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Buck Doft 06-18-2014 12:57 AM

1854 Smokestack
Hi All,

On an 1854 California Gold Rush era riverboat (Plumas), under 60 tons, how thick or what gauge might the smoke stack be? This smoke stack was visible , with its scroll work and then was washed away around 1970. The distance that it moved may be dependent on its weight, as it is in a densely wooded area.

Many Thanks, Davef

R. Dale Flick 06-19-2014 09:33 AM

*1854 Smokestack metal factors*
Hi, Buck & Steamboating colleagues:
Good question RE: " thick or what gauge might the smokestack be [PLUMAS]" and I don't know the answer. Seems this question/discussion cropped up here some years ago with input by our late Alan Bates and others. Also possible mention in an older issue of the S&D REFLECTOR under the hand of Capt. Fred Way. The metal specs certainly wouldn't have been 'tin' or heavy iron pipe we generally think of. Then there would possibly have been another double casing with insulation going down through the decks to the boilers. The stacks on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE come to my mind now. Stack weight was a consideration even then with the possibility of securing guy wires etc.

There are those here who would possibly know or direct you to the sources: Kenny Howe, Jim Reising, Keith Norrington, Capt. Bill Judd, Tom Schiffer [AKA Cap'n Walnut].

Arrived here at the lake house on mighty Lake Michigan last weekend and just getting all opened, settled in. At times like living on the northern frontier with phone/internet accounts to get turned on. No sighting of black bear around here yet but they are in the area. Regards to all.

R. Dale Flick
On the north shores of mighty Lake Michigan

Buck Doft 06-20-2014 01:22 AM

In 1854, the ship was "snagged" and sought to save itself by paddling up an inlet.

In 1970, at the site of the Plumas, a second person has come forward with an eye wittiness sighting.

This fellow, in high water ,was piloting his fishing boat up this inlet and in the trees and jungle,of the Upper Sacramento, and came across a smoke stack with scroll work sticking up in the channel. He brought his boat up against the stack and it was lose and wobbly. He feared it would fall on his boat and retreated. He felt, from his brief encounter it was quite heavy.

This is a very a congested area with vegetation and if this stack was just sheet metal , it might be well past the Golden Gate Bridge by now. But if it is of a substantial gauge and weight, it might be still in the channel somewhere.
I am wondering if this smoke stack might just be nearby further down in the inlet or on its way to Hawaii? Any thoughts??

Buck Doft 06-20-2014 01:32 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is the 1854 inlet. I forgot to add the map in the last post.

Buck Doft 06-21-2014 12:33 AM

Come on guys, go measure a riverboat smoke stack!

R. Dale Flick 06-21-2014 10:31 AM

*Stack measure/rust/salvage*
Morning, Buck & S&D colleagues:
Great information about the PLUMUS history and wreck. Then I had a sudden memory jolt. Wasn't this wreck, history given in a presentation for SSHSA's 'ShiPosium' I attended two years ago on the retired nuclear ship N/S/ SAVANNAH in Baltimore with history, PowerPoint?

Again, metal specifications for steamboat stacks in that era differed with what yard or concern constructed the vessel. Even stacks/funnels on ocean ships subject to high temps, heating/cooling, age, weather with rusting and weakening. Old photos showing steamboats with freshly painted black stacks glistening didn't last long. I'd suspect that those stacks could have either rusted away long ago. What facts are known about the wrecked boat being "salvaged" by locals with, no doubt, anything of value/use being hauled away? This one intriguing question requiring steamboat forensics. All of my papers, records, books resting quietly back in Cincinnati with me up here some 600 miles north.

R. Dale Flick
Shores of northern mighty Lake Michigan

ed frazier 06-21-2014 09:22 PM

I remember seeing a picture of the Delta Kings stack being used as a ssilo in the Sacramento area. If it is still there one could measure it. Being built in the 20's and being from the same area might be very similar. Worth a look.

Buck Doft 06-22-2014 10:37 PM

I will try to track down the silo.

Buck Doft 06-22-2014 10:47 PM

Hi Dale,

The ""Plumas" smoke stack was seen in 1970. The site is on State Parks land and the Parks people did not search their property very well when the acquired the parcel in 1930. The land is very difficult to get into and it would be unlikely it was salvaged. The inlet that the "Plumas" came up to save itself, has been filled with silt about 100 yards down stream. We are wondering if the stack was the reason for this build up. If the stack was thin material it would have washed much further away.

Another riverboat, the "California'" also had its stack jutting out of the silt, in 1970 and it is located next to a dirt road. The "California" stack most likely carried off.

David Dewey 06-23-2014 03:18 AM

Buck, it's on the north end of Isleton, as you are coming into town, about a half-block off the highway on the levee. Guy won't let go of it, as I understand (when they were restoring the DK, they tried to buy it).

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