View Single Post
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 03-22-2016, 05:33 AM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573

*Air-conditioning/Ice water/Sleep on deck*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
Thanks to Judy and Mike for their memories of the 'old days' tripping the DQ in the heat of summer. Again, no fault of the DQ or the company as that's how it was then with nearly all taking it in stride. Dig back in those old logs, diaries, letters on what it was like back in the 'wonderful, romantic' old steamboat days tripping in summer and winter.
A cold weather trip on the DQ remembered by many when they first stepped aboard and inside feeling the steam heat and not air-conditioning.

Lack of private baths, walking down the deck or through the cabin with a robe or pants/shirt pulled on never bothered me. The several water fountains on the deck for pitchers in rooms were the norm as the water in sinks not potable. The water fountains were, if I remember, stainless steel. Social hostesses Marty Stouder and Peg Baker at the start of each trip would clearly remind, inform passengers about the water in a PA announcement and where/how they could get it. Marty Stouder used to joke in her kind way, "And in no time you all will feel like the story in the Bible of Rebecca at the well." A few clever wags would say, "Or baptism in the River Jordan."

Back in the engineroom, starboard side, was the sanitary water testing station. Several times a day Cal Benefel, or somebody else, would take samples of water to do a test using chemicals, dye and litmus paper in vials and flasks. This entered in a special log book. If people think it hot in their cabins then think of the cookhouse crew down below standing over those big ranges cooking, baking. After work they would come up and out on the lower bow deck to rest and cool off. The DQ air-conditioning system had to be totally removed with new installed in 1948. The old system in California used a kind of water spray, forced air. Here they converted to the conventional compression system with coolant I imagine was freon--and even freon now on the no no list by public health for environmental reasons. A few surviving old photos show the DQ/DK in California days docked at Sacramento in the summer with those huge white canvas awnings stretched with lanyard into brass eyelets over the top sundeck in an attempt to keep some semblance of cool in those rooms. Before steaming out the big awnings taken down, rolled and stored until the next trip up to Sacramento.

Some of us, as mentioned on this web, recall the days when there were white porcelain chamber pots under beds in rooms without toilet facilities. The maids, when cleaning rooms, would check and then take the offending recepticles down to dump in the river, wash and return. A lot of this came as a shock to those passengers experienced in 1st Class aboard ocean liners. One lady and man aboard the DQ for the first time [They arrived with a steamer trunk no less] after a recent crossing on the QUEEN MARY [old one] threatened to leave the boat before she even steamed out. Passengers invited them for a drink, talk and in no time they changed their minds, stayed for the trip, returned a number of times loving it. Entertainment was rudimentary but good, clean fun. Now-and-then, one or more passengers would lend their talents being classically trained vocally, instruments, piano that wowed the passengers. Even a political or military notable asked to speak to the passengers after dinner or in the day between meals.

And, as was Capt. Tom Greene's guiding credo, "Hot foods hot. Cold foods cold." Again, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati
Reply With Quote