Huckleberry Finn and his pal, Tom's,
raft grabbed me at an early age as being a neat idea. At the Lake of the Ozarks
in Missouri, one of my cousins and I laboriously assembled a raft of old lumber.
Well, it floated nicely, until one of us attempted to board the thing. It sank.
Still, it was a neat idea.
Then, along came the gallant Captain portrayed
by Darin McGavin in the television series, "Riverboat",
and I was hooked! Could there ever be a better way to be on the water? A more
romantic way to live? Never!
Oh, would that I could somehow acquire
one of those wonderful big boats, live aboard her and cruise the waterways of
the country! Alas, it was not to be, and probably for the best.
gone on and the those proud boats have all but dissapeared from our great nation's
waterways. Now, all I can do is dream about them and collect every little thing
I can to commemorate them, to celebrate their influence on the building of the
United States, their enormous roll in shaping what this country has become, and
to mourn their demise.
This web site is devoted, primarilly, to the midwestern
paddlewheelers, the riverboats of the Mississippi and Missouri and Ohio Rivers.
There are other steamboats listed in these pages, those which plied their trade
on rivers in the east, in the far west, Alaska and the Great Lakes, for they too
had a lot to do with our great country's history, but it is the old flat-bottomed
queens of the river which are my passion.
This site will always be in the
making. As I come upon another boat or find more information on ones already listed,
I will add that information to the list.
Some of the information listed
is hearsay. A lot comes from books such as "Life on the Mississippi". As time
goes on I will footnote all of the info here, but until then a question mark "?"
will follow any suspect data.
Input from visitors is most welcome, corrections,
additions and true riverboat tales. Suggestions, too, are welcome. However, like
most, I have another life to which I must attend. I will work on this whenever
Lyrics from the song "Mark
Twain" By The Kingston Trio on the Capitol Records Album"The Kingston Trio
# 16" Now in a collection from Amazon.com
Grandad used to tell me, "Boy, when I was just your age, I was a river
pilot On the Showboat called THE STAGE. I'd hobnob with the Southern belles An'
every roust-a-bout. I'd listen to the paddlewheels And hear the leadsman
shout . . .
(Chorus) Mark twain, it's
two fathoms deep below. Mark twain, heave the stage, start the show. Mark
twain, play them banjos as we go Down the Mississippi, 'roun' the Gulf of
Mexico. (End Chorus)
"There were gamblers,
crooks and fakers An' a minstrel man who danced A singin' gal, Simon L'Mour, Imported
straight from France." She was a floating palace, that showboat called
the STAGE And Grandad was the king of it When he was just my age.
The caliopy is quiet, now The
rudder's thick with rust. The main deck and the paddlewheel, Are covered
thick with dust. But Grandad's in his glory, Still standing on the bow.
A halo 'round his pilot's cap, And I can hear him now . . . Mark twain