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R. Dale Flick 01-24-2007 10:42 AM

Steamboating colleagues:
The question/discussion from Bruce and Capt. Bill Re: "Unscheduled stops" on the Sacramento River prompted me to dig in the files/records here. 'California Transportation Company' folders, advertisements, schedules revealed how things were done then with the Strs. FORT SUTTER, CAPITAL CITY, DELTA KING & DELTA QUEEN. The 'run' from San Francisco to Sacramento was some 125 miles and, as Bill says, was "night boat service." The QUEENS departed 'Frisco 6:30 PM, arrived in Sacramento, 6:00 AM. Scheduled stops were Rio Vista, Isleton, Ryde, Walnut Grove, Grand Island Wharf, Vorden, Courtland, Clarksburg. Strs. PRIDE OF THE RIVER & ISLETON departed 3:00 PM arriv: 1:00 AM with one boat making a longer voyage from 12:00 noon in Sacramento to 'Frisco 8:00 AM. It was a busy time then with freight and passengers. The run to Stockton was another division of the C.T. Co.

"Unscheduled stop" were not the norm, but were done at times and termed 'brush landings.' I've not found the term 'mud clerk' in California steamboating as was known here on our Ohio/Mississippi/Tributaries in packet days. Again, just the terms 'boats,' 'steamers,' & 'ships' appears. Agricultural products were the life blood of the boats along with diversified cargo. The QUEENS were listed as carrying 400 tons of freight and '55 automobiles' although the initial design records from DENNY BROS. in Scotland shows an underline with a question mark [?] on the capacity for '55' autos on one boat alone. The huge Jackson Street pier in San Francisco serving the C.T. Co. even had a rail siding where trains could pull in to unload or load freight. This was no small operation.

In time the C.T. Co. had to call it quits in stopping for small shipments as low as $1.25 for asparagus, peaches etc. The farmers resented this and learned that the rapidly expanding California highway system, bridges and dependable auto/truck tires could be used to transport their smaller shipments of products faster--thus the term 'truck farming.' Called 'LCL' it meant "Less than cartload lots." Some stops were called "Potato landings." Old Jim Burns reflected on this in his warnings to Capt. Anderson and the C.T. Co in considering building the new, big, expensive QUEENS. In the valley the Chinese grew potatoes, Italians grew beans and the Japanese produced fine crops of onions. Some farmers worked on kind of communal or co-op system. More on 'brush landings' in time. The business aspect of steamboating is a rich and fascinating area ready for intense research and writing.

R. Dale Flick

Judy Patsch 01-24-2007 08:35 PM

3 Attachment(s)
That's interesting as to how the term 'truck farming' originated. I never would have guessed that! I wonder why no 'mud clerks' - maybe no muddy landings in California, or not civilized enough a term??? I've attached one of my C.T. Co. brochures, not sure which year, but it gives the tonnage amounts for 1927 on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, so its obviously 1928 or later. I don't know if the time table is legible in these attachments, but it states for both the DQ and DK: leave San Francisco 6:30PM arrive Sacramento 5:30AM; leave Sacramento 6:30 PM arrive San Francisco 5:30AM No Stops En Route. I always thought these were 'express' non-stop trips, but you listed several stops. Could those have been for one of the other boats, the Pride of the River or the Isleton? The DQ/DK fare was $1.80 one way, or $3 round trip. In today's money that would be $21.23 and $35.39 - but of course that didn't include luxurious bathrobes! If you can make out the brochure pictures, they are from top left clockwise: Observation Room on Boat Deck(Texas Lounge), the DK nearing Sacramento, suite with double bed and shower, twin beds and bath, a nook in the Social Hall on Saloon Deck(note the tapestry)now the stern of the Betty Blake Lounge, looking into Dining Room(forward half of BB Lounge), and Main Lobby on Saloon Deck(Gift Shop/Pursers Office)

Bob Reynolds 01-24-2007 09:09 PM


Thanks for your posts on this! Hard to make out, but on the brochure it does list the PRIDE OF THE RIVER and ISLETON as making several stops , and I can make out ..."and way landings." on the brochure. I had always been under the same impression as you, that the KING and QUEEN were the "express" boats, with the idea being to lure folks back to the river by giving them more luxury and avoiding the multiple stops with their attendant longer run times.

Question: would that fare have included meals and room, or was that just the "deck passage" fare? Surely they could not charge the same for a room with no bath as one of the better, larger rooms with one?

Bruno Krause 01-24-2007 09:10 PM

Judy, thanks for sharing, incredible stuff.

Lower right of your brochure, is that the skylight? Was it really barrel shaped as it appears to me? Does anybody know what it looked like, was it a "picture" or the like? Does anybody know what happened to it? A Dravo removal?

Thanks in advance,

Bob Reynolds 01-24-2007 09:16 PM

Hi, Bruno. Yes, the skylights were removed at Dravo. They were barrel-shaped, and had tapestries at the ends. There is a good picture of them prior to their removal in Fred Way's "The Saga of the Delta Queen". On the DQ in the Aft Cabin/Betty Blake Lounge, you can see where thay were in the overhead.

Judy Patsch 01-24-2007 10:04 PM

I presume the former skylight area is where the bathrooms for the Texas deck staterooms are now. This particular brochure doesn't give different prices for rooms. Here's what the Time Table page states: leave San Francisco 6:30PM arrive Sacramento 5:30AM; leave Sacramento 6:30PM, arrive San Francisco 5:30AM.
DINING ROOM SERVICE Table d'hote and a'la Carte Dinner 6:30 to 8:30PM Breakfast 6 to 9AM.
Staterooms are air cooled in summer and warmed in winter. Have Hot and Cold running water. Suites of two and Three Rooms wiht Bath or Shower Attractive for Automobile Parties.
These steamers connect at Sacramento with Sacramenton-Northern Railway for: Marysville, Yuba City, Oroville, Chico, Colusa, Woodland and Way Stations. Also connect with Auto Stage LInes for Grass Valley, Nevada City, Lake Tahoe resorts.
Passenger Steamers Pride of the River and Isleton San Francisco - Sacramento and Rio Vista, Isleton, Ryde, Walnut Grove, Courtland and Way Landings. Leave San Francisco 6 PM arrive Sacramento 7AM; leave Sacramento 5PM, arrive San Francisco 6 AM.
So I think Bob is right - the Pride and Isleton made stops and the DK and DQ were express. The DK/DQ trip is 11 hours and the others 13 hours. Apparently the fare per person was the same regardless of the room type, but they got more money for the ones with baths because those were for 'automobile parties', ie. several people, I guess??? I'll see if I can find clearer pix of the old interior..

Judy Patsch 01-24-2007 10:36 PM

pix of DQ interior California
3 Attachment(s)
Well, that was unusually easy to find for a change. The first pix shows the forward tapestry. This would be midship, by the puzzle table now, rooms 109 110 or so offhand. The second pix is of course the Grand Staircase, but note the wooden bulkhead and leaded glass doors forward of the Staircase. This forward part of the now Forward Cabin Lounge was the Gentlemen's Smoking Lounge. When you're aboard, go to the port side about 20 feet forward of the Purser's Office. Look up at the ceiling and you'll see a horseshoe-shaped beam. This was where the standing bar was located. Dick Simonton pointed that out to me on the 1976 organ society trip. The third pix is looking forward from the front end of the now BB Lounge. This was the Dining Room in California. The photographer is by room 104 looking forward and to the port side. The sun's rays kind of blot out the Purser's Office, which is what it was back then too. Today's Gift Shop was the Barber Shop in the '20s. I'm looking at that wonderful deck plan on pp. 26-27 of 'Saga' right now, and that horseshoe-shaped bar shows up.

R. Dale Flick 01-24-2007 10:45 PM

Steamboating colleagues:
First, thanks to Judy for posting the great period folders from the C.T. Co. That's a skill I've not yet bothered to fiddle with.

You all are on the money asking about the boats being 'Express service.' There were scheduled stops, as mentioned, but within a few years and by on/around 1930 not only had hours for sailing changed but way stops were dropped. Rio Vista was one that remained on schedules year after year. One ominous cloud on the steamboat horizon on the Sacramento was the increasing use of the rail service along the river in addition to highways. At times U.S. Mail contract bags, officers, crew and passenger were forced to either meet or leave the boats by rail or car along the way. Stan Garvey and John Burns talked of the incident with a legislator at the state house in Sacramento aboard one of the QUEENS with his cronies. He was needed for an emergency vote and a car was sent to rouse him up and get him off the boat and back for a tight political decision.

The famed stained glass domes on both boats are interesting. Dick Rutter out in California informed me some years ago that one of the domes was removed at Antioch and has been standing duty as a 'hot house' for vegetables by an out building on private property. The one from the QUEEN removed at DRAVO is rumored to be in good condition in private hands just across from Cincinnati in northern Kentucky.

R. Dale Flick

Judy Patsch 01-24-2007 10:56 PM

Room prices
On that deck plan, which is from the very beginning, so maybe by 1928 they changed the price scales, but it states:
Texas Deck (now Sun) double bed $2.50; double bed and bath $4.00; twin beds and bath $5.00; two larger rooms with double bed and bath $5.00
Observation(Boat){now Texas} Deck double bed $2.00; double bed and shower $3.00; twin beds and shower $4.00; two larger rooms with double bed and shower $4.00
Saloon (now Cabin) Deck upper and lower berth $1.00; inside rooms lower double and upper single $1.00;
Lower (Main) Deck 42 single berths (men only) 50 cents

Bob Reynolds 01-24-2007 11:23 PM

Thanks for clearing that up, Judy. Now, as to the leaded glass door leading to the men's smoking lounge: I always believed this door had later been put on the Gift Shop. I cannot recall just exactly how it is now, but I know the Gift Shop has been enlarged since I worked on the boat (until 1980). The above-mentioned door (or one just like it) used to be on the aft end, inboard side of the Gift Shop. Is this still there? Was this door a duplicate (twin) of the one to the smoking lounge, the Barber Shop having its own glassed door, or was this one put in the Gift Shop after she was on the Mississippi system?

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