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Dan Lewis 06-14-2011 07:28 PM

Mystery photo
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During my latest survey of the Murphy photo collection I came across a odd photo. It was labeled as being with the Sprague collection. However, the photo sleuths out there will clearly see it is not the Sprague's engine room. What caught my eye is the similarity these engines have with the Belle's. I contacted the library to tell them this was not the Sprague, and they acknowledged a mistake had been made. They said the donor was Dorwood Hogg, but they would have to dig for more information on the photo. In the meantime, would any of the photo sleuths out there like to take a stab at it?

Frank X. Prudent 06-14-2011 10:18 PM

Those sure do look like Reese engines to me, but what boat is anyone's guess. She had a riveted steel hull, but Reese was famous for its steel hull boats. The only other clues that I can come up with is that the boat probably stopped by Marietta once. I'm guessing that the pic was taken by S. Durwood Hoag of the Hotel LaFayette fame.

Although the engines look to be about the same as the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE's the ship up jack is different and it's counter-weight is on the wrong side of the foot box. The engineroom bells are not where they are now on the BELLE either. Also an important thing that rules out an early IDLEWILD photo is that she had an asphalt covered main deck, the boat in the photo does not.

Pete Baker 06-15-2011 09:10 AM


I'm not a photo sleuth by any means. I did find the photo interesting in that there are two other photos in the one you are trying to I.D. Perhaps clues to a real sleuth. In the center of the photo is another of a steamboat on an easel on the pallet. Above that is a portrait in a round frame. In a quick look it kind of looks like "Ronald McDonald" I realize that it isn't but perhaps a woman.

inactive user 02 06-15-2011 09:45 AM


I had at one time been saying this was the EVERGREEN or the CARY-BIRD based on the solid engine room bulkheads with the shutter like ventilation. Mostly because those boats were up on the Ohio and feasibly would have had Rees engines. The other hint I was taking from the picture was the very Jesse P Hughes-esque painting of a head on sternwheeler in the foreground at the throttle.

After looking up the aforementioned vessels in the Ways Directory, can't be either of them. However, I am still thinking Greene Line because of the painting.

Hopefully the things I have caught in the photo will lead others to help diagnose to whom the engines belong.


Keith Norrington 06-15-2011 12:13 PM

Hoag Collection
Much of S. Durward Hoag's vast photo collection is now housed at Marietta College. Perhaps there is another print of this image, which MIGHT be identified.

Dan Lewis 06-19-2011 05:53 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll try to look into more of the Hoag collection to see if any more info pops up.

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