Steamboat Photos, page 2
Steamboat STARTLED FAWN
Unusual steamboat captured in a 6 x 8 inch albumen print on heavy card. Very fancy decorative details on the prow, wrap around name board on the front of the pilot house, topped of by an eagle on a sphere on the roof of the pilot house. Apparently an excursion boat.
Quite different from the "Western River" boats style but I've come across images of similar boats based in St. Paul, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, possibly owned by prosperous businessmen who used them for entertaining family members and invited guests.
Written in pencil of the back of the card:
"Steamboat STARTLED FAWN Built 1875 in Philadelphia for Centennial Fair Transportation Purchased by Pentucket Navigation Co. in 1879 Newburyport to Haverhill Pictured here on the Merrimac River"
Online the boat is mentioned in the following:
Annual Report of the Supervising Inspector General U.S. Steamboat -Inspection Service 1901
Google Books page 299
Startled Fawn logged in at these locations:
Poughkeepsie, New York 1891 July 31, 1894
Shoreham, Vermont July 26, 1899
Essex, New York July 5, 1900
Smoke stacks knocked off a steamboat on the Minnesota River
This is a detail from one of my vintage albumen original cabinet cards that documents smoke stacks that had been knocked off a steamboat by a bridge or low hanging tree branches when the boat was traveling too close to shore. Jim Swift wrote an article on this image in the Waterways Journal during the 1980 1980's and if the text is located I will send more information. Fred Way may also have included this in an issue of THE REFLECTOR.
As I recall, Jim Swift wrote that this accident occurred on the Minnesota River in the vicinity of Shakopee, Minnesota which is southwest of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. The following excerpted from page 95 in a history of Renville County gives an account of navigation conditions on Minnesota rivers that made the knocking off of smoke stacks a common occurrence.
"The History of Renville County, Minnesota" compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge Member of the Minnesota Historical Society Published by H.C. Cooper Jr. amp; Co. Chicago, 1916 The time table of Louis Robert's fine packet, the TIME AND TIDE, shows the distance from St. Paul to Yellow Medicine to be 446 miles. To an old settler who actually traveled on a Minnesota river steamboat in those early days, the idea of a time table may seem rather amusing; for if there was anything more uncertain as to its coming and going, or more void of any idea of regularity, than a steamboat the old time traveler never heard of it.
Now stopping in some forest glen for wood, now tangled in the overhanging boughs of a tree with one or both smoke stacks demolished, now fast for hours on some sand bar, and now tied up to a tree to repair the damage done by some snag, while the passengers sat on the bank telling stories, or went hunting, or feasted on the luscious wild strawberries or juicy plums which grew abundantly in the valley, were common occurrences in steamboat travel.
Many a pioneer remembers the TIME AND TIDE, and how its jolly captain, Louis Robert, would sing out with sonorous voice, when the boat was about to start, "All aboard! Time and Tide waits for no man," and then add, with a sly twinkle in his eye, "and only a few minutes for a woman."
Though we of today may think such method of travel tedious, yet it had many pleasant features, and to the people of that time, unaccustomed to the "flyers" and "fast mails" of today, it seemed quite satisfactory.
LOOKOUT! TENNESSEE RIVER CIVIL WAR
A FILE OFF OF WIKIWAND OF AN UNUSUAL LOOKING CIVIL WAR TRANSPORT BOAT CALLED "LOOKOUT" ON THE TENNESSEE RIVER. THE PILOT HOUSE IS UNIQUE, MADE ME WONDER IF THERE COULD HAVE BEEN A TEXAS BELOW IT ORIGINALLY THAT WAS CUT AWAY AND THE PILOT HOUSE CROWNING WHAT LOOKS LIKE A LARGE SCALE VERSION OF A QUART SIZED MILK CARTON. THE STACKS ARE ESPECIALLY STOUT.
wikiwand.com LOOKOUT CIRCA 1860-65
Two photos of the Steamer City of Wheeling. One is a little out of focus; the other was dark and murky but after scanning it I was able to improve the contrast and brightened it up. Michael Blaser said the perspective on it is especially good. Nice reference for a model maker to work from.
Caption by Jim Hale:
A VERY GOOD PHOTO OF THE STEAMBOAT WHARF AT MOBILE. THE PHOTO WAS TAKEN SOMETIME BETWEEN 1908 AND 1913, THE YEARS THE JAMES T .STAPLES (CENTER) WAS BUILT AND BLEW UP. THE BOAT BEHIND THE STAPLES IS THE AMERICAN. THIS IS THE BOAT CAPTAIN BENSON LEARNED THE RIVER ON AND HE WAS ONE OF THE PILOTS AFTER HE GOT HIS LICENSE. THE BOAT ACROSS THE RIVER IS THE MARY S BLEES BUILT BY NORMAN STAPLES AS WAS THE JAMES T. STAPLES. CAPT. STAPLES OVER EXTENDED HIMSELF WHEN HE BUILT THE STAPLES. HE HAD THE MARY S. BLEES, WHICH WAS THE PERFECT SIZE BOAT FOR THE ALABAMA AND TOMBIGBEE RIVER BUT WANTED A BIGGER AND FINER BOAT. HE GOT INTO FINANCIAL TROUBLE AND COULD NOT MAKE THE PAYMENTS AND LOST THE BOAT. HE DEVELOPED A BAD CASE OF DEPRESSION AND COMMITTED SUICIDE. HE DID HAVE A GOOD EYE FOR WHAT A DEEP SOUTH STEAMBOAT SHOULD LOOK LIKE. LIKE CAPTAIN BENSON, I THINK THE MARY S. BLEES WAS THE BEST LOOKING BOAT ON THE RIVER. SHE WAS CALLED THE STEAMBOAT MAN'S BOAT BY RIVER MEN. IDENTIFIED AS A UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVAL PHOTO PROVIDED TO NEWSPAPER FOR PUBLICATION 4/22/63
Page 144 from:
J.R. Hildebrand, "Cotton: Foremost Fiber of the World." National Geographic, 74, 2 (February 1941): 137-185
Detail from a charming horizontal format photo from La Crosse of the COLUMBIA with pilot, crew, officers and passengers visible on board as she heads toward us on a glassy smooth river.
(Packet/Excursion boat, 1900-1911)
Sternwheel Packet/Excursion boat
Way's Packet Director Number 1248
Built at Muller Boatyard, Stillwater, Minnesota 1900; constructed from the former rafter PAULINE; Captain William Henning and Captain Frank J. Fugina.
Sold January 1906 to Florida interest, Captain Comber. Used in the lower Florida Keys during the building of the Florida East Coast Railway to Key West. Burned at Milton, Florida, March 13, 1911
A dinky little snapshot from a scrapbook 2.80 x 3.70 of the S.L. ELAM at a landing on the Red River or the Ouachita River.
Whoever wrote in white pencil under the photo on the black page in the album probably hadn't heard the word "paddlewheel" before because they described it simply as "Old Time Propeller"
S. L. ELAM (Packet, 1913-circa 1918)
Built 1913 at Slidell, Louisiana
Originally owned by the Carter Brothers
Fred Way's Packet Directory Number 4897:
Originally had a patented Kidney boiler which was replaced in 1915 with three return-flue boilers.
Named for Judge Elam of Natchez, Mississippi.
She ran on the Red River at first and later she ran on the Ouachita between New Orleans, Louisiana and Camden, Arkansas.
In December 1915 she snagged and sank in the lower Red River.
She made one trip, Pittsburgh-Cincinnati, under the name S.L. ELAM after being sold to the Liberty Transit Company in 1918.
She was then rebuilt and renamed General Wood
St. Louis MO.
Sternwheelers were not made for Arctic use but this one is making the attempt to navigate the ice choked Mississippi river before navigation became impossible. The photo shows the workman chopping ice from the paddlewheel as the river boat attempts to ford her way thru the ice.
One of the stranger "caught in the act" photos of a sternwheeler from Murphy Library. This is the gas boat HANOVER on the Alabama River.
Looks like the diving boy just above the sternwheel could have been launched from the boat with "help" from a "friend." A knock out punch delivered from behind? Note that 3 of boys in the middle of the boat were watching, so were witnesses to that "dive."
A head first dive that close to shore could be dangerous if the water was too shallow.
The HAVOVER had a lot of style for a little gas boat. Charming capture of bygone days. Undated photo, possibly early 1900's.
BOAT DESCRIPTION: Sternwheel/Gas boat
BOAT TYPE: Packet
RIVERS: Alabama River
UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs
Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Steamboat Collection Photographs
With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact Steamboats.com for permission for commercial use.*
All captions provided by Dave Thomson, Steamboats.com primary contributor and historian.