in far center distance is the landmark 926 J Building, which my late dad formerly served as building superintendent (it's now the Hotel Citizen). I have a hunch the steamer heading downstream mid-river was the old 'Napa City' but would have to study her details a lot more closely.

Old Sacramento got a long head start before Delta King arrived, having been instituted (slowly, at first) when Interstate 5 ripped through. The present Old Sac district was the original intended path for that freeway, and locals fought hard to get it move three blocks east. Sacramento thereby lost other historic buildings and most of the old Chinese district, but at least the original townsite was rescued. It took the establishment of California State Railroad Museum (where I worked about 15 years) and Old Sacramento State Historic Park in the late '70s to really put impetus to get the rest of the district (98% private commercial properties) either restored or reconstructed.

I recall when DK was rescued from her precarious situation near Rio Vista, and had gone on board her the first time after she was raised from the mud. I then joined others that triumphal day when her tired hulk was towed up to the old River Lines dock and went aboard numerous times during the two initial restorations. Of course we all celebrated when the Coyne Brothers finally managed to get DK to the state we now know and love, especially after the replicated sternwheel was installed. I must say how I'd get goosebumps climbing or descending Delta Queens grand staircase in my October 2004 cruise, recalling the same path on the King, and feeling their connection much more vividly thereby. It was fun talking with DQ officers and crew about DK; those who had never been aboard the King were very interested to learn anything they could about the other sister, particularly DQ's captains - one of them a young woman and 4th generation river pilot.

Anyway, cheers for a great site!

Best wishes and Happy Holidays,

K.V. Bunker
Editor's Note: the woman river captain was Mary Greene, see: Mary Greene at

Cincinnati is selling the Showboat Majestic, a National Historic Landmark
January 12, 2019

If you are interested in this boat, read more:

old boats

The 2019 calendars are here!
Click here for historic stern wheel towboats
Click here for Delta Queen


The Senate passed the Save the Delta Queen bill November 14, the House passed it November 27, and the president signed it December 4, 2019.

Official statement by the Delta Queen Steamboat Company:

Media coverage: (1) (2)RailwayPreservationNews (1) (2)maritime-executive.comjournaltimes.comnatchezdemocrat.comstartribun

2019 Sternwheel Wall Calendar is Available!
December 5, 2018



Back by popular demand, the 2019 calendar features early photos of sternwheel towboats. The calendar contains 13 large photos printed on heavy card stock, suitable for framing.


This calendar is our best yet, with higher quality images, extra images, and added color throughout!

Each month features a specific boat along with its history, and a complete calendar page, with holidays marked. The boats featured for 2019 include:

LIBERTY (and AMERICA showboat)

The 2019 calendar marks our 18th year of wall calendar offerings!

Calendar Price: $15.95
Plus Shipping: $ 4.50 for one calendar.
(add $1 for each additional calendar)

Please mail check or money order to:
Draftware Inc.
41 Ems W32
North Webster, IN 46555

Online credit card ordering is available on our web site:

Editor's note: we are pleased to offer the Sternwheel towboat calendar featuring historic boats (above) and the Delta Queen calendar, below.

2019 Delta Queen Calendar Now Available
December 1, 2018



On Nov 29, 2018, John Weise wrote:

My new 2019 Delta Queen Calendar is back from the printer.
Get your order in as soon as possible to fully celebrate the 2018 exemption!
This is the twelfth year in a row that it has been published!
The photos were taken between 1989 & 2008.
The price of the calendar $15 remains the same.
The price of mailing an individual calendar is $3 or two calendars for $4.
You can reach me at 513-385-2381 in Cincinnati
Or by e-mail - click here @ jrweise @
Or by snail mail:
John Weise
5552 Dry Ridge Road
Cincinnati, OH 45252-1800

Editor's note: We thank John Weise for his dedication to the Delta Queen, and to his photography of all paddle wheel riverboats that pass through Cincinnati, one of the great Steamboatlandia cities. All photos by John Weise. We urge you to place your order soon, since his calendars sell out every year.

Call Your US Rep. Today for the Delta Queen
November 26, 2018

Tomorrow will be a historic vote for the Delta Queen Steamboat. As your US Representative to vote YES on the Coast Guard Authorization bill, S 140, which includes provisions for the Delta Queen. The bill passed the Senate last week.

Following is a press release from the Delta Caucus:
"Delta Queen Movement on the Verge of Historic Victory—Contact US House for Delta Queen Bill Set for Vote tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 27"

CONTACT: Lee Powell, Director, Delta Caucus (202) 360-6347

Delta Queen supporters are on the verge of victory in our decade-long movement to allow the historic Delta Queen to once again travel America's rivers—the US House votes tomorrow on the Delta Queen (DQ) bill. Contact your US representatives and urge passage of the bill.

The Delta Caucus and other DQ supporters have been advocating for this legislation ever since the last required Congressional exemption lapsed in 2008—it has taken 10 years but we can now see victory near. DQ supporters need to continue doing our due diligence in backing the bill today and up until tomorrow's vote.

NOTE: The Delta Queen has an exemplary safety record, extensive upgrades will add new boilers, generators, rebuild the paddle wheel, complete a system of state-of-the-art safety requirements, create additional exit routes, and the Coast Guard has to give a rigorous safety inspection (as it does all publicly operated vessels) before the DQ can travel one inch off the dock. Allegations about a "terrible fire hazard" are simply bogus.

Opponents often make the false claim that the boat is entirely made of wood, but this is bogus: the boat consists of 75% steel and other non-combustible materials. The wooden portion is only about 25% and will be further reduced. The boat has a steel hull and state of the art safety systems.

As expected, the bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate by a vote of 94 to 6 on Nov. 14.

The bill also adds a requirement for replacing 10% of combustible materials each year, thus adding additional layers of safety to a boat that was operated safely for decades on America's rivers. Again, if the Coast Guard finds any safety issue, they will prohibit the boat from traveling until the issue is resolved, in the unlikely event that there is any issue after all the upgrades are in place.

The Delta Caucus asks our supporters to contact your US House representative and urge passage of S. 140, the Coast Guard Authorization Bill including language that will allow the Delta Queen to return to overnight cruise service, for a vote on Tuesday. The bill will require a 2/3rds vote for approval, but prospects for passage are strong.

The exemption is for the Safety of Life at Seas (our italics) Act of 1966, which as the name clearly states was intended to apply to ocean-going vessels, not a riverboat like the DQ which is never more than a few minutes from land.

The boat is a National Historic Landmark, and the bill has been endorsed by the International Seafarers Union, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Maritime Officers, and many other historical preservation organizations.

Allowing the DQ to resume its travels will preserve a national historic treasure, educate many travelers about the history of steamboating across America's heartland, promote appreciation of our region's natural resources with the first-hand exposure to the beauty of the region by travelers, create about 150 jobs, and generate tourist dollars in the ports where it stops.

Most importantly, passage will reward Cornel Martin and his team's exemplary efforts to go above and beyond the call of duty by adding so many layers of extra safety precaution on the boat.

This does not require any taxpayer funding, but merely legal permission for the boat to travel again.

We commend the many Members of Congress in both Houses who have championed this legislation, including Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. French Hill (R-AR), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Rep. R-Ohio, and the many other members of Congress (too numerous to list here) who support this bill.

The center of opposition to the bill is led by a competing steamboat company, American Cruise Lines that operates out of offices in Connectict and also owns a shipyard in Maryland. They have complained that if the DQ is allowed to travel again it will harm their business, although there has been a major resurgence of steamboating on the Mississippi and its tributaries in recent years and there is plenty of opportunity for a number of steamboats on our rivers.

American Cruise Lines' lobbyist has also made erroneous charges about the safety of the DQ, in spite of its excellent safety record over 80 years of being safely operated on America's rivers and the many new layers of safety requirements in the legislation, the program of renovations planned by Cornel Martin, and above all the fact that the Coast Guard has to inspect the boat before it travels and will prevent it from traveling if any safety defect is found, until the issue is resolved.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Please note that the Coast Guard inspectors' actions in approving the boat for travel over the decades was the true meaningful statement about the boat's safety, and their inspections in the future if the bill passes will be the definitive action on this subject.

It is certainly true that when bureaucrats in Washington, DC at the US Dept. of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard of any other agency for that matter who know little or nothing about the DQ are asked slanted questions such as "There is this entirely wooden, old boat that is a terrible fire hazard called the Delta Queen. Do you think it should be allowed to travel on America's waterways again?" Of course they will say "No." But they are not informed about the facts of the boat's safety record and the new upgrades, and again the only actors who matter are the Coast Guard inspectors on the rivers who do the actual inspections.

American Cruise Lines has several boats on the river now and one in the Pacific Northwest. Their lobbying firm is Blank Rome. Their CEO, Mr. Charles Robertson has spent well over a half million dollars over the last several years with the Blank Rome firm trying to defeat any effort to pass legislation to allow the Delta Queen to return to overnight cruise service.

Good news Steamboat Delta Queen
November 15, 2018

Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed the Coast Guard bill, including provisions for rescuing the Delta Queen. Following is a statement from the Delta Queen Steamboat Company:
Today we're one step closer to returning the legendary DELTA QUEEN back to America's rivers with the passage of the Coast Guard Reauthorization bill passed in the U.S. Senate today. Special thanks to the tireless efforts by Senators Blunt and McCaskill for making this happen!

Now the bill will go before the U.S. House of Representatives. If you want to see the DELTA QUEEN sail again please make sure your congressional representatives know you want them to vote YES on the Coast Guard Reauthorization bill!

#FullSteamAhead #SavetheDQ
Following is a statement from Senator Roy Blunt:

Nov 14 2018

Blunt-McCaskill Bill to Get Historic Delta Queen Back on the Mississippi Cruises Through Senate

WASHINGTON - Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill today announced that their legislation to bring the historic 1920's riverboat Delta Queen back to the Mississippi River passed the Senate as part of the Coast Guard Reauthorization bill. The legislation reinstates a decades-long exemption to allow the boat to operate from its new home port of Kimmswick, in Jefferson County - creating jobs and strengthening economic growth and tourism. The Coast Guard Reauthorization bill now heads to the House and, if passed, will be on its way to the president's desk.

"I'm thrilled the Delta Queen is another step closer to making its way back to Missouri and once again cruising the Mississippi," said Blunt. "Getting the Delta Queen, one of our National Historic Landmarks, back in full operation will create jobs, boost economic growth, and strengthen our state's tourism industry. I'm grateful to all those involved in helping to bring the Delta Queen back to our state and look forward to seeing it at its home port in Kimmswick."

"We're finally full steam ahead to get the Delta Queen back home to the St. Louis region where she belongs," said McCaskill. "Buoyed by bipartisan support, her return means tourists up and down the Mississippi can once again enjoy the rich history of one of our historic landmarks, and will give Jefferson County an infusion of jobs and economic growth."

According to the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, returning the Delta Queen to the St. Louis area will create more than 170 local jobs. The Delta Queen is expected to begin and end a number of its cruises each year in Kimmswick, and will visit more than 80 other ports in the United States.

Built in the 1920s, the Delta Queen is an historic, wooden American steamboat that carried dignitaries (including three U.S. Presidents) and thousands of other passengers through the tributaries of the Mississippi River. The boat also served as a naval ship during World War II.

For more than 40 years, the Delta Queen was exempted from a law passed by Congress regulating passenger vessels carrying 50 or more passengers overnight on domestic U.S. waters. That exemption expired in 2008. The bill passed by the Senate today restores the long-running exemption and requires the Delta Queen, which is fully compliant with all other Coast Guard safety regulations, to annually modify at least ten percent of the wooden portions of the vessel's superstructure to comply with the federal safety law requirements.

The Delta Queen is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is classified as a National Historic Landmark. In 2013, it was designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

More articles: (caution: Roll Call dislikes the Delta Queen and this articles contains anti-Delta Queen lies) •

S.S. Columbia Event

Tue, October 23, 2018
7-10 PM EDT

Montauk Club, 25 8th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

This October, the SS Columbia Project is hosting its Fall Supper Soiree at Brooklyn's Montauk Club, gathering together to celebrate the season. A limited number of discounted Early Bird tickets are on sale now for $125 a ticket. Included in the price of ticket are dinner, an open bar, and live vintage jazz with Jason Prover and the Sneak Thievery Quartet. Don't miss this very special evening supporting the restoration of SS Columbia at the beautiful and historic Montauk Club. This is certain to sell out, so order your tickets now!

click here for tickets -

SS Columbia is the oldest remaining excursion steamboat in the United States, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, designated as an historic landmark in 1992, and in service from 1902 to 1991. Our goal is to bring her to the Hudson River and revive the grand old tradition of steamboats on the Hudson. Here, she will become a moving historic and cultural venue.


The Montauk Club.

P.S. Ryde Trust
Help Save the P.S. Ryde
August 28, 2018

You can help get the word out on the work to save this venerable British steamship built in 1937. Sorry, no wheel, but let's be fair! All steam vessels deserve preservation. Saving the past makes the present and future richer. Go to the P.S. Ryde Trust website to learn the history of this ship, and the contemporary efforts to save her.

From the timeline:
P.S Ryde 2018 - ??
At present Island Harbour and our Director Lisa-Marie Turner are in current talks and preserving this historic Solent paddle steamer , we hope that we can update this with good news soon. watch this space :-)
Go to the site:

Hidden Paddle wheel History
July 27, 2018

Hi - Great website. My granddad lived most all his life on the Mississippi in Burlington, Iowa, and I just developed an interest in the rivers and what all took place on them in this country. I've been involved with the mining industry in the U.S. for over 40 years now and yes taking a little time to stop by all the museums out there is very fun.
Best regards,
Grant B.

Editor's note: Grant found evidence of a long-gone paddle wheel boat in Utah. The Cliff Dweller is remembered in the Powell Museum. To learn more about the Cliff Dweller, visit the Powell Museum -, and there's a photo of a model of the boat at this blog:

Photo from

The model display offers the following history of the Cliff Dweller:
Stripping off the "City of Moah's" cumbersome superstructure and converting her to a stern-wheeler steamboat, Lumsden renamed his boat the "Cliff Dweller" in 1906 and turned to the tourist trade. She proved no more successful, however, so she was taken to Great Salt Lake the following year.
BOAT #2 - Grant found memories of another long-deceased paddle wheeler, the Bertrand, on display at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge





Model of the Bertrand and artifacts recovered from the boat. Note: The kerosene lamps were all recovered from the wreck of the Bertrand on Missouri River between Iowa and Nebraska. To learn more about the artifacts excavated from the Bertrand, go here:

The River, by Don Sanders
June 29, 2018

Ever since last December, the Northern Kentucky Tribune has carried a weekly installment from Don Sanders' memoir of his life on the river. Now, with express permission from the NKyTribune, the series is archived at click here to read The River.

The NKyTribune said:
Captain Don Sanders is a river man. He has been a riverboat captain with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company and with Rising Star Casino. He learned to fly an airplane before he learned to drive a "machine" and became a captain in the USAF. He is an adventurer, a historian and a storyteller. Now, he is a columnist for the NKyTribune and will share his stories of growing up in Covington and his stories of the river. Hang on for the ride—the river never looked so good.


The series is ongoing, so will collect Don's river stories for our archive.

Elinor Steamboat
May 15, 2018

One of our readers sent this photo, given to her by her aunt. It's the Towboat Elinor, built in 1905, and worked in the St. Paul area. We could not find any additional information. We're looking for information about the Elinor, including where this photo may have been taken. If you can help, please contact* We will pass the information along to Bonnie.

ElinorSteamerShipAuntVBonnieHamerphoto received an immediate reply from the Howard Steamboat Museum and sent the information along to Bonnie:

On May 17, 2018, at 2:12 PM, wrote:


The "ELINOR" towboat in the picture on your website answered a question for us this afternoon at the Museum. We have a picture of her bow showing alongside an ACOE Maneuver Boat on the ways at the Howard Yard. We didn't know the date. After further investigation we determined the boat in our picture is your ELINOR. Further, we found records to indicate she was at Howards in 1924 where she received a new steel hull. She was built in Jeffersonville in 1904. Not by the Howards. Probably the Sweeney or Barmore yard built her. Her home port was Rock Island, IL and she was owned by the Corps of Engineers.
The Corps sold her in 1940 and she was moved to Vicksburg, MS where she ran for several more years till scrapped.

Travis C. Vasconcelos
Administrative Assistant

1101 East Market Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47130 (812) 283.3728

2002 Steamboat Logo
February 19, 2018

Back in 2002, my mentor for building websites made this graphic for me in Flash. We never did anything with it, then after that it was lost on a disk for sixteen years. The other day while loading up a new hard drive, and tossing out old CD-Rom disks, the thing turned up! It brought back fun memories - and now it's online just for fun.


Here's a screen shot. The original is not working - hope to have it back soon.


Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
Reviewed by Nori Muster

This novel tells the haunting tale of five children who grew up in the Depression era on a shantyboat near Memphis. The Foss family was poor, but their parents made it work, and provided love and a feeling of security to the children. However, one night when the parents needed to rush to the hospital to welcome another baby, authorities kidnapped the children and put them in an orphanage.

The oldest of the children, twelve-year-old Rill Foss, tells the story of the children's journey. The Tennessee Children's Home Society included strict and cruel caretakers, and child abuse. My own father was orphaned in 1934 and spent part of his ninth year in an abusive Chicago orphanage. His older half-brother rescued him and got him into a better situation in a foster agency. Although my father had aunts and uncles on both sides, during the Great Depression, people were not looking for more children to support. The painful history of Rill and her siblings is beautifully told.

In alternate chapters, we meet Avery Stafford, a woman who lives in current times. She's born into a rich Southern family and her father is a politician in the midst of a re-election campaign. Avery expects she will follow in her father's footsteps. She takes up temporary residence with her parents in Aiken, South Carolina, to help her father through a health crisis.

While there, Avery strikes up an unlikely friendship with May Crandall, an elderly woman who has a mysterious connection with Avery's grandmother. Further, Avery has a connection to the Depression Era orphans that comes to light at the end of the novel. The fun is in the pursuit of the truth, which Avery pursues with a local man who inherited all the secrets from his father, a private investigator who "finds people."

The book is a matter of finding identity, holding onto identity, and realizing roots are precious, and truth is sometimes hard to bear. Due to her privileged background, Avery looks down on poor folks who grow up on shantyboats, and cannot exactly accept that her own roots may be much different than she was led to believe growing up. While on the track for the truth, she comes to realize she is torn over whether she really wants to know the truth.

The novel is based on a true story, a story shared by many who grew up as orphans during the Depression Era. The author, Lisa Wingate, is a masterful storyteller with more than twenty novels to her credit, and multiple awards. She says the history of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society inspired Before We Were Yours. She explains,
I wasn't familiar with the scandal surrounding the TCHS orphan houses of the 30's and 40's, but after stumbling across the story, I was shocked and horrified that such a thing was possible in this country and not that long ago. I wanted to tell the stories that hadn't been told - those of the thousands of children who became caught in Georgia Tann's web. I did travel for research. Visits to Memphis were invaluable, as was spending time at Mud Island and along the river, learning about the life Rill and her siblings would have lived on the family's shantyboat before they're taken to the TCHS orphan house.

We also thank Lisa Wingate for contacting us during her historical research, and we were glad to share pictures of shantyboats at this site in the Dave Thomson Collection.

Selected Mississippi Queen Blueprints Now Online
January 24, 2018

For years I had a link to a set of 253 Mississippi Queen blueprints (now offline: These were the real thing. At the time, I got the impression they wouldn't be there forever, so I made copies. After the link died, I received the following request:

On Apr 6, 2017, at 4:40 PM, AE wrote:

Ms. Muster,
I would like to inquire about the blueprints of the MQ. Would it be possible for me to get a hard copy or digital copy of the plans? The MQ has a special place in my heart. I was seven when I witnessed her first arrival and commissioning at Cincinnati in 1976. So sad that she's gone. Do you know what eventually became of her hull?
Thank you!
Anthony Eichhorn

Unable to email the large files, I eventually sent him a disk. In exchange, he promised to go through the blueprints and choose the best ones to post at the site. About a month ago he sent me his choices, and now they're posted! Click here to see selected blueprints of the Mississippi Queen.

2018 Steamboat Calendars are Here

Make 2018 a steamboat calendar year!
Two available:
Delta Queen - click here & Sternwheel Towboats - click here
or scroll down

Mississippi Queen Memories
December 29, 2017

Earlier this week on Facebook, Travis Vasconcelos posted several photos from the Mississippi Queen Steamboat's first trial run. The first leg was down the river, which went fine. I arrived in time for part two - going back up the river to Cincinnati with the help of a towboat. One of the photos from Travis is this one of my dad and Betty Blake. Dad was just two weeks into his fiftieth year at the time.


Betty Blake and Bill Muster on the starboard wing of the bridge, Fourth of July, 1976, during the first voyage of the Mississippi Queen Steamboat. To access the Mississippi Queen Steamboat page at this site - click here.

Ask Your US Representative to Save the Delta Queen Steamboat
December 12, 2017

A new article in the Louisiana Weekly outlines the continuing struggle to pass HR 619 in the House and save the Delta Queen Steamboat. As the article reports, American Cruise Line owner Charles Robertson is lobbying against the Delta Queen bill. It's difficult to understand why a two hundred passenger ship poses any threat to his company, which is building multiple gigantic cruise ships for the Mississippi River system.

Rather than fight the Delta Queen, Robertson would be better off to embrace the historic steamboat that will draw positive attention to river cruises on the Mississippi. Read the article, then ask your US Representative to call for a vote on HR 619. Read now:

Model Photos
December 4, 2017

Photos from John Fryant show one folk art model and one that's a scale model of a real boat. Here at we love 'em all!


The Queen City folk model.


The Betsy Ann scale model.

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