Delta Queen Photos


DELTA QUEEN by Michael L. Osborne 1989 calendar

Attached my favorite photo (copyrighted) by Michael L. Osborne from DELTA QUEEN's 1989calendar for the month of OCTOBER. Taken in the Fall on the Tennessee River with the DQbeautifully lit, the landscape and water excellent, perfect. Conveys an ideal image of the DQand how appealing it has always been and should continue to be.


The DELTA QUEEN at St. Louis with pony drawn wagon in the foreground

Just arrived, a very quaint and enjoyable picture of the DELTA QUEEN. It is an undated press photo possibly taken during the 1960's.

The following caption (that I have edited for clarity and accuracy), had been clipped from the newspaper the photo had been published in and glued to the back of the 8 x 10 glossy print:

"Capturing a mood of yesteryear, this vintage delivery wagon drawn by harnessed ponies, has just picked up a shipment of paintings from the DELTA QUEEN on the Mississippi River at St. Louis. The paintings were transported along the cobblestone wharf to be included in an exhibit at a local restaurant."

Note: The wagon may have been on loan from Grant's Farm, the home of Anheuser Busch's Clydesdale horses who pull much bigger wagons built in the same style as the the ponies are harnessed to in this photo.




The Delta Queen at a shore landing in Sept 1993. Was the perfect day with beautiful clouds in the sky and sunlight on the boat.



The Delta Queen's bell was made by the Kaye Co., (a.k.a. "Kaye & Co." & "Kaye Belle & Brass," a foundry in Louisville, Kentucky from 1841—1895).

The bell first served on the Anchor Line's sidewheeler CITY OF ST. LOUIS, built in 1883 by the Howard Shipyard at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

The CITY OF ST. LOUIS burned in 1903, the bell survived and was sold to Capt. J. Frank Ellison who placed it on the Str. QUEEN CITY, remaining on that boat for her entire career from 1897-1940.

Later, the bell served on the towboat MILDRED, the packet OUACHITA, and the towboat JOHN W. HUBBARD (now the MIKE FINK restaurant at Covington, Kentucky).

The bell was placed aboard the DQ in 1947 or 1948.


From some ancient negatives from the early 1980's that I've been making scans of and some are O.K. Took this on the Hannibal landing while some local boys were watching the river and the Delta Queen. Reminded me of the opening of Chapter 4 of Mark Twain's memoir of his piloting years on the Mississippi.

Chapter 4. The Boys' Ambition

When I was a boy, there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village of Hannibal, Missouri on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

That was, to be a steamboatman.

We had transient ambitions of other sorts, but they were only transient.

When a circus came and went, it left us all burning to become clowns; the first negro minstrel show that came to our section left us all suffering to try that kind of life; now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.

These ambitions faded out, each in its turn; but the ambition to be a steamboatman always remained.


This was taken after I took the first one when they were apparently unaware that I was there . . . the 2 lads on the left laughed while the one on the right reserved judgment. Maybe some people in Hannibal recognize the boys and can tell me if any of them remained in town.


Louisville: the DQ during our overnight stay Must've used a tripod, must've been a time exposure. Boats mostly golden on account of the tungsten lights.


Captain Chengery and Pilot Hillman on the bridge of the Delta Queen.


Your curator of the collection in front of the DQ's pilot house eagle en route from Memphis to Cincinnati in Sept '93.


DELTA QUEEN's pilot wheel

Photo of the DELTA QUEEN's name board, pilot wheel, Captain's chair and a Victorian couch that I took in 1990 during my first visit to the Ohio River Museum at Marietta, Ohio. As the excerpt from Shawn Dake's 2010 online article about a visit aboard the DQ there is mention of the pilot wheel being retired circa the late 1940's after the steamboat had been escorted from the Sacramento River, down the Pacific Coast, through the Panama canal, across the Gulf of Mexico, then up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Cincinnati where she was renovated by the Greene Line for her new Inland Waterways cruising career in the Midwest and the South.

Log Of The Steamboat DELTA QUEEN
Along Southern Rivers Part Two
Shawn Dake | September 30, 2010

Of all the wonderful things on the DELTA QUEEN, the Pilot House is the only minor disappointment. I expected to see the big (pilot) wheel that once was there, only to find that it had been removed more than a half century ago. The four rudders are steered by what amounts to a stick control. There are also bow and stern thrusters. Windows have been changed and the overall look is a combination of wheelhouse and kitchen, with a microwave oven, toaster and sink. Still, the view from up there was great. Open bridge wings project on either side allowing unobstructed panoramas fore and aft.


DELTA QUEEN's pilot wheel in the pilot house

Photo from La Crosse of the original California configuration of the DELTA QUEEN's pilot house with pilot wheel before it was customized for the Greene Line. The telegraph is still functional in the pilot house at the present time.


UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs
Title: Delta Queen (Packet/Excursion boat, 1926- )
Photographer: Muster, Bill
Date: ca. 1977
Description: BOAT DESCRIPTION: Sternwheel
BUILT: 1926 at Stockton, California
OWNERS: California Transportation Company; Isbrandsten Steamship Lines (1940); Greene Line Steamers, Incorporated (1946); Overseas National Airways (1969); Delta Queen Steamboat Company; Coca-Cola Company, New York (1976); Prudential Lines, Incorporated, San Francisco
OFFICERS & CREW: Captain Paul Underwood (master); Captain Ernest E. Wagner (master); Captain Clarke "Doc" Hawley (master); Captain Gabriel Chengery (master, 1977)
RIVERS: Mississippi River; Ohio River; Missouri River

OTHER INFORMATION: Ways - 1504; Fabricated at Glasgow, Scotland along with her sister ship, the Delta King. All steel work done on the River Clyde at the Isherwood Yard, Glasgow. Both boats were knocked down and the sections sent by steamship to San Francisco and then barged to Stockton where the boats were completed.

The building operations extended from 1924 through part of 1927. Her machinery was built at Denny's Shop in Dumbarton; the paddlewheel shafts and cranks were forged at the Krupp Works, Germany. The upper cabins were built by U.S. shipwrights, four decks high, largely of oak, teak, mahogany, and Oregon cedar.

When completed the two boats were the most expensive river sternwheelers extant, costing $875,000 each. In the beginning of her career she ran in the San Francisco-Sacramento trade on a regular year-round schedule. Frequent excursions were made to Stockton. She frequently carried 800 tons of freight.

The staterooms slept 200. Rooms and passenger areas were air-conditioned, hot air heat. The cabins were finished in solid oak with natural mahogany and walnut trim. Plate glass windows surmounted by colored, leaded, stained glass transoms surrounded copious forward lounging areas.

Seven watertight compartments divided the hulls thwartship, all hull space usable. The kitchen was in the hold, pantries and dining room on the boiler deck, with dumbwaiters to convey food and utensils. The main deck was built entirely of ironwood from Thailand. Many rooms had connecting shower or bath, white tiled, and twin beds. All hardware was solid brass.

The Delta Queen and her sister ship were dedicated at the Banner Island shipyard, Stockton, on Friday, May 20, 1927 and entered service about June 1. They did handsomely, weathered the Great Depression, but a modern highway linking San Francisco and Sacramento was too much. The Delta Queen's last trip came on the closing day of the Golden Gate International Exposition, Sunday, September 29, 1940.

Both boats were sold. After Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Navy took both boats and used them in the San Francisco Bay area, painted drab gray, designated "Yard Ferry Boats". At war's conclusion, they were turned over to the U.S. Maritime Commission. The Delta Queen was sold at public sale to Greene Line Steamers. She was then transferred to New Orleans, first undergoing repairs and a complete renovation. Changes were extensive.

Her two cabin decks were extended forward, dining room placed on the main deck which was formerly the freight area. The air-conditioning was completely renovated; paddlewheel covering was removed; fuel capacity augmented; many new luxury cabins added where the dining room had originally been; new pantries, bar and toilet facilities appended to numerous staterooms.

The Delta Queen left the Dravo Corporation yard at Neville Island, Pennsylvania on February 28, 1948 and arrived at Cincinnati March 1 to receive her new furniture, a swinging stage, etc. Since then she has been in tourist service on the Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Following the untimely death of Captain Tom R. Greene on July 10, 1950, the Delta Queen was managed by his widow, Letha Cavendish Greene until advertised for sale.

Richard C. Simonton reorganized Greene Line Steamers in 1950 and the Delta Queen became a profitable venture. After Simonton became ill, on November 21, 1969, Greene Line was transferred to Overseas National Airways with operations based at Kennedy International Airport. The Delta Queen ran head-on into Public Law 89-777 prohibiting the operation of wooden superstructured overnight passenger vessels.

In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon exempted the Delta Queen from the terms of the law for three years. Subsequent presidential sanction has kept the boat operative. The Delta Queen was brought 5,380 statute miles by sea, the lengthiest salt water transit of record for a flat-bottom sternwheeler. She came through unscathed, a tribute to her builder, James Burns, Oakland, California

LCSH Subjects: Packets—Mississippi River / Packets—Ohio River / Packets—Missouri River / Excursion boats—Mississippi River / Excursion boats—Ohio River / Excursion boats—Missouri River
Subjects: Sternwheel packets / Sternwheel excursions
Type: StillImage
Is Part Of: UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs
Rights: This image cannot be copied or reproduced without the permission of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Murphy Library, Special Collections
Submitter: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Special Collections
Note: Delta Queen (A)
Local Identifier: LaCrosseSteamboat.steam05207.bib




22 DQ in Marietta, Ohio (stern view - banner on deck in front of calliope "Save me in 1970 something") 37 Captain Harry Relaxes while he pilots the DQ (possibly Harry Loudon?)


Yours truly again on the Hannibal, MO waterfront possibly also from the early 1980's. The DELTA QUEEN on the Mississippi River behind me, this time photo taken with my camera by Mark Twain Museum curator Henry Sweets.


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