Ephemera - Blueprints




Attached 2 examples from a set of blueprints for the CAPE GIRARDEAU (23-35) plus a photograph of her from La Crosse.

1923 - 35
Sternwheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 0829
Designed by Tom Dunbar for the Eagle Packet Company.
Built in 1923 at Howard Ship Yard, Jeffersonville, Indiana. Went from Louisville to St. Louis in November, 1923.
Came out in the St. Louis-Cape Girardeau commerce trade in April 1924; christened at Cape Girardeau on August 24 by Miss Christine Rowling. Made St. Louis to New Orleans Mardi Gras trips between 1925 and 1930.
Sold to Greene Line Steamers in 1935 and became the GORDON C. GREENE.


I bought these plans some years ago and had them mounted on linen. They came in two sections and the outfit that mounted them didn't line them up properly so about half way through the pilot house there's a "jog" where the horizontal lines don't match up. They went in with pen and ink and paint brush to try and disguise this but it made it look ever more obvious.

I had the gigantic thing scanned by Ford Graphics in Burbank and they saved it as a huge tiff file on a CD. I labored over it in Photoshop to line up everything as closely as possible. This is an extreme reduction of the original humongous scan. - Dave

Mississippi River Commission. U.S. Large Tender For Dredges, Designed and drawn under direction of Committee on Dredges M.R.C. and of Capt. H.E. Waterman, Corps of Engineers, U.S.A. Secretary. Longitudinal Section... Plate No. 13 to accompany annual report of Mississippi River Commission for 1898. Plan by Percy H. Middleton, 55 x 17.75". Office of the Secretary, M.R.C. Washington, DC. 1898, Jan. 28.

Jim Hale made the following comments:

"This is a very detailed drawing of a steamboat. Leave it to the engineers to spend so much time on a drawing. It is a nicer looking boat than most of the boats they built. Seems I have seen a photo of a similar boat, maybe at the Memphis fleet. I wish Howards had made such detailed drawings of the boats they built. Their drawings were just basic outlines at best. I like the bath tub and the little overhang at the stern for the toilet. Mr. Richardson told me when they reversed the wheel it turned the toilet into a bidet."

Editor's Note: Please visit's new model boat page - click here.


Mississippi River Commission.

U.S. Small Tender For Dredges, Designed and drawn under direction of Committee on Dredges M.R.C. and of Capt. H.E. Waterman, Corps of Engineers, U.S.A. Secretary.


Plate No. 20
to accompany annual report of Mississippi River Commission for 1898.

Office of the Secretary, M.R.C. Washington, DC. 1898, Jan. 28.

13.75 x 24 inches

Internationall Marine engineering 1912 nov page 436 dredge WATERWAY

For the do-it-your-self'er attached one of the sure 'nuff Gee-Whiz cross-section drawings from which the Red River Hydraulic dredge WATERWAY was built.

This illustration appears on page 436 of the journal International Marine Engineering for November, 1912. On page 477 there is also a profile drawing and a deck plan.

The text of the article which begins on page 435 "The United States Red River Hydraulic Dredge Waterway," begins thusly:

"Early in the summer of this year the Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works, Dubuque, Iowa delivered to the United States Engineers at Vicksburg, Mississippi, the steel self-propelled hydraulic dredge WATERWAY.

The dredge is a steel hull boat fitted with the ordinary type of sternwheel towboat machinery, and a sand hydraulic pumping plant for river dredging."

For those interested in reading the article in its entirety it is available on line from Google books.


There are 18 steamboat pencil drawings in this spiral bound collection:

Portraits from the Past

Drawings and Text by Neal R. Finch
Fineline Co.
St. Charles, MO 1977

My favorite is the one on the last page entitled "Packet Portfolio" with vignettes of stacks, whistles, bell and pilot house.



The MINNESOTA, built for the Mayo Brother (Doctors) then worked for the U.S. Engineers and was renamed

Three photos and an elevation drawing of the attractive little steamer which began as a private boat for the Mayo Brothers named the MINNESOTA with an intermediate 21 year stretch as the GENERAL ALLEN before being given back the name MINNESOTA again. Below are Fred Way's biographies—he assigned the boat one number in his Packet Directory and two different numbers in his Steam Towboat Directory (for both MINNESOTA and GENERAL ALLEN).

MINNESOTA (Private sternwheel pleasure boat, 1915-1922)

Way's Packet Directory Number 3954

Built in 1915 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yard Became the GENERAL ALLEN Sold to the U.S. Engineers in 1922 and renamed MINNESOTA

Original price $30,000. Home port, 1916, St. Paul, Minnesota. She was built in 1915 and launched in 1916.

She was built in 1915 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yard for the physician partners, Mayo brothers (Dr. Charles Horace Mayo, Dr. William James Mayo) to replace their pleasure steamboat ORONOCO.

In October 1916, the MINNESOTA was grounded at French Island, below Owensboro, Kentucky, with one of the Mayo brothers and his family and friends aboard. They had just finished a trip up the Green River and were returning to Louisville when the boat became stuck on a sand bar. The passengers finished their trip by rail. In 1922 the Minnesota was sold at Fountain City, Wisconsin to the U. S. Engineers and renamed GENERAL ALLEN

"Mayo and the Mississippi : A Passion for the River"
by Matthew D. Dacy (Author)
Published by the Mayo Foundation
First Edition; First Printing (2004)
Available from amazon here:
This hardcover coffee table book is devoted to the Mayo Bros. and their enjoyment with their family and friends on the Mississippi River aboard the sternwheel steamboats ORONOCO and MINNESOTA and the finally the more conventionally styled yacht the NORTH STAR.

The attached elevation drawing of the MINNESOTA is in the collection of the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana at Bloomington It is reproduced on the front fly leaves of "Mayo and the Mississippi : A Passion for the River."

GENERAL ALLEN (Sternwheel Towboat/Packet, 1922-1943)

Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T0885 and T2224

Built in Jeffersonville, Indiana, 1915, as the MINNESOTA


1922: U.S. Engineering Department, St. Paul District
1925: Federal Barge Lines
1943: Central Barge Line
1926: Captain William Henning (master)

She was originally the MINNESOTA, a pleasure boat for the Mayo Brothers.

Sold to the St. Paul District, U.S. Engineers in 1922 and renamed GENERAL ALLEN. She generally towed on inspection trips. She pioneered the first commercial tow for Federal Barge Lines out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, May, 1926 under the command of Captain William Henning. Originally the WYNOKA was to have handled the first tow, but she ran aground at Island 17 and the GENERAL ALLEN then completed the trip. She also pioneered the first modernized tow of Federal Barge Lines, arriving at St. Paul on August 24, 1927 with two loaded barges. In August 1939, GENERAL ALLEN was sent up the Minnesota River with a quarterboat, derrick and three barges and ascended 30 miles up to Shakopee, Minnesota. The tow had to be broken to get around some of the bends. Years earlier, the PURCHASE had made the same trip, but no boat had since been up until the GENERAL ALLEN's adventure was made. The Central Barge Company bought the George Allen from the US Engineers, Rock Island, Illinois in 1943. They restored the original name of MINNESOTA.



Elevation drawings of Twin Sternwheels on the ETOBE 1910 for service in Nigeria

Just arrived today from the UK . . . in a 1910 issue of and Engineering journal.

The "River Queen" with twin sternwheels was very likely based upon these drawings of the ETOBE for the 1940 movie SAFARI which was filmed on Baldwin Lake in the Los Angeles County Arboretum.

From Grace's Guide to British Industrial History:

McKie and Baxter of Copland Works, Glasgow.

1896 Founded by James Archibald McKie and Peter MacLeod Baxter

1910 Made the compound the non-condensing engine, boiler and feathering paddle wheels for the sternwheeler ETOBE for service in Northern Nigeria. Vessel built by Ardrossan Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. whose history according to Grace's Guide was as follows:

1842 The firm of Barr and Shearer was established in 1842 at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland by John Barr and James Shearer

1870s Changed its name to Ardrossan Shipbuilding Co

1891 it acquired limited liability, as Ardrossan Dockyard Ltd, but was dissolved eight years later, at which time a successor company, the Ardrossan Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co Ltd was incorporated.

1899 the name was changed to the Ardrossan Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. The yard was also expanded up to five berths in 1916 and the number of employees was 2,300.



Drawing etc. submitted with application for a patent:
NUMBER 1,905,162
Arrangements on vessels of propulsion elements directly acting on water of paddle wheels, e.g. of stern wheels
United States
Inventor Edwin J.C. Joerg
Worldwide applications
1931 US
Application number: US583169A
Filing date: 1931-12-26
Application filed by Edwin J.C. Joerg
Priority to US583169A
Application granted


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.