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Stephen Settles 12-08-2017 05:31 AM

The Columbia
2 Attachment(s)
Hello everyone. Iíve found some tickets for [B][B][B]the[/B][/B][/B] Steamer Columbia. Iím in Louisville, the shop I bought them from said they came from the Howard Museum. My question is, could they have come from the same boat that wrecked near Peoria? From what Iíve found it seems that boat was launched in 1897. These tickets are from 1898, so the timing works out. But I everything Iíve found about the Columbia places her in the Illinois river, is it possible she was all the way up the Ohio in Jeffersonville? Or was there another Columbia active at the same time?

R. Dale Flick 12-08-2017 06:57 AM

*Str. COLUMBIA had an interesting history*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues,
Stephen, I pulled down WAY'S PACKET DIRECTORY finding your Str. COLUMBIA [*One of eleven boats to carry that name] listed on Pg. 105 Entry No: 1246. I hope you, and other 'lurkers/posters' here have WAY 'S DIRECTORY to read more details about this COLUMBIA built in 1897 linked to your two 'Attached Thumbnails' above. We would be lost without the detailed work Fred did researching, compiling his PACKET & STEAM TOWBOAT DIRECTORY.

Indeed, she did sink after "being snagged" in the Illinois River, July 5, 1918 at Pekin, Ill. with 89 losing their lives in an event that received wide coverage. In 1907 the boat was chartered for President Theodore Roosevent's visit and river parade from Keokuk to Memphis. Capt. & Mrs. Walter Blair were aboard and presented to Roosevelt. Capt. Fred Way in later years wrote/talked about knowing 'the' Capt. Walter Blair. I 'think' Blair left the river after his years in steamboat packets and excursion boats taking a position as either a bank president or in real estate. This common with many retired captains and Chief Pursers. They also, from offices, bankrolled younger steamboat owners and captains with their emerging enterprises. The boat was built by 'W.J. Young & Company,' Clinton, Iowa at 166.5 X 33.6 X 6 X 5. No doubt a wood hull involved with her drastic sinking. That's the way it was then even with the 'U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service' prior to the later 'U.S. Coast Guard.' Say what we want but the Coast Guard right in demanding high standards of safety, construction and operation. I'd question the "shop" saying the above were from the Howard Museum. I would opine possibly years before the museum was founded. I also have items, documents given to me by the late Loretta Howard when I was a young teen. Anyway, that's all I know. Hope this helps.

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

Stephen Settles 12-08-2017 07:34 AM

Thank you sir, my next stop after morning coffee will be the library to check out a copy of Wayís directory. I appreciate you shedding some light on this little bit of history.

R. Dale Flick 12-08-2017 08:30 AM

*RE: COLUMBIA/Glad to help...a little*
Morning, Stephen,
First, no need to call me "sir" as it's just 'Dale' with all who know me. Glad my little references helped you. I only hope your local library has WAY'S PACKET DIRECTORY. His two fine DIRECTORY issues [PACKET and STEAM TOWBOAT] are the 'Bible' of river researchers. Now, if you're not a member of SONS & DAUGHTERS OF PIONEER RIVERMEN then you may want to consider as it's a steal at $35 a year receiving four quarterly issues written/edited by David Tschiggfrie in Dubuque. You could look up S&D of Pioneer Rivermen on your search engine for the web site or I could send information to you by 'private E=Mail here.' Let me/us know how we can help more. is a great site and service we all should support and post on more.

PS> One reason why sinking/snagging of the COLUMBIA raised such interest was that by 1918 most steamboats were moving to iron/steel hulls. Many of wood did survive but experts, writers in leading marine and engineering journals decried boat builders here on the rivers still clinging to, using "old technology...out of date with modern designs and construction...wood hulls a thing of the past." What does that tell you?

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

Stephen Settles 12-08-2017 01:11 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Update: after looking her up turns out there was a ferry named Columbia in Jeffersonville running at the same time. She burned in 1913 during winter layup. Would it have been common for a ferry to run excursion trips? Iíll have to look into the church history - maybe it was a fundraiser.

The Filson has a pretty great color postcard of her at the Louisville wharf, an image of that is attached.

Dale I was approached about joining the S&D on Belleís Madison trip this season. Seemed to have misplaced my application and Iíll have to convince the wife, but Iím definitely interested.

Frank X. Prudent 12-08-2017 03:45 PM

There's no doubt, in my mind, that the sidewheel ferry COLUMBIA was the boat handling the July,1898 fund raiser for St. Paul's Church.

R. Dale Flick 12-08-2017 03:53 PM

*Ferry named COLUMBIA/S&D*
Steamboating colleagues,
Stephen, I think we have two threads of conversation going on here. I don't know about the ferryboat also named COLUMBIA doing the excursion but Frank Prudent makes good sense. The information I found/forwarded was for the 1897 boat that sank with loss of life. You bet ferryboats often ran excursions. River excursions were a big deal then until fairly recent. Today excursions turning into luncheon and dinner cruises etc. Churches, fraternal organizations, businesses with employees often chartered boats or took advantage of daily boats like to CONEY ISLAND here and other destinations. Capt. Fred Way always wrote/said, "The excursion boat business dried up the moment school bells rang in September."

When the weekend settles down here, I'll get S&D information to you by 'Private Message' or I could post just general information here for all to see. Most know about it. CHEERS!

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

Bill Judd 12-08-2017 07:36 PM

Stephen and Dale: I think those tickets were from the Ferryboat as Frank suggests. As to the Str. Columbia and its sinking, there is a brand new book out on that whole story and well worth the read. It is called, THE WRECK OF THE COLUMBIA. Author is Ken Zurski.

Jim Reising 12-11-2017 09:23 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Looks like the COLUMBIA had a busy month in July, 1898 taking church excursions:
On July 8 St. Pauls English Lutheran Church chartered the boat to run excursions to Fern Grove, boat left the Foot of 1st Street at 8:30 and 1:30.
July 9...Southgate Baptist Sunday School picnic, left 1st St wharf at 8:00 am, fare 15 cents.
July 21....Jefferson St. Methodist Church gave an excursion to the Kentucky River locks.
July 29.....St Pauls Church..this was the one in Jeffersonville. The Howards were members of this church.

Bob Reynolds 12-11-2017 11:30 AM

That trip to the Kentucky River locks was a long one. Did they do that in one day or two?

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