[ Future of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co Boats ]

Date: January 20, 2003 at 14:54:28
From: Ted Guillaum
Subject: 1976 Press Release-DQ 50th Birthday

The following is another press release from 1976. The regulars on this discussion board are familiar with all these facts but it might useful to newcomers or students needing to do a school paper on the Delta Queen:


The Delta Queen celebrates her 50th birthday in 1976. Her hull was fabricated on the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland and shipped to Stockton, California for final assembly. Her superstructure was completed in 1926 and she was commissioned by the California Transportation Company to operate overnight trips between Sacramento and San Francisco.
No expense was spared in outfitting the Delta Queen with the finest appointments. Teakwood handrails line her outside decks. Stained glass windows set with copper rather than lead decorate the Forward Cabin lounge and the Texas Lounge. The Orleans Room features Siamese ironbark floor. Cut glass fills the door of the Gift Shop. And throughout the boat, the fittings are brass and the posts and paneling are either oak or mahogany. These features are irreplaceable and unique to the Delta Queen. Her original cost was $850,000.
During World War II, the U.S. Navy used the Delta Queen to ferry troops and wounded in San Francisco Bay. She was decommissioned in 1946 and auctioned off to Tom Greene, President of Greene Line Steamers, the former name of The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. Greene originally bid unsuccessfully for the Queen’s twin sister, the Delta King. His successful bid on the Queen was $46,250.
After painstakingly crating the superstructure, Tom Greene had the Delta Queen towed across 5,000 miles of open sea down the Pacific Coast, through the Panama Canal, and up the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans. From there, she traveled under her own power to the Dravo Shipyards in Pittsburgh where she was remodeled and re-outfitted at a cost of nearly $750,000.
On June 30, 1948 the Delta Queen made her maiden passenger voyage on the Mississippi River system with a round trip from Cincinnati to Cairo, Illinois. In 1966, the operation of the Delta Queen encountered a legal snag. That year the U.S. Congress passed the Safety at Sea Law which requires any vessel carrying more than 50 overnight passengers to be constructed entirely of steel. The law was passed after the Viking Princess and the Yarmouth Castle burned at sea and was intended to legislate the construction of ocean going vessels. But the broad terminology of the bill embraced river bound vessels as well. It looked as if the Delta Queen might have to be retired. But her supporters rallied behind her. And since 1966, they have persuaded Congress to five 5 exemptions from the law. In return, the Delta Queen’s current exemption from the law expires November 1, 1978. And since the sternwheeler is a riverboat rather than an ocean vessel, the steamboat company is now working to have legislation introduced into Congress that would permanently exempt the steamer from the Safety at Sea Law. [*this exemption has occured, Ted]
The significance of the Delta Queen as the last overnight sternwheel steamboat of its kind has been recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior which has listed her in the National Register of historic Places and by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration which has certified her as an ongoing Bicentennial experience.
The Delta Queen is truly a tribute to America and the era of Mark Twain

[ Future of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co Boats ]

© Copyright by Franz Neumeier