Wheeling, WV model builder John Bowman, has recently published his second book entitled "A Pictorial History of Wheeling and Ohio River Steamboats." This book is an excellent reference and guide for those of us who love our steamboats. With over 350 pages full of history, detail and pictures, this book is excellent.
On the back of the book it reads:
This book is the first authoritative history written that documents the history of steamboats in pictures with a detailed written history of each boat. The book contains over 400 pictures of steamboats, related river scenes and over one hundred-fifty river related topics of interest.
Packet boats hauled people and cargo, in 1844 Wheeling had one hundred thirty-four flourmills that shipped two hundred eighty thousand barrels of flour to New Orleans annually. Wheeling nail factories shipped six-thousand kegs of nails daily by steamboat.
River navigation was often halted above Wheeling in the fall. The lowest stage of water ever recorded (seven inches) at Wheeling was in October of 1908 and some winters the Ohio River would freeze over for months.
John Bowman's book can purchased for $29.95. Currently it is available at his antique shop next to Centre Market in Wheeling, WV. To purchase it online, email him at GJbowman@comcast.net
or write to him at:
2220 Market Street
Wheeling, WV 26003
Since 2006, John Bowman has built more than fifteen models entirely from scratch. Some are on display at his residence on Market Street in Wheeling, others can be seen at the Pt. Pleasant River Museum where five of his models, including his largest of the "Homer Smith." These extraordinarily detailed replicas are pain stakingly built at his home with an eye for every detail imaginable. He spares no detail to ensure accuracy on each of his models, even making sure the flags flying over his models contain the correct number of stars on the US flag for that time period for which the steamboat operated. Bowman is a foremost historian on steamboats and the Civil War. He was nominated as a 2009 West Virginia History Hero by the Wheeling Area Historical Society.
In 2008, he published his fiirst book, "Wheeling: The Birthplace of the American Steamboat." It too is also available at his antique shop.