This log goes back in time, with newest entries at the top.Scroll down for links to news articles and inside gossip.We cover the Save the Delta Queen Campaign, general steamboat news and history, steamboatancestry, paddlewheel boats wanted / for sale, and guestbook postings. Anothersite to buy and sell paddlewheel boats: eBay.More Save the Delta Queen Campaign web sites:steamboats.org *save-the-delta-queen.org *savethedeltaqueen.com *Minnesotans for the Delta Queen [now offline] *DQ bumper stickers, pinsTo search this section or the whole site, go to Steamboat News Archive.If you want to post to this page, click here.





May 5, 2009 - While we wait to hear about the permit, you might want to post yourcomments to this page:Delta Queen Hotel Q & A.We especially need engineers to weigh in on whether the mechanical operations of the boatwill survive if the boat is tied up there with no engineer, not running.





We need you to write a letter - deadline is May 4!
Index to this page (it is getting long, so here is a guide to what's on this page)
Instructions to write your letter *"This Just In" - more reasons to oppose the permit *Letter by Vicki Webster to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers *Photos from Steamboats.com's attic (saving the Delta Queen in 1970) *Letter by Nori Muster, Steamboats.com *Letter from Delta Queen Hotel to Save the Delta Queen Campaign *Response from Vicki Webster to Delta Queen Hotel *Letter from Rod Scott, President of the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance *Letter from Donald E. Clare, Jr., President of Rabbit Hash Historical Society *Steamboat race results






URGENT Letter Writing Campaign - Deadline May 4!
We need you to write a letter using an envelope and stamp! [Please use Overnight Expressto make sure the letter reaches them before May 4.]
For more information on the legal process for safeguarding the Delta Queen, see the Citizen's Guide to Section 106, published by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. You can find it at http://www.achp.gov/citizensguide.pdf.
See sample letter below*
See one more reason to oppose the permit

On Apr 24, 2009, at 6:48 AM, Vicki Webster wrote:

Hello all,

The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority have issued a public notice requesting comments on a permit to permanently moor the Delta Queen at Coolidge Park in Chattanooga. If this permit is granted the Delta Queen will be converted into a floating hotel and will never sail our rivers again.

Contrary to what you may have read or heard, our fight to renew the Queen's 40-year exemption from the Safety of Life at Sea Act goes on. There is a group that wants to buy the boat and put her back in full operation as the only traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on our inland waterways. That status was the sole reason she was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989 (see the attached memo).

We must do everything in our power to ensure that this permit is not granted. Please write to the Corps of Engineers at the address below and urge them to hold a public hearing on this matter. And explain in your own words why it is vital to you and your community that the Delta Queen be allowed to steam along America's inland waterways as she has done proudly and safely for more than 80 years.

Some key points to stress:
* The Delta Queen brings valuable revenue to communities in 17 states.
* The Delta Queen is the last remaining link to the hundreds of steamboats that once traversed our inland waterways, carrying the people, supplies, and livestock that opened the West and changed our country forever. Once she is gone she can never be replaced.
* If the Delta Queen is permanently moored, future generations of Americans and foreign visitors will be deprived of the chance to see this country in a way they can do by no other means.
* If the Delta Queen is permanently moored, with her steam engines shut down, her paddlewheel will never turn again. Her whistle will never blow. Her calliope will never play. In a very real way, she will cease to be a boat and become just another riverside structure.
* In order to achieve even marginal success with their hotel venture beyond the initial novelty stage, it is virtually certain that the Queen's operators will need to make structural changes that at best will destroy the boat's historic integrity and at worst make it impossible for a future owner to put her back in operation.

You can read the full notice here: http://video.onset.freedom.com/wtvc/kigil4-deltaqueenmooringrequest.pdf

And this is the relevant paragraph, with the points that relate to the loss of the Delta Queen shown in red type:

The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts of the activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect thenational concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the work must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the work will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shore erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. A permit will be granted unless the District Engineer determines that it would be contrary to the public interest.

Comments must be received by May 4, 2009 and must be sent in writing (no email) to:

US Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Attn: J. Ruben Hernandez
3701 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214-2660

Please contact me, by phone or email if you have questions.

Charge!

Vicki Webster
The Save the Delta Queen Campaign
335 W. Fifth Street #401
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 381-3571
vjw[at]olypen.com





This Just In
April 26, 2009
A concerned party offers another reason to oppose the permit

I saw the posting on Steamboats.org* from the folks in Chattanooga. An important point and another reason that the corps permit should be opposed is that the Chattanooga folks say that in their contract with Ambassadors, they will get reimbursed for these permanent improvements in the event the DQ. enters the overnite passenger trade again. By definition, the improvements create a barrier to having the vessel re-enter that trade. Hence, another reason to oppose them. The argument goes as follows: The DQ went to Chattanooga with the understanding that the operators there would temporarily use it dockside until a buyer came along to bring the boat back into the overnite trade. Now, they are building in costs that according to their own posting will have to be paid by a new overnite operator. This is no different from removing the boilers. This adds an obstacle to the future operation of the DQ that was not part of the deal announced by Ambassadors.

I see where one webside or group supposedly supports the Corps Permit. This is a mistake because by their own press release this creates a barrier to the boats entry into passenger service. If you know these other folks, you should make sure they are aware of this.

The DQ is not a hugely profitable venture-$1 million in additional costs to get it in service can have a huge impact. By the Corps permit application, it looks like the work will at least be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.





Photos from the Steamboats.com Attic



Betty Blake, savior of the Delta Queen, at her condo on The Hill in Cincinnati.The Delta Queen is seen below on the Ohio River. Photo by Bill Muster, circa 1970.



The Tooker Family on board the Delta Queen, photo by Bill Muster, circa 1970.



Bill Muster taking pictures of a steamboat, unknown photographer, circa 1970.





Guestbook Posting
On Apr 29, 2009, at 8:14 AM, VIRGIL L. REYNOLDS wrote:

name: VIRGIL REYNOLDS
location: EAST LIVERPOOL, OHIO
message: I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE WHO IS HELPING TO SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN
email: Yes, include my email (encoded in SpamStopper software) bevmr11 [at] comcast.net
visits: Once a month





The Belle of Louisville won the April 29, 2009Kentucky Derby Festival Great Steamboat Race,leaving the Belle of Cincinnati in her wake.This was the first race for the Belle, who was sittingin for the Delta Queen.





April 28, 2009

US Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Attn: J. Ruben Hernandez
3701 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214-2660

Re. Public Notice No. 09-31
Application No. 5169500
Subject: Proposed Permanent Moorage of Historic Delta Queen Paddlewheel Steamboat

Dear Mr. Hernandez:

Because this permit application involves a federal agency, and because the Delta Queen is a National Historic Landmark (NHL), the application constitutes an "undertaking" under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), requiring consultation under Section 106. The Save the Delta Queen Campaign hereby requests to participate as a "consulting party" in the Section 106 process and requests a public hearing as outlined in Public Notice No 09-31. The Delta Queen is the only National Historic Landmark that travels beyond the bounds of a single city. Her journeys throughout the Mississippi River system affect the lives of people who come from many parts of the world to travel on her and of those who live in the places she visits. Their voices deserve to be heard.

Participants in discussions and signers of any Memorandum of Agreement should include members of the Save the Delta Queen Campaign team; representatives of State Historic Preservation Offices, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation; and representatives from communities that would be adversely affected by the permanent mooring of the Delta Queen.

The Delta Queen is a literally unique and irreplaceable national treasure. If she is confined to one place, communities in 17 states will lose a valuable source of tourism revenue. Future generations of Americans and foreign visitors will lose the chance to see this country in a way they can do by no other means. Crew members will be deprived of well-paying jobs. Businesses that provide supplies and services to the boat all along our waterways will lose income. And our nation will lose the last remaining link to the time when hundreds of steamboats traversed our inland waterways, carrying the people, supplies, and livestock that opened the West.

The changes that could be freely made to the boat if this application is approved without the Section 106 review process far exceed those shown in the drawings. The structural alterations necessary to convert the vessel from a traveling riverboat to a fully functioning hotel would destroy her historic integrity, permanently degrade her appearance, and make it all but impossible for a future owner to put her back in operation. Even the docks and mooring apparatus shown in the drawings would adversely affect any future owner, who under the terms of the current lease, would have to pay for them.

In short, granting this permit is not in the best interests of this National Historic Landmark. Nor is it in the best interests of the American people.

Sincerely yours,
Vicki Webster





May 1, 2009
US Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch
Attn: J. Ruben Hernandez
3701 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214-2660

Dear Mr. Hernandez:

I would like to state my objection to your granting a permanent mooring for the steamboat Delta Queen at Chattanooga, Tennessee. I believe that such a mooring is likely to greatly impede her chance of returning to cruising service, and is therefore not in the best interests of the American People. The Delta Queen is a national treasure; the last historic overnight steamboat still operational on the waterways of the United States. Her preservation as an operating vessel has tremendous value beyond the business interests of her present operating company. During her long but recently-halted cruising life, she not only gave many passengers a pleasurable vacation, but also brought highly valuable tourist business and nostalgic excitement to the many river towns along the way.

My father, Richard C. Simonton, acquired a majority interest in the Delta Queen in the late 1950s, and turned the company from near-bankruptcy into a profitable enterprise. He was a good businessman, but he also had a keen appreciation of what the vessel represented as a symbol of our cultural heritage. He had to give up his investment a little over a decade later due to health reasons, but he left me instilled with a lasting love of the boat and of the great American legacy of steamboating. There is something indescribably wonderful about a working, moving paddlewheel steamboat, and The Delta Queen, as the last of her kind, is worthy of our greatest efforts to keep her operating. There are many dead steam vessels preserved here and there, and, while this is better than their total loss, it is somewhat sad to see their cold boilers and lifeless engine rooms and realize that they will never run again. I understand that the owners are hopeful of returning the Delta Queen to passenger-carrying service as soon as they can overcome various legal hurdles, and I heartily encourage their efforts.

Meanwhile, as you know, a lessee wants to operate the boat as a hotel or other moored business. This raises the real fear that a permanent mooring permit might allow the boat to become so entrenched in dockside connections and modifications for stationary service that it would be difficult or impossible to return her to her intended purpose. 2. I am not opposed to the Delta Queen's being used temporarily as a stationary attraction if she is preserved intact in operating condition, but I feel that the lessee should be able to accomplish this with just a temporary mooring. If I may presume that the broad mission of the Corps of Engineers is to work for the best interests of the American People, then your encouragement and support of the Delta Queen as an operating cruising vessel falls well within that definition. The Delta Queen has immensely greater value to America, both culturally and economically, as a traveling enterprise than as a stationary one. I respectfully and strongly urge you to consider these points in your decision-making on the mooring issue.

Thank you very much,
Robert Simonton





April 24, 2009

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Mr. J. Ruben Hernandez
3701 Bell Rd.
Nashville, TN 37214-2660

Dear Mr. Hernandez,

In 1970, the Delta Queen Steamboat was honored on the National Register of Historic Places because of its importance as an operating vessel. Again, in 1989, when the Delta Queen was designated a National Historic Landmark, it was because of its significance as an operating steam vessel.

In your public notice requesting comments, you asked whether mooring this Historic Landmark would affect the economics, aesthetics, cultural values, recreation, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

Economic value - Over the last half-century, the Delta Queen has provided economic stimulus and tourism to river cities in seventeen of the United States. Permanently mooring the boat would destroy its economic value to hundreds of river towns.

Aesthetics - The main aesthetic value of the Delta Queen Steamboat is that it has perfect mechanical integrity. If the boat is to be moored for any amount of time, there should be provisions for upkeep of the mechanical parts of the boat, which requires a team of engineers, watchmen, firemen, and deck hands. At this time, the Chattanooga operation does not have any plans for maintaining the aesthetic value of the boat.

Cultural values - The Delta Queen is a symbol of our cultural values, and the last remaining link to a cultural history of steamboating that goes back to the roots of our country. The Delta Queen has traveled the Western Rivers for more than fifty years, stopping in small towns in seventeen of the United States, bringing travelers to see these small towns, and this has kept our country's cultural history of steamboating alive for all Americans.

Recreation - Keeping the Delta Queen permanently moored in Chattanooga deprives sixteen other states from the hope of any future visits from the boat. Many cities plan festivals, town picnics, and other events around the boat's arrival. Mooring the boat in Chattanooga will destroy this form of recreation in every state except Tennessee.

Needs and welfare of the people - Depriving sixteen states of the commerce and potential economic stimulus that the Delta Queen represents, especially in these difficult times, is simply unfair. The Delta Queen can still carry passengers overnight up to a certain limit. Permanently mooring the Delta Queen does no good for anybody, including Chattanooga, because they will go down in history as the city that erased the significance of this National Historic Landmark.

My father, Bill Muster, helped to save the boat in 1966, 1968, 1970, and throughout the 1970s. If my father was alive today, he would fight to save the boat and keep it running.

The Delta Queen is in perfect operating condition, and there is a plan to win the Congressional exemption. Mooring the boat now would be premature and would cause unnecessary economic, aesthetic, cultural, and recreational harm to all Americans, and it would hurt the needs and general welfare of thousands of people in small river towns.

Sincerely,
Nori J. Muster

Encl. wording of historic designations awarded in 1970 and 1989

The Delta Queen as a National Historic Landmark

In 1970 the Delta Queen was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a joint designation by the Department of the Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is an excerpt from the Trust's announcement of the listing.

The Delta Queen is the last survivor of a once thriving fleet of steam paddleboats plying the inland waters of the United States, and deserves to, indeed, must survive as a living reminder of an important era of America history. . . . The loss of the Delta Queen as an operating vessel carrying overnight passengers on the Mississippi and its tributaries would be an irreplaceable one and would remove the last remaining link with the steam-boating tradition of nineteenth and early twentieth century America.


In 1989, the Delta Queen was designated a National Historic Landmark. This is the link to the study performed by the National Park Service in preparation for that designation. http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/nhl/delta.htm

Statement of Significance

The sternwheel river steamboat Delta Queen, an operating vessel on the Western Rivers, is one of only two sternwheel river passenger boats operating under steam and is the sole remaining Western Rivers overnight passenger boat.[1] Such boats were the epitome of service on the rivers they served and were well known among river people. Delta Queen was built to operate on the Sacramento River in California. In later years she served as a yard ferryboat for the U.S. Navy in the Second World War, and made a hazardous voyage under tow from California, through the Panama Canal, to the Mississippi where she was reconditioned for work on the Western Rivers system. Today Delta Queen is the best known riverboat on the Western Rivers. She carries passengers on nearly the entire Western Rivers system and serves as a reminder of the time when steamboats carried the people and supplies that opened the West.





----- Original Message -----

From: Sydney Slome
To: vjw [at] olypen.com
Cc: harry
Sent: Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:34 AM
Subject: Saving the Delta Queen

Ms. Webster,

I question your approach to saving the Delta Queen, but are giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Harry and I are committed to the Delta Queen and assure you that she will be maintained to the highest standards. There will not be any structural modifications under our care. Any and all changes that are required for the mooring have been designed with the thought of an easy reverse should the vessel be called back out to service. We have no problem with this committment as evidenced by agreeing to the same requirements in our lease with Ambassadors.

We have posted the following response to your letter on steamboats.org. Will you please consider revising your letter and any persons you sent it to?

Regards,
Sydney Slome

A RESPONSE FROM DELTA QUEEN HOTEL
REGARDING THE OPPOSITION OF "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN"
From Sydney Slome and Harry Phillips, partners in efforts to open the Delta Queen as a hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

We sincerely believe opening the Delta Queen to the public in Chattanooga is the best opportunity to preserve and share this National Historic Landmark with the public. All steamboat fans wish the Delta Queen could continue to cruise. But in the current reality, Congressional legislation restricts the boat from cruising and its current owner has no plans to operate it as a cruise vessel. Until those factors change, we feel proud to serve as the caretakers of this national treasure.

We have not received any communication from Vicki Webster or any other members of the Save The Delta Queen campaign. We wish we could have had an opportunity to discuss any concerns before they issued a press release protesting the opening of the Delta Queen as a hotel in Chattanooga.

We respect Ms. Webster's passion and desire to see the boat return to cruising, but her press release is filled with several misunderstandings that we felt compelled to clarify these details. Following are several quotes from her press release followed by some clarification.

FROM THE "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN" RELEASE:
"The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority have issued a public notice requesting comments on a permit to permanently moor the Delta Queen at Coolidge Park in Chattanooga."
CLARIFICATION:
The requested permit is not to "permanently moor the Delta Queen" but more accurately to transfer the Delta Queen's operating permit to a "permanently moored vessel" status. The real difference here is that by agreement with the boat's owners, the Delta Queen will still be maintained in operating condition and able to return to cruising service at any time. The permit status change simply allows for the completion of ramps, docks, utility connections, etc. and transfers some of the regulatory governance to local entities such as the Chattanooga Health Department, Fire Marshall, etc.

FROM THE "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN" RELEASE:
"If this permit is granted the Delta Queen will be converted into a floating hotel and will never sail our rivers again."
CLARIFICATION:
The statement above is not accurate. By agreement with the boat's owners, the Delta Queen will still be maintained in operating condition and able to return to cruising service at any time.

FROM THE "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN" RELEASE:
"There is a group that wants to buy the boat and put her back in full operation as the only traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on our inland waterways."
CLARIFICATION:
The boat's owners announced the Delta Queen was for sale since on April 29, 2008. In the past year, no sale has been finalized. The boat may certainly be sold at any time. If so, the Delta Queen Hotel entity has provisions in their contract to cover their startup expenses and they would have 90 days to bring their operation to resolution and relinquish the boat to the new owners.

FROM THE "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN" RELEASE:
"That status was the sole reason she was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989."
CLARIFICATION:
While the Delta Queen's eight decades of cruising has always made her very special, the National Park Service's 1989 National Historic Landmark Study includes pages and pages of elements of note about the Delta Queen including her remarkable construction, design, machinery, and her extraordinary career - including service to the U.S. Navy during World War II.

FROM THE "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN" RELEASE:
"Please write to the Corps of Engineers at the address below and urge them to hold a public hearing on this matter. And explain in your own words why it is vital to you and your community that the Delta Queen be allowed to steam along America's inland waterways as she has done proudly and safely for more than 80 years."
CLARIFICATION:
The Corp of Engineers has no authority to grant the Delta Queen permission to cruise. This is a matter that must be resolve by the United States Congress. The permit currently under consideration would simply allow the Delta Queen to be docked in Chattanooga, open to the public and preserved. The Delta Queen Hotel operators and many steamboat supporters have expressed gratitude for this opportunity rather than see the boat locked up, forgotten, and fall to ruin.

FROM THE "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN" RELEASE:
"If the Delta Queen is permanently moored, her steam engines will never run again. Her paddlewheel will never turn. Her whistle will never blow. Her calliope will never play."
CLARIFICATION:
The statement above is not accurate. By agreement with the boat's owners, the Delta Queen will still be maintained in operating condition and able to return to cruising service at any time. Also, steam will be generated onboard enabling guests and visitors to enjoy the sound of the whistle and calliope daily.

FROM THE "SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN" RELEASE:
"In order to achieve even marginal success with their hotel venture beyond the initial novelty stage, it is virtually certain that the Queen's operators will need to make structural changes that at best will destroy the boat's historic integrity and at worst make it impossible for a future owner to put her back in operation."
CLARIFICATION:
The statement above is not accurate. By agreement with the boat's owners, there will be no structural changes to the Delta Queen. She will maintained in her current condition and able to return to cruising service at any time.

We encourage you to share your feelings in support of preserving and keeping the Delta Queen open to the public by sending your letters to by May 4, 2009 to:

US Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Attn: J. Ruben Hernandez
3701 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214-2660





On Apr 27, 2009, at 10:41 AM, Vicki Webster wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicki Webster
To: Sydney Slome
Cc: harry
Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 1:35 PM
Subject: Re: Saving the Delta Queen

Mr. Slome,

I have received your email, and I stand by every word I said in my press release and my message to Delta Queen supporters. I remain firmly opposed to the Corps permit and nothing in your message or your website posting changes my position. If anything, it crystallizes my belief that the Corps Permit and structures you propose to build are not in the best interests of the vessel. Nor is permanently mooring the Delta Queen in the best interests of the American public, which would suffer the loss of an irreplaceable treasure and, for communities in 17 states - including many towns in Tennessee - a valuable source of revenue.

Speaking of "permanently mooring," in the Public Notice issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority, the first two lines read "SUBJECT: Proposed Permanent Moorage of Historic Delta Queen Steamboat at Mile 464.1, Right Bank, Tennessee River." Your claim that there is a difference between permanently mooring the Delta Queen and transferring her operating permit to a "permanently moored vessel" status reminds me very much of remarks made by a certain former President who told us, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

I know that your "permanently moored vessel" permit would allow you to make changes to the boat. That's what concerns me. You repeatedly state what your agreement with Ambassadors allows and does not allow you to do. You claim that this agreement protects the Delta Queen. Why don't you post that agreement on www.steamboats.com and www.steamboats.org so we can all see if it does, indeed, offer the guarantees and protections you claim it does?

And yes, I am well aware that the Corps of Engineers does not have the power to grant the Delta Queen permission to cruise. We are not asking them to do that. We are simply asking them to deny you or anyone else permission to make changes that would prohibit her from cruising in the future or would detract in any way from her historic integrity.

Speaking of historic integrity, when the Queen's designation as a National Historic Landmark was requested and granted in 1989, it was not for an "attraction vessel" or a hotel. It was for the last genuine steamboat carrying overnight passengers on our inland waterways. You are right: The investigative study undertaken by the National Park Service does contain page after page of detail about the boat's structure and history. (I have a copy.) But the key paragraph reads as follows:

Statement of Significance
The sternwheel river steamboat Delta Queen, an operating vessel on the Western Rivers, is one of only two sternwheel river passenger boats operating under steam and is the sole remaining Western Rivers overnight passenger boat.[1] Such boats were the epitome of service on the rivers they served and were well known among river people. Delta Queen was built to operate on the Sacramento River in California. In later years she served as a yard ferryboat for the U.S. Navy in the Second World War, and made a hazardous voyage under tow from California, through the Panama Canal, to the Mississippi where she was reconditioned for work on the Western Rivers system. Today Delta Queen is the best known riverboat on the Western Rivers. She carries passengers on nearly the entire Western Rivers system and serves as a reminder of the time when steamboats carried the people and supplies that opened the West.

This statement makes it crystal clear that the boat's active, passenger-carrying status was the reason she was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Earlier, in 1970, the Delta Queen was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, a joint designation by the Department of the Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is an excerpt from the Trust's announcement of the listing:

The Delta Queen is the last survivor of a once thriving fleet of steam paddleboats plying the inland waters of the United States, and deserves to, indeed, must survive as a living reminder of an important era of America history. . . . The loss of the Delta Queen as an operating vessel carrying overnight passengers on the Mississippi and its tributaries would be an irreplaceable one and would remove the last remaining link with the steam-boating tradition of nineteenth and early twentieth century America.

Because your permit application involves a federally funded agency, and because the Delta Queen is a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, protection from negative impacts to her historic integrity is provided for by the Historic Preservation Act of 1966 in the provisions of Section 106 Review. Those provisions include the right to a public hearing.

The Save the Delta Queen Campaign has requested that the Section 106 Review Process be initiated in the form of public hearings and continued public comment, with the Save the Delta Queen Campaign, the Secretary of the Interior, river communities, tourism groups, and historic preservation interests, including State Historic Preservation Offices, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, participating in discussions and signing any Memorandum of Agreement regarding this permit request.

Regards,
Vicki Webster
335 W. Fifth Street #401
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 381-3571
vjw [at] olypen.com





Letter from Rod Scott, President of the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance, Mount Pleasant, Iowa

US Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Attn: J. Ruben Hernandez
3701 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214-2660

Dear Ruben,

The Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance is writing this letter to express our concern regarding the proposed permanent docking of the Delta Queen at Chattanooga. This riverboat should be on our rivers providing an economic boost to each of the communities who host her at mooring. Iowa river communities have benefited many times from her visits.

This proposal to permanently put her out of operation as the last remaining steam powered paddle wheeler in our nation is a bad idea. We support her continued operation as a riverboat that provides an experience that no other operating vessel in America can. This proposal will endanger the mechanical areas of the craft by not maintaining them to a standard of operational capability. The required changes to the above deck structures to accommodate elevators and permanent mooring could jeopardize her listing as a National Historic Landmark, our nation's highest ranking of historic significance. A river boat is supposed to cruise the rivers not become a hotel.

We will continue to express our lack of support for this ill conceived plan beyond this letter to you by providing a copy to our Iowa Congressional Delegation and ask them to support our position.

Rod Scott
President
Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance
rod.scott [at] mchsi.com
641.373.1171





Letter from Donald E. Clare, Jr., President, Rabbit Hash Historical Society, Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Attn: J. Ruben Hernandez
3701 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214-2660

Dear Mr. Hernandez:

Thank you for this opportunity to make comment concerning the application to the ACOE for a permit for permanent mooring for the Delta Queen along the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Since this application involves a federally funded agency, and since the Delta Queen is a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register for Historic Places, then protection from negative impacts to her historic integrity is provided for by the Historic Preservation Act of 1966 in the provisions of Section 106 Review, including the right of a public hearing.

The Delta Queen is the last extant example of a steam powered, sternwheeled, overnight passenger packet boat on this nation's Inland Water System. She is an iconic national historic and cultural resource of these United States of America, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior and the National Parks Service. She is just as much a national treasure as the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, or Monticello.

The fact that an original steamboat's boilers are allowed to die out and cool, and the engine allowed to become idle, essentially changes the historic integrity of the vessel. Further alterations involved in retrofitting a 'living', steam powered passenger sternwheeler to land-based operational systems such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, septic and sewage, telecommunication, food preparation, safety systems, comfort amenities, and the like will all translate into permanent negative inappropriate changes, alterations, additions, and subtractions to the boats original integrity, fabric, materials, form, function and purpose.

As a National Historic Landmark, the Delta Queen has already been determined by our Congress, through the National Trust for Historic Preservation under the aegis of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior to have significant enough historic and cultural value and integrity to have been awarded that designation. Therefore, she is a rare and fragile historic cultural resource "of the people", which makes this a public cultural quality-of-life issue.

The permanent mooring of the Delta Queen will adversely damage and cause irreparable interior and exterior changes in the process of converting her from a steamboat into a hotel. These changes and the permanent mooring in one location will adversely affect the economic impact of recreation and tourism dollars that hundreds of small and large river communities, towns and cities realize from her function as an overnight passenger vessel on our inland rivers, many of which depend solely upon her continued operation. Sacrificing these economic benefits to many locations in favor of just Chattanooga only is not in the public's best interest, aside from being aesthetically repulsive and degrading.

The life of the Delta Queen depends upon her ability to operate under her own power as a fluid reminder of our country's past and a living remnant of our country's early transportation and settlement culture. The changes to the Delta Queen that will follow the approval of this requested permit will be her death knell. Her bell needs only to peal for all of the people along our nation's vast inland rivers. She belongs to the Public. She is currently being held hostage. Our country does not tolerate nor deal with hostage demands.

I am respectfully requesting that the Section 106 Review Process be initiated in the form of public hearings, continued public comment, and participation of river communities across this country, tourism groups, historic preservation interests, State Historic Preservation Officers, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, the Secretary of the Interior, The Save the Delta Queen Campaign, and other requesting parties, like myself, at the table for the discussions and MOA regarding this issue and notice.

Thank you.

Very respectfully submitted,
Donald E. Clare, Jr.
President
Rabbit Hash Historical Society
11646 Lower River Road
Rabbit Hash, Kentucky 41091
(859) 586-6431
criverats [at] insightbb.com





On Aug 13, 2009, at 2:30 PM, jayel2m@aol.com wrote:

Someone has fabricated a lot of stories about the boat being tied up in Chattanooga.

First of all, her boilers are working all the time. Not both, but one builds and keeps around 75 pounds of steam at all times. There is shore power hooked up, but she is getting the necessary TLC she deserves. As I told you before, She could be up and running within four hours. It would be a matter of unhooking electrical and plumbing, and releasing the metal cable that holds her to the shore.

This sounds like the stories of people who have not been around, and seen for themselves what is happening, but instead are replying on here say. I go by the boat at least once a week, go aboard and look around. Sometimes I am there two times a week. There are indeed repairs which need to be made, but they are the result of negligence from Ambassadors International and their Maintenance and Repair Crew, and Not Mr. Phillips.

When making statements, we need to be sure we know what we are talking about, and the information is either first hand or came from a reliable and responsible person, not from someone 500 miles away who hasn't been on the boat.

Thanks,
John Lewis





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