The Delta Queen's bell

The Delta Queen's bell was made by the Kaye Co., Louisville and was originally on the Anchor Line's sidewheeler CITY OF ST. LOUIS, built by the Howard Shipyard at Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1883. The CITY OF ST. LOUIS burned in 1903 while laid up, but the bell survived and was sold to Capt. J. Frank Ellison who placed it on the Str. QUEEN CITY, remaining on that boat for her entire career which spanned 1897-1940. Later, the bell served briefly on the towboat MILDRED, the packet OUACHITA, and the towboat JOHN W. HUBBARD (now the MIKE FINK restaurant at Covington, KY). The bell was placed aboard the DQ in 1947 or 1948.

Delta Queen bell

Listen to the Delta Queen's bell (and the whistle) (MP3).

Under which circumstances the roof bell came from the JOHN W. HUBBARD to the DELTA QUEEN is not absolutely clear. Is seams that the bell was "transferred", not sold from Capt. Charles Campbell and Capt. Tom Greene, who were good friends. One theory says that Tom Greene loaned the bell to Campbell for the HUBBARD. Now Campbell was absorbed by "Valley Line" and the HUBBARD was sold by Campbell to the Ohio River Co. in 1947. Charlie Campbell probably didn't like the idea of either the bell or whistle going to ORCO, thus returning them to Tom Greene.

Delta Queen bell by Kaye Co, Louisville

Another theory suggests that the bell came into Greene Line ownership when they purchased the holdings of the Ohio River Transportation Co. in 1936, and got the OUACHITA in the deal. The Greene Line didn't need her bell at that time as they stripped her down to the main deck and made a deck barge out of her named STOGIE WHITE. So the Greene's may have loaned out the bell, and called in the favor when the DELTA QUEEN needed a decent roof bell.

Totally unrelated, one story tells that the DELTA QUEEN's bell is reputed to contain one hundred Mexican silver dollars in the alloy, for a "sweet" tone.

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