Ferry Boat Photos, page 1


Ferry, OLLIE K. WILDS at Natchez Under the Hill March 27, 1928

Detail from an original photo taken at Natchez, Mississippi on March 27, 1928 of the ferry OLLIE K. WILDS, which was owned by Captain George Prince of the Royal Route Line and operated at Natchez between 1920 and 1940.

steamboat photo

Ferryboat Dorothy

Back to Oz again . . . this is the Ferryboat Dorothy. I sent a tif file on this last night but have cleaned it up a bit and made a jpg for you. Great little boat with a nice camera angle on it. From a tiny 3 X 4 inch snapshot.


Ferry LITTLE PEARL Missouri River

Ferry LITTLE PEARL which ran on the Missouri River between this landing at Niobrara, Nebraska and Running Water, South Dakota on the opposite shore. Not listed in Way's Packet Directory.

NatchezFerryOllieKWilds1940RiverIce 35percentForNORI


Natchez ferry OLLIE K. WILDS On Ice 1940

News photo of the ferry OLLIE K. WILDS "on ice" dated 30 January, 1940.

Text from the press clipping on the back of the print:

"Huge ice floes floating down the Mississippi seriously impeded river travel at Natchez where ferries took two hours to cross the river. Here is a ferry, which, incidentally, was frozen tight all night, making the first trip across the ice-studded river."

The other photo of the WILDS in a boat yard for maintenance is from the Murphy Library.


Sidewheel ferry Hazel S. at Portsmouth, Ohio on the Ohio River 1939

Scanned from a grainy 1.60 x 2.10 inch negative taken in 1939 of the sidewheel ferry HAZEL S. whose home port was apparently CINCINATTI, Ohio." On the back of the proof print is written:

"Looking up the Ohio River, just above Portsmouth, Ohio. August 8, 1939."

Two vintage sedans are visible on deck: a two door and a four door. The pilot house has 2 pilot wheels, fore and aft. The pilot stands steering at the pilot wheel at the rear of the pilot house which corresponds to the direction the vehicles would have boarded at a landing on the Ohio or Kentucky shore

recent acquisitions

Ferry THE NEW ERA was converted from a sidewheeler to a sternwheeler in 1922 at Clarington, Ohio

Sank January 30, 1948 at Brilliant, Ohio

On the back of this real photo postcard is written:

You will find in this picture the remodeled Transit which is now The New Era . . .

Will accommodate 6 Ford traveling cars and will carry more tonnage per truck than Str Albert.

Made trip from Pittsburgh to Welkberg (?) actual running time 10 1/2 hrs.

Yours truly
John S. Wade
Box 363
Brilliant, Ohio


SUNSHINE 1888 - 1923 excursion boat Promo 26 Aug 1906

SUNSHINE the ferry and part time excursion boat from a photographic print of the ferry/excursion boat SUNSHINE. The focus is fine on the paddle box and forward on the lower deck but the boiler deck and pilot house above are out of focus for some reason, maybe a quirk in the lens on the camera that the photographer used.

The postcard has a pen and ink message on the back but the year of the postmark is unreadable. The message reads in part:

"This is the Excursion to Pittsburgh picture taken at Coraopolis lock."

The Ohio River lock at Coraopolis is called Dashfields, it is between Pittsburgh and Monaca, both in Pennsylvania.

Steamer SUNSHINE promotion with photo of the boat from Dave Thomson's Collection Advertising and Excursion to Madison & Carrollton Sunday August 26, 1906 * 25 cents * Leaves at 8:30 a.m.

Way's Packet Directory Number 5235
Sidewheel excursion and ferry steamer
Built at Jeffersonville, Ind., by Howard, 1888
175x37 x5.8. Engines, 18's-6ft.
Three boilers, each 42" by 26 ft.
Owned by Louisville & Jeffersonville Ferry Co., and the subsidiary Fern Grove Amusement Co. Operated in that area until 1907 when bought by Capt. William McNally who brought her to Pittsburgh, Pa. He made many alterations, narrowing the guards and rebuilding the wheelhouses to fit Monongahela locks; added double swinging stages, and gave her a texas deck in 1918. Triple tragedy struck in 1920 when a son and daughter of Capt. McNally died within a week, then came his death within another week. The boat was sold, going to John W. Hubbard who formed the River Excursion Co., Cincinnati. Name was changed to PRINCESS Aug. 21, 1923

FerryH&C No 1 to become MemphisQueen Smaller file

The name on the ferry boat's pilot house is H&C No. 1 which Ed Langford of Marine Supply Co. in Memphis bought from H.E. Bellinger of Tell City, Indiana who very probably knew our hero Bert Fenn.

According to the news clipping on the back of this photo from 1954, the ferry was in the process of being converted into the MEMPHIS QUEEN, the first of a fleet of Mississippi River excursion boats that would later include the BELLE CAROL, the MEMPHIS QUEEN II and the MEMPHIS QUEEN III.

The ferry looked plenty authentic in style before she was made over to suit the tourists' fantasy of what an old fashioned packet boat was like.

Additional notes are included under the photograph below.

September 5, 1954
The Commercial Appeal Memphis, Tenn


Memphis Queen To Offer Trips On Mississippi

The Memphis Queen, a diesel-powered sternwheeler, will begin operating here as a sightseeing craft in two weeks as an attraction for tourists and conventions.

Memphis, made famous in Mississippi River stories for more than a century, now has its own sternwheel harbor sightseeing boat, the Memphis Queen is anchored at the foot of Monroe.

Ed B. Langford owner of Marine Supply Co. at 628 Union, said yesterday he bought the craft partially to satisfy the curiosity of tourists who come to Memphis expecting to be able to take a ride on a river boat with a power wheel on its stern.

Mr. Langford plans to use the Memphis Queen primarily for entertaining conventions, Sunday school groups and other organizations, he said.

Powered by a Diesel Engine; the Memphis Queen is 90 feet tong and 43 feet wide.

It has a shallow draft making it a simple manner to park on a sand bar for a few hours for a party.

Remodeling work began yesterday for the two-week job of readying the boat with a second deck as a cover on each side and 10 feet forward of the pilot house.

It will have a dance floor.

From several hundred suggestions, Mr. Langford picked the name, "Memphis Queen" and will give Mrs. Joy Evans of 3000 Kingston Road a $10 prize for, submitting it.

He bought the vessel from H. E. Bellinger of Tell City, Indiana.

Ed B. Langford owns the boat, now undergoing remodeling at the foot of Monroe. -Staff Photo

A good color slide of the MEMPHIS QUEEN taken in 1974 and credited to Lynn Harris whose nickname on Flickr is "Little Red Hen" can be seen at this link:

The MEMPHIS QUEENS are presently operated my Memphis Riverboats whose link is here: The company history, going back to the 1960s, can be found at their website:

MADISON Ferry Ladies 600DPI grayscale sharp FOR NORI

Taken aboard the ferry MADISON.

The solitary lady on the boiler deck stands next to a door with a sign above it that says FOR GENTS ONLY.

The three ladies down below have an air of mystery about them, the one on the right is reminiscent of Almira Gulch (in Kansas) who became the Wicked Witch of the West in Oz.

Fred Way's Packet Directory
built Jeffersonville, Ind., by Howard, 1892.
157.4 x 45.4 x 6.1.
She was a centerwheel ferry owned by Madison County (Illinois) Ferry Co.
Still listed 1908, maybe later.



Sidewheel ferry J.P. GAGE

The first image in sepia is a 1.10 inch wide detail of the ferry J.P. GAGE scanned from a 4.70 x 6.75 inch albumen print just received from a dealer in Camdenton, Missouri.

The second photo of the J.P. GAGE in black and white was taken by photographer R. Goebel at St. Charles, Missouri on the Missouri River. This photo is from the La Crosse collection.


Sidewheel Ferry

Way's Packet Directory Number 2875

Built in 1884 at Clinton, Iowa for the St. Charles Ferry and Transportation Company Operated on the Missouri River at St. Charles, Missouri. W.T. Cope (pilot, 1894) The GAGE was snagged and sank on September 7, 1893; then raised. In 1898 she was transferred from Rock Island, Illinois on the Mississippi River to Dardanelle, Arkansas on the Arkansas River.


RUTH ANN sternwheel ferry 1895 - 1934
3 1/2 X 5 3/4 inch original black and white print

Sternwheel Ferry

Way's Packet Directory Number 4884
Built in 1895 at Levanna, Ohio
Formerly the IRONTON
Owned and operated by Bellaire-Benwood and Wheeling Ferry Company (1924) Ohio River

In 1928 she was enroute down the Ohio River with the ferry CHARON and wrecked the CHARON on the outside lock wall OF Lock 23. The RUTH ANN tried the Levanna-Dover ferry run but didn't succeed. She sank at Dillies Bottom near Levanna, Ohio in 1934, very close to the site where she had been built.



Ferry named EDITH. Fred Way lists a few boat with that name but doesn't describe them as ferries. There are 4 men on deck and 1 pilot, all who may have been African American. Would guess this could have been on a river Down South somewhere, perhaps in a state like Louisiana or Alabama.


Quincy, Illinois "People's Ferry" 1889 - 1906

Attached a really interesting picture from La Crosse taken on the Quincy, Illinois waterfront on the Mississippi with 2 ferries and a couple of other boats. The PEOPLE's FERRY (1889 - 1906) is the big one at center, the ferry in the distance on the far right is not identified but resembles ferries that worked at the next big town down the river on the opposite shore: Hannibal, Missouri. The little RAMBLER in the foreground looks like someone's pleasure boat and they're airing out a mattress on the bow, might've been busy the night before.



The steam ferry CHAMPION NO. 3 1901 - 1935
98.9 feet long One boiler 44 inches by 18 feet.
Owned by J.F. Jividen and operated by him and his brother Charles.

This ferry operated at Pomeroy until the bridge across the Ohio River to West Virginia was completed in 1928 and after that she ran at Proctorville, Ohio until she was dismantled in 1935.

Pomeroy, Ohio across the Ohio River is seen here from the landing in the foreground at Mason City, West Virginia.

Pomeroy was founded in 1804 and named for landowner Samuel Pomeroy. The village was incorporated in 1840, and designated county seat of Meigs County, Ohio in 1841. The first coal barges on the Ohio River were loaded there. Today Pomeroy retains this appearance and still has many of the commercial buildings seen here on the waterfront.


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.