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Keith Norrington 07-29-2009 09:17 AM

Summer Sojourn on the Str. GOLDEN EAGLE
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As another summer rapidly races toward fall and school bells will soon be ringing, here are some images from long ago steamboating sojourns aboard the Eagle Packet Company sternwheeler GOLDEN EAGLE. Similar in size to the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE, the boat was built by the Howard Shipyard as the cotton packet WM. GARIG in 1904 and later altered for the tourist trade. She wasn't a floating palace by any stretch of the imagination, with shower facilities "down the hall", a pitcher and basin in each stateroom and no such thing as air conditioning except for God's free air! But I would love to go back in time and ride on her!

The "GOLDIE" had a unique personality and a kindly, beloved master (Capt. W.H. "Buck Leyhe) that drew many to her decks to enjoy as many cruises as they could possibly afford and squeeze into a summer. Among those ardent steamboat fans were Ruth Ferris, Jim Swift, Rudy Gerber, Mabel Bartenhagen, Dick Lemen and other steamboat buffs and buffettes who reveled in riverboating and were aboard the GOLDEN EAGLE at every opportunity until the boat sank on May 17, 1947. Through the efforts of Ruth Ferris, her pilothouse was salvaged by the Army Corps of Engineers, sold for the sum of $257 and displayed for many years on the grounds of the Community School in St. Louis and later as the crown jewel centerpiece of the Missouri Historical Society's River Room. Sad to say, it is now dismantled and in storage.

(1) GOLDEN EAGLE at Shiloh Battlefield.
(2) At a Tennessee River Landing.
(3) Bow View

Keith Norrington 07-29-2009 09:19 AM

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MORE photos from aboard the Str. GOLDEN EAGLE...

(1) Engine Room
(2) Band
(3) Purser's Office

Keith Norrington 07-29-2009 09:24 AM

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Str. GOLDEN EAGLE "cruise" continued...

(1) Maid on Texas deck.
(2) GOLDIE landed at night.
(3) Capt. Buck Leyhe, beloved master of the GOLDEN EAGLE, with the Streckfus Str. CAPITOL in the background at New Orleans.

Keith Norrington 07-29-2009 09:45 AM

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Str. GOLDEN EAGLE cruise continued...

(1) Miss Ruth Ferris on deck.
(2) Roof and Pilothouse. Can't you just hear the "GOLDIE" chuffing along?
(3) Steaming around a bend on the Tennessee River.

Frank X. Prudent 07-29-2009 10:18 AM

What great photos! May I suggest though, that the photo of the "GOLDIE" landed at Pittsburg Landing is printed backwards, unless she tied up facing down river. My guess is that the Shiloh Battlefield sign is actually for the benefit of those arriving by river and not those whom have already spent enough time wondering through the park to get down to the river. As is, the sign would read backwards to anyone walkin' up the hill.

Keith Norrington 07-29-2009 10:50 AM

Could well be reversed, although downriver landings were not unheard of. Even in recent years, the DQ tied up here at Louisvlle with her head downstream more often than not.

Judy Patsch 07-29-2009 12:08 PM

Whose cars are on the bow? Also, did Capt. Buck often wear a boutonniere sp?, heck - flower, or was there a special occasion?

Judy Patsch 07-29-2009 12:20 PM

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1) looks like high water in St. Louis. What is that structure on the Texas? It's not in the next picture. Also, which pix is older?
2) At the Eagle Packet wharfboat. Looks like supplies are arriving. Looks like PIASA on bow of downstream boat. What tugboat is that?

Keith Norrington 07-29-2009 01:29 PM

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The two structures on the hurricane deck were cabins. One of them was for Capt. Buck and the other was shared by two chambermaids. The high water photo at the St. Louis levee was taken in 1945 by Edwin and Louise Rosskam, authors of [I]Towboat River[/I]. The GOLDIE didn't run the seasons of 1944-1945 due to her boilers being condemned by the inspectors and no chance for replacement due to World War II. The tug aft of the wharfboat is the COLORADO, built in 1891 as the ARCHIE PARKER and also owned by the Eagle Packet Company, similar to the SUSIE HAZARD, which operated into the 1950's.

Here's an additional photo from that time period of idleness. Note, also, that her stacks were removed.

Keith Norrington 07-29-2009 02:33 PM

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Str. GOLDEN EAGLE cruise...

(1) Hurricane Deck - Port Side
(2) Upper Decks - Starboard Side
(3) On Tennessee River with Lookout Mountain in the distance.

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