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Dan Lewis 08-13-2017 12:09 PM

Mystery boat photo
I came across this on ebay, and I'm having trouble identifying it. What do you photo sleuths think? Is this a Corps boat? The photo was taken in the 1950s. Enjoy! [url=]1950s duplicate 35mm Photo slide paddlewheel steamboat ship | eBay[/url]

Bob Reynolds 08-13-2017 03:57 PM

Dan, it looks like a Yukon River boat to me...

Jon Tschiggfrie 08-13-2017 05:43 PM

Almost certainly this is the SS KLONDIKE. Compare these three photos:


Note in particular the black-tipped stack (also seen on the WHITE HORSE and CASCA) and the rounded corners of the bottom part of the splashboard.

R. Dale Flick 08-14-2017 09:17 AM

*'Mystery' steamboat slide*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues,
Jon Tschiggfrie beat me to the punch here and I DO agree with his identification of the boat as SS KLONDIKE. Thanks, Jon! Steamboat design/construction up there different with near totally enclosed lower deck areas along with the one stack. During those long, dark, cold Alaskan winters steamboats were always hauled out of the water on marine rail tracks to safety and to sleep the winter away. Some years back young vandals torched one or more of these vintage steamboats. The slide is somewhat interesting but, to me, not worth the asking bid. What do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Summer: From the northern shores of mighty Lake Michigan.

Dan Lewis 08-14-2017 10:39 AM

I'd have to agree with this most likely being the SS KLONDIKE. This has piqued my interest in learning more about these boats, since I've spent little time exploring the history of river boats in this part of the country--thank you!

R. Dale Flick 08-15-2017 10:29 AM

*Alaska steamboats/HOWARD & REES CO.*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues,
Dan, you're right being interested more in the Alaska steamboats. They also had direct links to steamboat builders down here on the Ohio River when HOWARD YARDS, Jeffersonville, Ind. and REES CO. in Pittsburgh contracted for engines, boilers in 'knock down' steamers boxed and shipped up there during the Alaska gold rush. Keith Norrington at the HOWARD MUSEUM could inform us more. The fine book 'Paddlewheels to Propellers' about the Howard family and their Alaska boats is fascinating. I also 'think' Jim Reising knows about the HOWARD boats up there from his time in the mansion and knowing Mrs. Loretta Howard. Our late Capt. Alan Bates also interviewed Jim Howard and wrote about this years back.

Again, design, construction of Alaska and Pacific Northwest, California river steamboats different than here being, many say, stronger built. Alaskan packet and passenger steamboats continued in operation far longer than on rivers down here due to lack of highways there for a long time. Now-and-then I click on 'Steamboats in Alaska' web sites to study. A number of steamboat captains, engineers etc. from down here did spend time in Alaska helping build, operate boats there during the gold rush. Old Jim Burns, designer/builder of the later DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN, headed to Alaska back then making a ton of money himself not panning for gold but setting up, assembling, repairing steamboat engines. Yet, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Summer: Northern shores of mighty Lake Michigan.

Bob Reynolds 08-15-2017 10:39 AM

All good observations, Dale. Yes, lack of highways and other transportation options were key to steamboats lasting longer in Alaska, but I would also opine that they were built stronger due to repair facilities, marine ways/drydocks being scarce, fewer and farther between. It is always interesting to me how every area does what they need to do as far as their own needs -- here in the "east" and Midwest, railroads took over fairly quickly, then roads. Harsh weather conditions in Alaska of course dictated that boats be built stronger, more enclosed, and they also weren't hauling livestock, big cargoes of cotton, etc. "Necessity is the mother of invention" certainly holds true here.

Judy Patsch 08-16-2017 10:00 PM

Kahlke Boatyard boats in Alaska too
The Kahlke Brothers Boatyard in Rock Island built a couple of boats here, knocked them down and rebuilt them in Alaska. One was named the ROCK ISLAND. I can't remember details and the info is upstairs. I'd have to climb over 2 suitcases stored on the steps from my recent Oregon sojourn to get up there, so not tonight..

Jerry Canavit 08-17-2017 12:21 PM

Hi Judy! Noticed your post on the Kahlke-built boats in Alaska and thought I'd add a little.
In 1898, Peter Kahlke went out to Seattle, Washington with about 19 or 20 carpenters from their boatyard in Rock Island and constructed three vessels for the Alaska mining trade. They were named the ROCK ISLAND I, ROCK ISLAND II and HOOSIER BOY. They were all constructed at the Seattle Bridge and Dredge Co. in that city. The ROCK ISLAND I was a sternwheel packet (155' x 32' x 6'/535 tons), the ROCK ISLAND II was a sternwheeler power-barge (100' x 30' x 5.') , and the HOOSIER BOY was screw-propeller tug. Both of the sternwheelers operated for a time on the Yukon River. I could never find out what happened to the HOOSIER BOY.

Both ROCK ISLAND vessels were owned and operated by the Rock Island and Alaska Mining Company and chartered for a time to the Frank Waterhouse Company of London , England.
I think they operated between St. Michaels and Dawson City. The ROCK ISLAND I sank at Chena, Alaska in 1906. The ROCK ISLAND II operated as a prospecting boat until 1917.

R. Dale Flick 08-17-2017 01:11 PM

*Prefab Alaska Yukon steamboats*
Steamboating colleagues,
Thanks, Judy and Jerry for your information below on the so-called 'prefab' steamboats boat builders down here provided for the Yukon River. This bit of steamboat history often lost on many. REES CO. in Pittsburgh were also leaders in this type of boat assembly for Alaska and South American rivers. Today we'd call them 'kits' of a type. Carpenters, boiler men, engineers did go as a 'team' to Alaska and South American. Most to all upper works and hulls assembled/built from woods harvested on site or near it. I'm vague on any Alaska boats possibly with iron hulls.

DENNY BROS, Dumbarton, Scotland, builders of the DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN were also innovators in prefab steamboat construction for Egypt, rivers in Asia along with the commission to construct the hulls and various engine components for CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CO. by the order sent from Jim Burns. For DENNY the DK/DQ nothing unusual and just one more order to be filled. DENNY boats on the Irrawaddy and other Asian rivers were then the largest fleets of steamboats in the world. DENNY had been constructing major ocean vessels as far back as the 1870s for lines like CUNARD etc. Boats for Alaska was a short-lived venture as the gold rush there quickly mined out and over. More than a few Ohio River steamboat pilots, captains and engineers were bitten by the 1898 gold rush spending time up there; then returning home to lick their wounds chalking all up to experience. Again, "all that glitters is not gold." The boats there ran for many years after due to Alaska's lack of highways then, dependency on water transport and now air service today. John Burns, son of old Jim Burns, told me, "My dad excelled at steamboat engineering and was hailed as a kind of miracle worker who could assemble, adjust engines to run with more efficiency, speed and economics. Steamboat owners all over the United States would consult with him." As written, Jim Burns made no small fortune of his own during his stint in Alaska.

Our late Capt. Alan Bates discussed the HOWARD YARDS venture in their boats built for Alaska. Alan's opinion--and interviews with Jim Howard--revealed that, when all said and done--HOWARD's venture in Alaska boats did pay off but not to the profit level considering the logistics, headaches involved. Again, what do I know?

Summer: R. Dale Flick from the northern shores of mighty Lake Michigan.

David Dewey 08-18-2017 01:35 PM

In my research on California Steamboats, on of my favorite stories is of an eastern company building a schooner, and before it was decked out, it was sunk, and a paddle wheel riverboat floated over it, the schooner hull was lifted, and with the steamboat within it's hull, decked and finished. The boat was then sailed to California where the process was reversed, and the schooner set sail east out of California, while the riverboat went into service on the California River systems. My notes are too buried to tell you the name of the steamboat; I don't think the name of the schooner, nor it's eventual fate is known.

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