Str. Washington’s calliope for the Queen of the Mississippi

November 28th, 2012

American Cruise Lines has announce the acquisition of the 132-year-old Nichol steam calliope to be placed aboard its new 150-guest paddlewheeler, Queen of the Mississippi. The historic instrument, which originated from the Str. Washington, will be restored to full operation, and will then be installed aboard the Queen of the Mississippi.

As ACL says, the calliope will not only serve as a delightful reminder of the golden era of steamboating and the grandeur of the historic steamboats of the late 1880s, but also as a fully-functioning steam-powered instrument, which will play familiar melodies and sounds as Queen of the Mississippi makes her way up and down the Mississippi River. According to ACL the calliope will be a steam generator/boiler to supply the calliope.

Once owned by St. Louis-based Streekfus Line, the Washington was built in Wheeling, W. Virginia, in 1880. Originally named Sidney, the historic steamboat was renamed the Washington, the name it operated under until it was dismantled in 1938. The purchase of its calliope includes all its original brass whistles and valves, keyboard, recordings and books. Unique to this steam calliope only, is one elevated whistle which sits above the rest, an uncommon feature not known to be on any other existing calliope. The Str. Washington’s callipe has been part of a private collection in Florida for many years.

“The instrument perfectly suits our new paddlewheeler,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President, American Cruise Lines. “Blending both old and new, Queen of the Mississippi provides a truly authentic and nostalgic cruise experience, while offering the best and most comfortable accommodations ever available on the Mississippi River. Guests will be truly delighted with the addition of this impressive piece of history.”

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