Color Steamboat photos (newer), page 1

These are newer photos, so they are either newer boats, or antique boats photographed in color.


The Spirit of Peoria at its own wharf at the Peoria, Illinois, marina on the Illinois River.


The SPIRIT was designed by architect Alan Bates, and built in 1988 at the Walker Boat Yard in Paducah, Kentucky, the first paddlewheeler ever built there.

The propulsion system was designed by Norm Rittenhouse, with steering by Custom Hydraulics.

SPIRIT OF PEORIA has no propellers or thrusters, and is powered by twin Caterpillar 3412 diesel gensets, producing 700 kilowatts combined in 208 volt 3-phase voltage.

The power is rectified using railroad-style rectifiers, probably from a GM GP38.

The DC voltage goes to two traction engines, also from a GM locomotive, which drive the paddlewheel via two 40-foot-long by 1-foot-wide chains.

This allows the boat to be comparatively fast and efficient, burning approximately 15 gallons of diesel fuel an hour, with a top speed of over 15 mph.

The dry weight is about 275 tons, with a passenger capacity of 487.

The boat carries 3,500 US gallons of fuel and 2,500 gallons of water.

The regular area of travel of the boat ranges from Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, Illinois to Starved Rock State Park near Ottawa, Illinois.

The boat is owned and captained by G. Alex Grieves, and co-captained by Harold Breitenbach.


Natchez Casino "Isle of Capri" photgraph taken at dusk

Beautiful photo taken at dusk of the Isle of Capri Casino on the Mississippi River at Natchez Under-the-Hill, a floating replica of a huge sidewheel steamboat from Wikipedia's inventory of Casinos on the Mississippi River.


Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Natchez Natchez Adams County, State of Mississippi
Lower River Region
Closed 2015


Steamboat replica ISLE OF CAPRI casino in the distance at Natchez-Under-the-Hill

Flood preparation is being done in the foreground with the steamboat replica built to house the ISLE OF CAPRI casino loomS up in the background at Natchez-Under-the-Hill on the Mississippi River.

Photography by Anne Power |


TWILIGHT's last gleaming . . .

Riverboat TWILIGHT's 2019 calendar for the month of November, a beautiful photo by Gary Sterk of a 3/4 stern view of the photogenic TWILIGHT in the middle of the Mississippi River with reflection in the foreground.


The Spirit of America at Covington, Kentucky, in 1990. Photos by Dave Thomson were featured by Fred Way in The S&D Reflector, December 1990, in black and white. The boat (sans engines) is now the Alton Belle at Alton, Illinois.


SacramentoRiverBoat Matthew McKinleyWhisperingBayPhotoBradZweerink

I took the photo of the MATTHEW McKINLEY with Tower Bridge in the background at Sacramento in 1992.

The photo of the McKINLEY undergoing restoration was taken by Brad Zweerink to accompany the 2012 article by Ian Thompson for the Fairfield Daily Republic.

Fairfield California Daily Republic

"Matthew McKinley gets new lease on life in Suisun City"

By Ian Thompson

June 27, 2012

SUISUN CITY—Tucked away next to a dock in Whispering Bay, the entertainment boat Matthew McKinley is getting a new lease on life.

Suisun City residents will be able to see what could be the city's next resident entertainment boat Monday when it ties up to the downtown waterfront.

Vacaville's Gary Stone, who owns the Matthew McKinley, and a crew of friends, family members, volunteers and contractors have spent the last three weeks completely renovating the vessel: putting in new forward stairways, replacing the electrical system and refurbishing its interior.

Half the vessel's wooden roof, which was ripped off by the wind in December 2009, has been completely replaced and more strongly anchored to the deck.

Stone, who bought an island in the Suisun Slough that he is turning into a youth camp, acquired the Matthew McKinley two years ago. When Community Services Director Mick Jessop asked Stone a month ago if the Matthew McKinley could be part of this year's Fourth of July fireworks festival, Stone ramped up his work to renovate the vessel.

"We are under the gun," Stone said Tuesday while workers prepared to caulk and paint the Matthew McKinley.

He expects the vessel to be ready on time, thanks to the work crew.

The Matthew McKinley will be tied up to the public dock during the Fourth of July festival as a place to watch fireworks for friends and people who have helped fix up the vessel and create the Stone Cove Youth Camp.

After the Fourth of July, Stone and Suisun City officials will sit down to work out an agreement that could make the Matthew McKinley the sixth entertainment boat to call the Suisun waterfront its home. The Matthew McKinley is making its appearance three months after the small River Otter Water Taxi called it quits.

The vessel will be leased to the Stone Cove Youth Camp and part of its time will be spent serving as a classroom and gathering place for the campground.

Stone purchased the small, 5.4-acre tidal island in 2009, cleaned out a collection of refuse and derelict vessels, fixed up the dock and improved the island so that it could become home to a private, nonprofit youth camp. Stone said he expects the camp to be ready for its first youth groups later this summer.

The Matthew McKinley was brought to Suisun City in 2008 by Northbay Charters, the owners of the 100-foot-long Lady of Suisun, which only stayed a year before weighing anchor and departing for Oakland.

After the Lady of Suisun left, the Matthew McKinley was parked in Whispering Bay, where Stone found her.

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic.




Took these of the Scarlett Belle up at Oxnard in '07 while they were putting the finishing touches on her in the boat yard there. Not a living soul around so I was able to walk around and get these. The link below shows how she's become a weddin' type boat.

The Scarlett Belle Riverboat Paddlewheeler is a yacht newly built in 2007 in the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard California. She can accommodate 150 guests, climate controlled with heating or air. She cruises inside the Channel Islands harbor taking you thru the waterways and into the newer Westport and sea bridge homes. She has two levels and a wheel house, 2 handicap accessible spacious bathrooms, walk around decks on both upstairs and downstairs and gets lit up with sparkling lights for your event.

Hannibal Aerial AmericanQueen1995EXP.jpg

American Queen - Dave took it in 1995 from a little single engine plane flying over the Mississippi above Hannibal with the bran' new American Queen headed upstream towards Quincy, Illinois.


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.