Steamboat Ephemera Gallery
Page Two


Delta Queen Arcade Pinball Machine FLYER 1974 listed in March 2019 by PinballArcadeArt on ETSY

The art representing the DELTA QUEEN is based on a classic sidewheel steamboat of the 1800's rather than the Sacramento River style of the DQ and DELTA KING.

Delta Queen Arcade Pinball Machine FLYER 1974
Original circa 1974 vintage paper promotional sales flyer for coin operated amusement arcade game.
Flyers were also called circulars, brochures, or fliers. Size is 8.5" X 11." Artwork on both sides.


Promotional card for Steamboat OHIO 1915

Steamer OHIO
Sternwheeler Way's Packet Directory Number 4274

Built at Clarington, OHIO 1898. Ran Cincinnati-Memphis during the summer of 1915 which would have been when this advertisement was circulated. The OHIO was destroyed by a fire at the mouth of the Little Kanawha River on the night of February 2nd, 1916.


At The Steamboat River Ball

At the Steamboat River Ball sheet music cover featuring The Star Gazers

The song was originally recorded by a group called The Four Tunes who were active from 1946 - 1958

The melody of the song sounds like it was based on "Sweet Georgia Brown" composed in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard, with lyrics by Kenneth Casey

Have to find the lyrics

On amazon (United Kingdom) you can hear a sample of the song as it was recorded by The Four Tunes:

At the Steamboat River Ball
The Four Tunes
From the Album I Understand Just How You Feel
6 Sep 2012


Decorative mirror for a fictional "Louisiana Steamboat Company"

18 x 24 framed mirror circa 1970-80 for the fictional "Louisiana Steamboat Company - Founded 1869.

Probably intended as décor for bars or lounges "Down South." The artist and/or designer of the mirror may have taken a shine to the name of Captain Buck Leyhe's beloved sternwheel GOLDEN EAGLE (1918 - 1947) and decided to assign the name to the sidewheeler in the graphic portion of the mirror.


Redgum & Paddlewheels : Australia's inland river trade

Redgum & Paddlewheels : Australia's inland river trade

Dust jacket of a 1980 Australian publication about the history of river commerce on Australia's Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers. The first word in the title (Redgum) refers to an important resource that was harvested along the river and carried to Echuca for distribution. An online reference explains its uses:

Redgum (a type of eucalyptus tree) has a reputation for durability, strength and its distinctive red colouring. Its wide availability has seen it used for a range of applications including heavy construction, railway sleepers, flooring, framing, fencing, plywood and veneer manufacture, wood turning, firewood and charcoal production.

Redgum & Paddlewheels : Australia's inland river trade
by Peter J. Phillips foreword by Bill Peach
Published by Vic Collingwood: Greenhouse,
Australia 1980

Dust jacket synopsis:

"For a brief but exciting period between the 1850s and the 1890s, Australia's Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers were the scene of a thriving transport industry.

Over three hundred paddle steamers plied their way up and down these great inland rivers and their tributaries, carrying cargoes of wool, wheat and timber, hardware and haberdashery, clothing, liquor, furniture, groceries—and people.

The dusty little town of Echuca became the chief port of the riverboat trade, and the 1880s it was the second largest port in Victoria, its wharves and shipyard bustling with constant activity.

In this book, Peter Phillips brings to life the adventure and romance of the days of the paddle steamers. Based on lengthy research and his own intimate knowledge of the Echuca district. his stories tell of the dramas, the hardships, the adventures and the tragedies, the heroes and characters of those colorful days.

Lavishly illustrated with historic photographs, Redgum and Paddlewheels introduces us to people like Captain Francis Cadell, the first man to open up the Murray; the irascible Captain Mace; Captain Edward Diener and his wonderful floating emporium; and Captain Pearl Hogg, the only woman to hold a master's certificate on the Murray.

We learn about the snagging boats which made the river safe for traffic; about the Jane Eliza, which during a drought took three years to get from Goolwa to Bourke, but made the return journey in two weeks when the floods came down; and about the horrifying sight of the blazing Bunyip circling madly out of control in the middle of the river and running down the frantically swimming crew.

We meet the timber men and fishermen of the rivers, and follow the decline of the river trade and the many paddle steamers which now, alas, lie rotting beneath the water. But we also hear of those many enterprising spirits who are restoring the old boats to their former glory and bringing back to the river an echo of the past."


Elisa Korenne "Steamboats on the Red"

Prairie Public
Published on Jul 1, 2014

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it's hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul and Winnipeg.

This original song by Minnesota musician Elsia Korenne tells the tale of willpower and cut-throat competition that brought steamboats to the Red and made them work. Production funding provided by the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund and by the members of Prairie Public About the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

In 2008, Minnesota voters passed a landmark piece of legislation—the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment—which provided funding to public television stations serving audiences in Minnesota. Its mission is to help preserve and document the treasures of culture, history, and heritage that make Minnesota special, and to increase access to the natural and cultural resources we all share.


OH! SUSANNA! Hillary Klug Vocalist, Fiddle Player &Buck Dancer


Multitasking!! Fiddle-Dance-Sing "Oh! Susanna" Hillary Klug Old-Time Hillary Klug fiddles, dances, and sings "Oh! Susanna" on the river with a show boat in the background....


Middle Tennesse State University graduate uses her feet and fiddle to busk full time on Broadway in Nashville

Tayhlor Stephenson

Oct. 26, 2017

Saturday rolls around, and 25-year-old Hillary Klug—wearing cowboy boots, which she claims to be her dancing shoes, a gray T-shirt and cuffed blue jean shorts—shuffles her feet to the beat of her fiddle.

"Now, that's Nashville," says a passerby, in awe of Klug's multitalented trade.

The Tennessee-based musician calls the corner of Fourth and Broadway her work home. In addition to busking full time, she's recording her debut album, "Fiddle Feet," and she's also filming a scene and recording the soundtrack for an independent film set to release next summer.

Her ability to draw enthused crowds with only her feet and fiddle has led to many awards, including the title of National Buck Dancing Champion, which she earned in July 2013 at the Uncle Dave Macon Days

"The combination of the fiddling and dancing is what makes Hillary special," says 53-year-old Jim Wood of Flat Creek, Tenn., Klug's longtime fiddle instructor. "There are good fiddle players and there are good dancers, but I don't know anybody in the United States who dances as well as she plays or plays as well as she dances."

Klug grew up in Fayetteville, Tenn., as the youngest of three children, all of whom were home-schooled by Klug's mother, Nancy. While her mother taught the children and worked as a caregiver to the elderly, Klug's father, Mike, worked as a carpenter.

"Both my parents were kind of self-employed; they took their own financials into their own hands," Klug says. "It just came natural to me to use the talents I had to make money rather than having to go find an employer to give me a steady paycheck."

Lexi Lew, a 23-year-old busking regular, understood what it took to become a street performer, and she encouraged Klug to do it for a living.

"More people travel the streets rather than each individual bar, so more people see your talent on the streets," Lew says. "Also, it's not bad money when you're talented like Hillary."

But it's not all about the money for Klug.

"I love busking," she says. "I'm out there because people love me, and I like contributing to the atmosphere. I would still be doing that even if I weren't making any money."

Klug knew at an early age that her script would include a fiddle on-shoulder. By 13, she pleaded with her mother to take violin lessons.

"My mom made a deal with me," Klug says. "She said, 'You pay for half of the violin, and I'll pay for the other half of it . . . but if you quit taking lessons, you have to pay me back for my half.'

So, I kept taking lessons and never quit."

Klug later ran into Wood at the Flat Creek Dance, a contra dance-focused gathering that meets at the Flat Creek Community Center every other Tuesday.

Not only did Wood help musically, he also lent one of his property's homes for rent while Klug studied at Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma, where she earned a $5,000 scholarship to study music in Brazil for a month.

But fiddling wasn't enough to preoccupy Klug—or her fans, for that matter.

She soon found herself competing in dance competitions—which usually offered a clogging and buck dancing category—while at festivals and other events. Next on Klug's plate: buck dancing.

After graduating from Motlow in 2014, Klug transferred to Middle Tennessee State University and earned a bachelor's degree in English. In May 2015, she married her husband, Michael, whom she also met at the Flat Creek Dance.

With a luscious garden, chickens aplenty, four cats and an Anatolian shepherd named Ataana, Klug lives a full life, but it wouldn't be complete without her beloved arts.

There's just one problem: Legal officials are running these performers off the streets under an ordinance. That has yet to stop Klug from sharing her musicality, though.

Her talents have garnered her titles like the Kentucky State Championship in 2013, and under Nic Gareiss, Klug traveled Ireland for nine days to study dance in April. She's also traveled Europe—Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg—to broaden her busking.

Klug dreams of nothing more than playing the Grand Ole Opry one day. Until then, street performing—and the ongoing fight to rightfully busk on Nashville's streets—preoccupies her.

"She's done what all serious musicians do, as far as she has learned from many traditional sources and everything, but she's not stopped at that. She's coming up with her own thing based on the traditions," Wood says.


OLD MAN RIVER - New Orleans Jazz version by Sidney Bechet Quintet

For folks who want to hear a pure New Orleans jazz band rendition of Jerome Kern's OLD MAN RIVER, here's the link to one of Sidney Bechet's versions. Bechet's style of playing sax and clarinet transcended what was being done by other musicians and bands that were contemporaries of his.

Sidney had an unmistakable unique sound that you will recognize after you've heard it once and from then on whenever you hear just a few notes played by him you'll say Bechet.


Old Man River
Sidney Bechet Quintet - Topic
Published on May 25, 2018
Provided to YouTube by Believe SAS Old Man River - Sidney

Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 - May 14, 1959) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer of the swing jazz era and genre. He was one of the first important soloists in jazz, beating trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months.

Bechet was born in New Orleans in 1897 to a middle-class Creole of color family. His older brother, Leonard Victor Bechet, was a full-time dentist and a part-time trombonist and bandleader. Bechet learned several musical instruments that were kept around the house, mostly by teaching himself; he decided to specialize in the clarinet.

"I started by playing The Sheik on piano, and played the drums while listening to the piano. I meant to play all the rhythm instruments, but got all mixed up and grabbed my soprano saxaphone, then the bass, then the tenor saxophone, and finally finished up with the clarinet."


Yarns by the Yard - By R. V. Garber No. 1 Famous Whistle Creek Steamboats

Yarns by the Yard
By R. V. Garber

No. 1": Famous Whistle Creek Steamboats

pages 26 & 48

Time has blotted out old landmarks which might lead to the recalling of the one-time famous Whistle Creek and its steamboats, obliterated in 1811 by the New Madrid Earthquake which completely buried creek and boats for all time. Some of the old faithful descendants of rivermen still believe, as did their forefathers, that Whistle Creek and its steamboats is still in existence, now flowing under the ground as placidly as ever on its way to the Mississippi.

But Whistle Creek is only a memory. But what a memory! In 1800 steamboating on Whistle Creek was at its heighth and glory. The famous Tri-State Packet Line, owned by Captain Trio, was operating three steamers: the State of Collapse, State of De Jection, and the State of De Pendence. These boats are deserving of mention

The State of Collapse was built at New Orleans in 1790, out of the lumber from a dismantled whaling ship. She was the largest of the three boats, being 125 feet long and 32 feet wide. Because she was so long she could not be turned around in the Creek at any point, so a pilot house was built at both ends of her with a smoke stack behind each. Thus, when she reached the end of her run the pilots, like a motorman on a one-man street car, simply changed pilot houses and ran the boat backwards.

The State of De Jection was formerly owned by Captain Mellon Cholly of Vicksburg, Miss., who became so depressed after riding on her for one season that he committed suicide by jumping into her sternwheel. The De Jection was said to be the slowest steamboat ever built. It was known to be a fact that if sails were installed on her she would make better time in the calmest weather with her engines stopped, than she would with them going full speed ahead. It was Captain Mellon Cholly himself who gave the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge the inspiration for his poem, "Dejection: An Ode."

The State of De Pendence was built out of the old State of Coma which exploded in 1795, leaving her master, Captain De Linquent, in a profound condition of insensibility. He set to work to rebuild her, but when he got her finished he had used up all his fortune, so she was sold to the Tri-State Line who named her State of De Pendence because her usefulness after her explosion was always depending upon additional money for new parts. She was, however, unusually fast, which was believed the cause of her explosion. Often times if her engines were allowed to run full speed her wheels would revolve so fast they would suck all the water away from around her hull, and she would be seen scraping along the river bottom going from thirty to thirty-five miles an hour with mud flying in all directions.

The State of De Jection was in the peanut butter trade between Cairo, Ill., on the Mississippi and Poplar Bluff, Mo., on Whistle Creek. Because she was so slow the peanut butter concern moved their factory on the boat, and so peanuts loaded at Cairo were made into peanut butter, put into jars, and were ready for distribution by the time the De Jection reached port. The State of De Pendence was in the apple butter trade between Hamburg, Ill., on the Mississippi, and Poplar Bluff on Whistle Creek, a distance of 860 miles which this boat covered in a day and a half. She was so fast she would often be back at Hamburg before the apple pickers had gathered enough of the fruit to make another trip profitable. The State of Collapse ran in the cotton trade between Memphis, Tenn., on the Mississippi and Poplar Bluff on the Creek.

One night these three boats met in a triple collision at Dead Man's Elbow on Whistle Creek. The damage would have been slight had it not been for the terrific speed at which the De Pendence was traveling. As it happened, the State of Collapse was passing the State of De Jection just as the State of De Pendence whizzed around the Elbow unaware of the presence of her sister boats. She ran between the left bank and the State of De Jection, side-swiping her and pushing her against the port side of the State of Collapse which forced both these boats out of the creek and up on the right bank with peanut butter and cotton flying hither and yon. It was a terrible sight to see the stricken passengers and crew struggling through this sticky conglomeration which held them like flies in molasses. The peanut butter was worse than quicksand, while the cotton suffocated scores. Many believe that this mixture of peanut butter and cotton lead to the making of what is known today as "Karmel Carn."

The accident happened so quickly that the State of De Pendence reached port before she could stop or was aware of what had taken place. And that was the end of the State of Collapse. She was true to her name after that—a mass of wreckage high and dry on the bank where she remained until the earthquake buried her. The State of De Jection, however, was reconditioned, but she turned out to be slower than ever and never reached Cairo again because, on her first trip out her crew died of old age on the way.

The State of De Pendence remained in service and was not destroyed until the day of the New Madrid Earthquake when, in an effort to out-distance the earth tremors, she ran into some low-hanging trees and tore off her upper works while the hull, with the engines on it, ran wild across country for an hour and a quarter until her fuel supply gave out. She then make a perfect landing with her port side against a farm house which a second later was wrecked by the quake and collapsed just as the farmer and his family ran out to seek shelter in the hull.


Christmas themed steamboat replica REINDEER

Night time color photo by Jack Zehrt of a charming stylized sidewheel steamboat Christmas themed display taken at St. Louis Memorial Plaza in 1960.

Santa in the pilot house, nice variation on steamboat gingerbread along the boiler deck promenade, leaded glass windows on the bulkheads, sophisticated abstract design on the paddlebox. Would be interesting to new who the artist or artists were who designed this and put it together. It looks like it could have been right at home in the Pasadena Rose Parade. It has a spiritual quality symbolizing your faith in steamboats as floating guardian angels.

Mardigraw Chris'muss!

JACK J. ZEHRT (1920-2010), noted Midwest photographer, developed a unique, artistic photography style all his own during his 70-year career as a professional North American photographer.

From Route 66 to baseball players to space, St. Louis County photographer Jack Zehrt's wide range of photographs have appeared in ads, magazines, brochures, posters, bank checks, greeting cards and calendars worldwide.

Zehrt's career in photography started after high school in St. Louis, when he worked as a freelancer. A few years later he began working for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

In 1943, his first year at the Globe-Democrat, Zehrt won the AP's Picture of the Year award for capturing a glider carrying the St. Louis Mayor and nine others as it crashed to the ground. Zehrt was only 23.

Zehrt left the Globe-Democrat in 1955 to become a stock photographer, meaning he decided the subjects of his pictures and marketed them through a New York agency. Most notable are his photos of space, specifically his series of city skylines with the moon hovering above. He developed a relationship with NASA through his "astrophotography," the photographing of objects in space.

His collection also includes hundreds of photos from Route 66, dating to 1947. He made a 1999 calendar using photos only from the Missouri part of 66. Zehrt made several cameras. His portfolio contains remarkable collections of animals in the St. Louis Zoo, of St. Louis Cardinals and other famous baseball players and of construction of the Gateway Arch.

His sports photos have been in wide demand.


The original "Proud Mary" was the MARY ELIZABETH at Memphis

From the February 1932 NATIONAL WATERWAYS monthly on page 44 an ad for Wolf River Transportation's boats, the towboat JOHN M. WARNER (previously named the EL CAPITAN) and the tug boat MARY ELIZABETH that provided the inspiration for the popular song PROUD MARY.

The photos in the original ad were heavily screened and murky so I replaced them with a La Crosse photo of the EL CAPITAN (that was renamed JOHN M. WARNER when then Wolf River Transportation bought her 2 years prior to this advertisement) and the photo of the MARY ELIZABETH came from Jimmy Ogle's article (below).

Sternwheel towboat circa 1930 - 1937

Way's Steam Towboat Directory Number T1420

Originally the EL CAPITAN built in St. Louis in 1903.
109.6 x 26 x 3.5. Engines 12's - 6 1/2 foot stroke.
Renamed when bought by Wolf River Transportaion Co. of Memphis, Tennessee about 1930. They sold her to the Tennessee Valley Authoriy by 1937 and she was then renamed HIWASSEE, later NORMAN CRAWFORD.

PROUD MARY: The story of the MARY ELIZABETH from JIMMY OGLE'S site:

The MARY ELIZABETH was once referred to as the "Queen Mother of Memphis Towboats" for her service in the Memphis Harbor during the middle of the 20th century. Here's how the story unfolds:

The boat that became the inspiration for the "Proud Mary" was built in 1905 for the Lower Hudson Steamboat Company of New York. Originally named the SARAH A. JENKS A. Jenks and later, the OSSINING, she was used to transport convicted prisoners from New York City jails, up the Hudson River to the infamous Sing-Sing State Prison in Ossining, New York - thus explaining the true origin of the expression, "up the river"!

She was moved south in 1911, after being sold to the St. Tammany Steamship Company of Covington, Louisiana. The OSSINING spent the next four years being operated as a Ferry Boat over the 630 square mile Lake Ponchartrain.

In 1915 she was sold to Lyon Bros. of Greenville, Mississippi and used to run U.S. Mail from Greenville, upriver to Luna Landing, Arkansas. During this time, she was also converted from steam power to diesel power, which gave the OSSINING the distinction of being the first diesel power Ferry Boat on the Mississippi River.

After a dozen years, she was sold in 1928 to Warner & Tamble Inc. of Memphis, Tennessee. At this time she was refitted and remodeled into a Tow Boat, and rechristened to it's more familiar name, the MARY ELIZABETH, in honor of a family member of the new Memphis owner.

During her decades of service in Memphis, the MARY ELIZABETH was responsible for numerous duties. When the Harrahan Bridge burned in 1928, blocking all vehicle traffic for months until the roadway could be replaced, it was the Mary Elizabeth that ferried all commerce across the Mississippi River to Arkansas. She also transported over 3,000 head of cattle to river islands during the Dust Bowl era drought of 1934; performed salvage and rescue work during the big flood on the Wolf River in 1935; and worked throughout the area in rescue and levee work during the great flood of 1937. In 1939, she installed the first radio-telephone communication lines along the Wolf River and the Memphis Harbor. At this time, she also became the first Tow Boat on the Mississippi River to be equipped with a ship-to-shore radio.

In 1973, the MARY ELIZABETH was sold to Murphy Marine Service Inc. of Memphis. Murphy Marine ran her for a total of five years and then pulled her out of service.

1979 was to be the hardest year for the MARY ELIZABETH. Sold to a scrap dealer, George Perkins of Memphis, the MARY ELIZABETH was destined to be stripped and gutted. She had the first and second deck mid-ship house (The main superstructure located at the center of the ship.) removed and her engine pulled out. She was then stripped of all equipment, towed away and beached off the Lossahatchie River just above Memphis - only to rust from the merciless beating by the weather over the following seven years.

Hope of resurrection came in 1986 when the MARY ELIZABETH was sold to Proud Mary Restoration Inc. The hope grew as the first signs of restoration were seen in January, 1987. However, it was not to be. In 1988, during the all-time low of the river gage in Memphis (-10.7 in the second week of July), the MARY ELIZABETH began breaking up on the bank of the river and was hauled away for scrap.

During the 1960s, at the height of the Rock 'n' Roll era in Memphis, a deck hand on the MARY ELIZABETH wrote and composed a song he entitled, "Proud Mary" The song describes his feelings and experiences, his life and times aboard his ship, the MARY ELIZABETH. The song was published and recorded by John Fogerty of Creedance Clearwater Revival, and was also performed by other artists such as George Jones and Johnny Paycheck, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and pop diva, Tina Tuner. Tina Turner's upbeat rendition was more in the early 1980s style of music and entitled "Rollin' On The River". The tune has become one of the most popular and enduring songs of our age and has been placed #155 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Many people that listen to the lyrics of the song, come away with the impression that the PROUD MARY was a steamboat pushed by sternwheel paddles - those "big wheels keep on turning . . ." Well I'm sorry, but you'd be wrong. In the riverboat vocabulary for tow boats, the word "wheels" often refers to the propellers under the boat that are turned by the engines. Another term is "screws" due to the propellers usually looking like oversized screws and while rotating to propel the vessel, they resemble a screw being turned. So in reality, the "big wheels that keep on turning" are under the tow boat, under water and out of sight, not the big paddlewheels seen behind a steamboat.

In 1993 my old friend, the late Capt. Jake Meanley (1948-2000) told me that in the 1970s when he was piloting ships for the MEMPHIS QUEEN LINE excursion company, he quite often used the MARY ELIZABETH through a lease agreement from Murphy Marine. She was used to push the MEMPHIS SHOWBOAT (barge) on countless moonlight river cruises. We can only guess at how many times that the bands were asked to play "Proud Mary."


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.*