Belle of Louisville Photos
See also, Belle of Louisville Illustrations


Belle of Louisville by Thomas Kelley |

Race Belle vs DQ color slide PPS7 HALF size for NORI exp

Scanned from a color slide of a race between the DELTA QUEEN (in the distance) and the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE (in foreground). Photographer unknown but probably took prior to Kentucky Derby Day on the Ohio at Louisville, Kentucky.

avalon 1950s photo

Before she was the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE, she was built in 1914 as the ferry and day packet IDLEWILD. In 1948 she was renamed AVALON (above), and in 1962 became the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE, as we know her today.

The photo above is from a 1950's Louisiana calendar. The photo is labeled, "Avalon in a bayou near Plaquemine."

contemporary paddlewheel steamboat

This RPPC ("real photo postcard") of the Avalon says McGregor, Iowa . . . am not positive it was actually taken there, but it's a neat image, one of the best in black and white between the boat's Idlewild phase and future incarnation as the Belle of Lou'vull.



Beautiful sharp color photo of BELLE OF LOUISVILLE "By Bo" from wikimedia

Credit: By Bo - Belle of Louisville, CC BY 2.0,

Kevin Mullen

A photo I took of Kevin Mullen, Master of the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE in the pilot house. Kevin gave me off duty tours twice during the early '90's but I'm not certain if this was an afternoon in Sept 1990 or a morning in 1993. The DELTA QUEEN tied up for the night at Louisville in during Sept of '93 and the crew had a big party at a place along the Louisville waterfront. I got up first thing the next morning and walked down to the BELLE. Glad the boat is being so lovingly taken care of. They added a new air conditioning system to the main cabin/ballroom which makes it pleasant for party goers during the humid seasons.

Kevin might recognize something in the picture that would remind him which year it was. Since this was before I was taking digital photos I had to scan a print and improved upon it as much as possible in Photoshop.


Captain Mark Doty, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas and Jonathan Kite on the "lazy bench" in the Belle of Louisville where 40 years ago (September 1972) Keith Norrington took a photo of Bert Fenn, Ruth Ferris, Doc Hawley and Alan Bates. Photo May 2012, the Louisville Waterfront site. News excerpt:

News and Events
May 10, 2012

The Belle of Louisville had a great Great Steamboat Race this year. Not only did she win the race, she also hosted actors Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas of the tv show "Once Upon A Time," and Jonathan Kite of "Two Broke Girls." As part of their tour of the boat, Captain Mark Doty showed them the Pilot House and explained Belle navigation. Josh Dallas was born in Louisville and raised in Southern Indiana.

Belle of Louisville in MADISON X 2

Here is the Belle of Louisville making a cameo appearance in the 2001 movie MADISON, filmed on the Ohio River at Madison, Indiana. The movie is based on a true story of APBA hydroplane racing on the Ohio. The story revolves around the career of veteran Madison, Indiana racer Jim McCormick (portrayed by James Caviezel) who piloted the powerboat "Miss Madison" to victory in 1971, winning the APBA Gold Cup.

Madison has sponsored powerboat racing since 1911 and began holding an annual race called the Madison Regatta in 1929. Beginning in 1954, the race became affiliated with the American Power Boat Association, held annually in July. Though Madison has a population of only 12,000, the Regatta maintains its place in the Unlimited Hydroplane American Boat Racing Association series, whose other races are held in Seattle, Detroit, and San Diego, among others.

Caption adapted from this wikipedia article: Wikipedia


Lucky photo of the Belle of Lou's sternwheel with water and steam taken in Sept 1990.


Jim Hale just alerted me to this video on the rebuilt engines aboard the Belle of Louisville completed by Atlas Engineering to state of the art quality using laser technology and skilled technicians.

Atlas Rebuilds Century-Old Steamboat Engines
"At almost a century old, the Belle of Louisville gets engines reconditioned for next 100 years"
Click on the following link to read an article about the rebuilding of the BELLE's engines on the website



The head-on view I took from the tower of Life-Saving Station #10 built in 1929 at Dubuque which is moored permanently next to the BELLE on the Ohio River at Louisville and serves as docking boat, ticket office and offices for staff, officers and crew of the BELLE.

The Spirit of Jefferson

Life-Saving Station #10 is a lifesaving station built by the United States Life-Saving Service located in Louisville, Kentucky.

It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It resides on the wharf at River Road and Fourth Street.

LSS #10 was later renamed the MAYOR ANDREW BROADDUS in honor of a former mayor of Louisville.

LSS #10's historic purpose was to house rescue crews to rescue those who fell victim to the rapids of the Falls of the Ohio.

Louisville was the first place where a lifesaving station was placed in western waters.

The first life station was placed on the river in Louisville in 1881 and has had a presence there ever since.

LSS #10 was built in 1929 in Dubuque, Iowa. It has a steel hull, and is 98 feet (30 m) long, a beam of 38 feet (12 m), a Hold Depth of 5 feet (1.5 m), and has 623 Net Tons.

It has two decks, and a 15-foot-tall lookout tower.

It has much of its original interior fabric, and is considered in good condition.

It is the only floating lifestation and the last inland waterway lifestation for the United States Coast Guard still in existence, and one of the few reminders that the U.S. Life-Saving Service ever existed.


Dave Thomson on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE in Sept 1990, photo by Keith Norrington.


Cap'n Dave at the wheel of the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE 1990


BELLE OF LOUISVILLE detail from a PANORAMIO photo saturated color with added diffusion on left and right sides


BELLE OF LOUISVILLE sternwheel water and steam. Photo By Dave Thomson, evening cruise September 1990.


Photo for the month of November, 1992 from the 1992 Official Tall Stacks Calendar
Credit: Elder Photographic Inc.


Cropped from scan of 35mm color slide purchased on eBay. The name written on this slide mount is Mary Etta (Marshman) Williams-Welch (30 Nov 1927 - 8 Oct 2015), daughter of Donald Ray Marshman Senior of Crawford County Ohio and Dovia Lou (Graves) Marshman of Lenior City, Tennessee. Mary attended elementary school in Crestline Ohio and junior high and high school in Galion Ohio where she was a 1945 graduate of Galion High School.


The BELLE OF LOUISVILLE at a landing along the Ohio River.


Low angle view looking up at the bow of the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE in dry dock with her hull fully displayed. Photo was credited to THE COURIER JOURNAL & LOUISVILLE TIMES.

More Belle of Louisville pages at this site:
Centennial of Steamboats to honor the Belle of Louisville's 100th Anniversary
Photos of an accident that damaged Belle of Louisville bucket boards in 2009
Belle of Louisville Illustrations page
Belle of Louisville and Delta Queen in a 1963 steamboat race

Videos of the Belle of Louisville:
Search YouTube for Belle of Louisville videos - 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.