*LEE's wheels/Reporters*
Steamboating colleagues,
Great continuing history and comments from Jim Reising and Bob Reynolds above. I've read articles by then river reporters that where quite lengthy, detailed, employing river terms and vocabulary known to the trade and even those general readers. In big and small river cities and towns steamboat building, operation, river business was big news--and important. Somebody once wrote/spoke, "Anybody living within twenty miles on either side of a navigable stream floating a steamboat was directly and indirectly influenced by it more than then knew." I recall our own late Alan Bates mentioning to me about "long chats...questions" Alan had with Jim Howard. A number of steamboats, ocean ships go through their "breaking in period" to iron out the glitches, make improvement, tinker and adjust here and there. Many a classic ocean liner went back in the yards for adjustments to or totally new propellers, quell down hull vibrations, adjust boilers for fuel consumption, add or take out ballast and ballast tanks etc.

Jim, I remember reading/seeing a letter or entry at Howards where a cotton packet owner wrote a letter to the company time of the shakedown period complaining to the effect that "the wood decking on the main deck laid wrong and has been subject to splitting...not employed the right wood," or something along those lines. Did you ever see or hear of this at Howards? The issue of "18 inches" sounds familiar and no doubt happened more than we know. Just look at the big mess, issue with the paddlewheel on the then new MISSISSIPPI QUEEN. Seemed we never heard the end of that.

I do know that a number of river experts at the time mentioned that the 'racer LEE' here had her engines worn out at the end of her life. They were shifted over the next 'new' LEE with dire consequences on the lower Mississippi when one engine failed causing serious damage, death to crew/roustabouts. I did post that incident here on .org some years ago but doubt it can be found now.

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