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Old 01-31-2007, 11:38 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573

Steamboating colleagues:
Recent TV promos for BANK OF AMERICA put me on another weird serindipitous search last night. I promptly pulled down Stan Garvey's 75th Anniversary Edition of 'KING & QUEEN of the River,' River Heritage Press, 2002.
Stan covers well the angst and thinking of Jim Burns Re: building of the new DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN for the 'California Transportation Co.' But there a coda to the story.

Jim Burns had come to know A.P. Gianninni, founder of the California based BANK OF ITALY later the powerful BANK OF AMERICA. Their close relations were in part forged during the infamous San Francisco earthquake of 1906 from committees to provide relief and support to the stricken city. Jim Burns devised a means utilizing C.T Co. steamers and steel barges to ship much-needed fresh water to the city. Giannini provided help and relief through his bank. From the start of the QUEENS design and building Jim realized that capital would be required. Outside of Garvey's fine book John Burns, Jim's son, related in dinner conversations here that his dad set up an appointment for lunch in a San Francisco hotel to mull over the plans with Giannini. Giannini was succinct with observations concerning the shipping business, development of roads/bridges etc. He was supportive and, according to John, the deal was signed right there on the dining room table. How much was never revealed and may be in archives housed by BANK OF AMERICA today. The fate of surviving C.T. Co. records is not known at this time.

Giannini, of Italian immigrant roots, worked up from a family fruit/vegetable business to found his bank believing in "Banks for the little people." It was rough-and-tumble on his part bucking other big financial interests. During the 1906 earthquake he was able to remove records, currency, gold by an 'evacuation.' His bank was the first to reopen providing low interest loans to businesses and "little people" to get on their feet again. Giannini and DENNY BROS. in Scotland were the saving angels with financial capital and DENNY'S agreement to pay for and carry the cost of the DELTA QUEEN until C.T. Co. were ready to accept shipment and completion of the boats at Stockton.

BANK OF AMERICA today is the largest in the U.S. and 3rd largest in the world. Giannini passed on in/around 1949. Burns passed on a few years later with both being near contemporaries. Interesting professional and personal ties resulting in the DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN.

R. Dale Flick
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