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Gas towboat questions

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Old 02-15-2010, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 292
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Default Gas towboat questions

One of the unique abilities of this message board is to get historical questions answered quickly and by many, many respondents! (On a side note, another of its talents is to generate long conversations that go off-topic, return to the topic, and find another tangent, with plenty of interesting stories along the way!)

Today, the subject is gas towboats. In reference to the linked image, this is the gasboat KID. According to the UW-LAX steamboat photos website, she was built 1906 at Wheeling and was abandoned 1922 at Pittsburgh. She ran on the Muskingum.

Can someone fill in the story on the gasboats? How much of the towing industry did they claim? Were they a serious threat to the steam tows prior to widespread use of diesel-fueled props? And why would a towboat like the KID have fancy feather-topped stacks? Boy, she looks new in the picture! While we're at it, anyone want to chip in a brief history of the Hammitt Yard?

Sorry the image is so small with little detail. The original photo is from the UW-LAX website, but I can't link to it because the site is session-based instead of using persistent links. For those more interested, the image is referenced as LaCrosseSteamboat.steam12287.bib, currently at #1524 of 13566 (although this is certain to change soon, as the Special Collections department is constantly digitizing more of their steamboat photos).
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