Steamboat Models, page 1



DELTA QUEEN CO. 1995 calendar

image for the month of NOVEMBER

head on view of a large scale model of the AMERICAN QUEEN with an insert lower left of the J.M. WHITE's cabin

The sky and river were probably composited with the model from digital resources

Scanned from the 12 x 18 inch calendar page

The second file is a photo of what is apparently the same steamboat model with Jeffrey D. Krida, Chief Executive Officer of the American Queen Steamboat Company


The model of the J.M. WHITE in the Smithsonian, Washington D.C.

Model Steamboat CASTLE ROCK diorama MO state capital Jeff City

Photo of a model of the steamer CASTLE ROCK in the Missouri State capital at Jefferson City.

Fred Way does not have a listing on this boat but I believe this is supposed to represent a locale somewhere along the Missouri River.

The smoke coming from the stacks looks like cotton candy that didn't get vacuumed often enough and was thus permeated with gray dust.

model boat photo

Above is a model in the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal. I always liked it since it's so quaint and preserves its integrity as a home made piece done with a lot of TLC. The model must date back to perhaps the early 1900's since it's been an exhibit dating back to when it was in the relatively small stone museum next door to the Boyhood Home on Hill Street. Same old display case I'm sure also. Made in the same style nickel plated (?) framing to hold the glass together. Presently the model is at the top of the stairs near the replica pilot house.


Model of sternwheeler BIXBY in a diorama of a Louisiana bayou community

Photo of a detail from a charming and whimsical diorama entitled "Muskrat Ramble" created by model maker Geoff Nott of a Louisiana bayou village named Atchafalaya circa 1925 featuring the model of a "character" sternwheeler dubbed the "BIXBY," perhaps after Horace Bixby, the pilot who "learned" Sam Clemens the Mississippi River between St. Louis and New Orleans during the last half of the 1850's. Details of the boat, resin water, foliage and buildings are expertly done.

Armchair Modeller Down Under
Thinking about model railways and model railway layouts

Thursday, 13 June 2013
Geoff Nott
I am sad to report that noted Australian railway modeler, Geoff Nott, died today in Sydney. Geoff will be remembered for his skilled creative work on a number of classic model railroads including the famous Muskrat Ramble. Geoff's most recent layout, Smuggler's Cove, was built over the past two years with fellow modeler, Michael Flack.

Narrow Gauge Downunder Magazine
C/- 25 Dwyer Street
Clifton Hill Vic 3068

Back issues of Narrow Gauge Downunder are available at this link:

Issue 41
The paddle steam boat "Bixby"
Diorama, Plan
Muskrat Ramble
Geoff Nott

YouTube video link:
"Muskrat Ramble" diorama

Published on Sep 23, 2011
The Muskat Ramble modular On30 layout was on display at the 2011 Narrow Gauge Convention in Hickory North Carolina. The layout was moved from Australia to Florida to become part of the new Model Railroad Museum. It features many realistic scenery techniques for modeling the Louisiana swamp lands and a cotton plantation.

Wikipedia notes:

The Atchafalaya River is a 137-mile-long distributary of the Mississippi River and Red River in south central Louisiana in the United States. It flows south, just west of the Mississippi River, and is the fifth largest river in North America, by discharge. The name "Atchafalaya" comes from Choctaw for "long river", from hachcha, "river", and falaya, "long" "Muskrat Ramble" is a jazz composition composed in 1926 by jazz trombonist and band leader Kid Ory (1886-1983). The tune was first recorded on February 26, 1926, by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, and became the group's most frequently recorded piece. It was a prominent part of the Dixieland revival repertoire in the 1930s and 1940s, and was recorded by Bob Crosby, Roy Eldridge, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Muggsy Spanier, Chet Atkins, Lu Watters, the Andrews Sisters, Harry James, and Al Hirt, among others. It is considered a part of the jazz standard repertoire.

Two related articles can be found in "Narrow Gauge Downunder" (July 2010 Issue 38)
Masterclass: Planning and Building the Muskrat Ramble
Tuesday Night Modellers Group
A Freelance Paddle Steamer Prototype, Plan



This is the biggest model in my collection at 5 feet long and the case must be at least 6 feet long, custom made with book shelves under it on both sides.

model boats

model DK and DQ

Photos of the Delta King and Delta Queen models on board the Delta King in Old Town Sacramento.

Dave says: "Last time is was in Sacramento I took this of the twin models of the D.Q. and D.K. The name plaque is a bit dark in the photo but believe it says that Arthur D. Buck of Carmichael, CA built these two in the mid '80's."

river room

These three models are in the Dave Thomson steamboat room. The Idlewild (which later became the Avalon and ultimately the Belle of Louisville) was built in HO (a model railroad scale) by a fellow who lives up near Sacramento, have misplaced his name. I bought the Rob't E. Lee model (made from a kit) from the widow of the man who built it. The gent who built the Idlewild customized the R.E. Lee for me to replace an inaccurate pilot house and clunky looking "feathers" on top of the stacks. I bought a different kit of the R.E. Lee and salvaged the "feathers," pennant and flags from it for use in the remodeling and the model maker rebuilt the pilot house from scratch. There are still things that could be done to make this a more presentable and accurate model if I could find another craftsman willing to tackle the project.

Ken Mlyniec of the Midwest Riverboat Buffs in Keokuk built the unpainted version of the Buckeye State which I bought from in the early '90's.

Buckeye State - The Buckeye State was built at Shousetown, Pa., south of Pittsburgh. In 1849 the hull was completed and hauled up the Ohio River to Pittsburgh to be finished. Under the supervision of David Holmes, the Buckeye State was completed in February 1850. It was owned and operated by the Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Line, which ran it regularly on the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The company owned six or seven steamers at a time, and ran daily departures between the two cities. By the mid-1840s the Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Line was praised by a Pittsburgh newspaper editor as "the greatest convenience . . . ever afforded the citizens on the banks of the Upper Ohio." On May 1, 1850 the Buckeye State left Cincinnati for Pittsburgh and completed the trip in a record 43 hours. Under Capt. Sam Dean, the steamer made 24 stops along the route, needing coal once and wood three times. One hundred years later, the Buckeye State still held the record for the fastest trip ever made by a steamboat between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. In 1851, showman P. T. Barnum organized a race between the Buckeye State and the Messenger No. 2 as a publicity stunt to advertise Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind's American tour. Steamboat racing was growing in popularity, and so a race was the perfect promotion. Although Lind and Barnum were aboard the Messenger No. 2, the Buckeye State won the race. The Buckeye State continued its service up and down the Ohio for six more years until it was retired and dismantled in 1857.

steamboat model

steamboat model

These Robert E. Lee momma and baby models are housed in the Dave Thomson steamboat room.


The top photo is from the Murphy Library, (Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse; Steamboat Collection Photographs) it was taken at Galena circa the ate 1850's, early 1860's. I took the photo of the model in Galena's History Museum in 2007. The stacks on the model look taller and thinner that the ones on the actual boat but it could be an optical illusion. The following is Fred Way's history of the Golden Era in his Packet Directory:

2368 GOLDEN ERA Sidewheel packet boat built Wheeling, Va. , 1852. 249 tons.178 x 29 x 5.1. In Galena, Dunleith & Minnesota Packet Co. , 1856. She was utilized as a troop transport by the U.S. during the Civil War, making at least three trips to Vicksburg in 1863. 178 x 29 x 5.1. Sold in December 1865 to M.W. Wetmore, New Orleans, with Capt. John R. Neeld, master. Sold September 1866 to Michael Purcell, New Orleans, with Capt. Volney Brown, master. Sold November 1866 to Capt. John Kaiser, New Orleans, also part-owner. He owned her entire in 1867. Dismantled 1868.


In 2007 during my trip to the Pacific Northwest I found some nice Columbia River models in museums there. Attached of the HARVEST QUEEN by Jim Oliver is as neat as a pin in a smaller than usual scale, probably HO (a favorite model railroad scale). The model is in The Columbia Gorge Discover Center at "The Dalles" in Washington state.

I've found varying dates on the HARVEST QUEEN spanning the 1890's to the period from 1900 to 1927. It's possible there were 2 boats by that name with the second replacing the first at the turn of the century.



From that same 2007 trip, a very clean model of the BAILEY GATZERT (referred to as the "Daily Bastard" by those who got swamped by the wake left behind by her paddlewheel). The BAILEY is probably the most famous Columbia River steamer of them all, operating from the 1890 to 1926. She was converted to a car ferry in 1920 and finished out her career in that capacity.

Portside view taken in the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center Museum in Stevenson, Oregon across the river from Cascade Locks, Washington.'s Model Boat Center - click here


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.