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    Delta Queen bell

    We do daily guided historical tours of the Delta Queen and we love showing off the DQ bell, but I'm stalled in my research. Any leads on tracking down who Capt. Tom Greene got the bell from or ideas on tracing its history?

    #2
    Originally posted by Bill Wiemuth View Post
    We do daily guided historical tours of the Delta Queen and we love showing off the DQ bell, but I'm stalled in my research. Any leads on tracking down who Capt. Tom Greene got the bell from or ideas on tracing its history?


    According to a post on steamboats org, the Delta Queen's Bell comes from the "Queen City" (1897 - 1940).

    It doesn't say how it managed to get to the Delta Queen.

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      #3
      Story I heard, and I bet Judy or someone could clarify, was that Tom Greene went to someone who had a collection of bells for sale on a trailer. In St. Louis maybe? They had them all lined up on the trailer and told Greene to pick one, and he chose the biggest. Then they responded by..."pick any bell but that one, its not for sale." So set on this particular bell, a trade agreement was made for some stuff the Greene's had in exchange for the bell, which today is still on the Delta Queen. As to what was actually traded, I'm not sure if anyone knows. Got that from a certain Riverlorian long time ago.
      Last edited by Phillip Johnson; 06-23-2009, 05:16 PM. Reason: typo

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        #4
        According to Capt. Fred Way, the roof bell on the DQ originally was on the Anchor Line sidewheeler CITY OF ST. LOUIS, built by the Howard Shipyard at Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1883. The boat 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. The bell was placed aboard the DQ in 1947.

        Photos:
        (1) City of St. Louis under construction at Howard's - 1883.
        (2) City of St. Louis at a landing.
        (3) Roof bell in place on DQ
        Attached Files

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          #5
          The bell is reputed to contain one hundred Mexican silver dollars in the alloy, for a "sweet" tone.

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            #6
            Keith has the correct story as usual. One small exception is that it was on the towboat TOM COOK after the Hubbard. That Riverlorian with the St. Louis tale must have lingered to long at the local pub.

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              #7
              DQ bell's acquisition

              I doubted that story about the St. Louis bell auction, so I consulted Capt. Fred Way (via the packet directory) and Capt. Doc Hawley by phone. My suspicions were confirmed. The DQ bell was originally on the Anchor Line's CITY OF ST. LOUIS, made by the Kaye Co. which company has been previously discussed on this board. The bell then went to the QUEEN CITY, MILDRED, OUACHITA, and the towboat JOHN W. HUBBARD (now the MIKE FINK restaurant). Tom Greene simply bought the whistle off the HUBBARD, not at any souped up auction. Ever since the days of Don Deming, things have tended to be 'embellished' for the entertainment of the passengers, and usually there's a much less interesting factual story.
              Attached Files

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                #8
                Quick to the trigger!!!

                While the Don Deming ilk might have embellished, you can't say the speed of those who prefer facts has diminished. WOW! While I was finding and scanning my DQ bell pix, both Keith and Bill got postings on before me. And I too missed the COOK, as Doc didn't mention it. By the way, the pix I posted was taken on my very first DQ trip Aug. 21, 1973. The bell has always been a great place to pose for pictures - but don't sit on its frame if a contrary ornery stinker like Rip Ware is between the sticks - voice of experience!

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                  #9
                  I believe Doc Hawley mentions, during his DQ lecture, that Mark Twain was known to have ridden on the City of St. Lious, so we can say we're the only extant steamboat whose whistle Mark Twain heard. Bill, you might want to call Buford, I seem to remember that one day while Mate he got tired of the dull condition of the bell and shined it beautifully using KETCHUP and a buffing wheel. That might just be a sea story or maybe I'd been at UTH all day, but I think I watched him doing it.
                  Last edited by Keith Tinnin; 06-23-2009, 03:02 PM. Reason: spelling

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                    #10
                    Cap'n Bill,

                    TOM COOK, or JOE COOK? This is fascinating for me to hear because several years ago I restored the whistle that the JWH finished with which was a triple lunkenheimer, a dead ringer for the whistle on the NATCHEZ. This whistle was reportedly on the JOE COOK before it blew it's boilers and then came to the HUBBARD. There's also a connection between these two boats in regards to wearing the famous QUEEN CITY'S whistle at various times during their careers. The HUBBARD wore atleast 3 different whistles during her career, a two barrel (which I have a copy of), The QUEEN CITY's whistle and finally the 3 chime lunk now in the collection of ED Bosworth who's Dad may have sold Tom Greene that bell? Ah how these boat parts we so interchangeable.

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                      #11
                      Am I the only one getting confused here? The bell is from the QUEEN CITY (and other boats before her). The whistle is the original Lunkenheimer. Mark Twain may have heard that bell, but he never heard the DQ's whistle.

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                        #12
                        Keith, it was Buford and his deck crew who shined the bell, but I think they used copious amounts of Brasso. It was on our DQ crew reunion trip from St. Louis to Cinci. in 1997.

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                          #13
                          I'm with ya Bob! I think somewhere we strayed, but did we mean to? I assume all this lineage goes with the bell. You did answer a question I wanted confirmation to though..that IS the original whistle from CA? Any ideas on the King's whistle? Probably disappeared in Kitimat, or when the engines were removed and put in storage. Anyone know?...probably should start a new thread so as not to further confuse this one! ;-)

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                            #14
                            Sorry Cap'n Bob,

                            As is the case with most threads on here I went out on a completely different limb with my story about restoring the whistle that came from the JWH. It is interesting to note that perhaps if the DQ's bell was purchased off the HUBBARD while laid up so that perhaps Cap'n Tom might have looked at the triple chime lunkenheimer that was on the HUBBARD and the DQ and the Natchez would have shared similar sounds at least from 1975 until last year. So I guess the question now is who did Cap'n Tom buy the bell from if it was in 1947? When did the EX HUBBARD (CHARLES DORRANCE) quit running? Seems like it was well after 1947 as she didn't open as the FINK until what 68? So was it bought before Bob Bosworth got the DORRANCE? My towboat directory is not handy.

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                              #15
                              Aaron: It was my mistake, it was the JOE COOK. That's what happens when your mind is trying to do history, but is stuck in present time. Madison Coal has a diesel towboat the Tom Cook and that's what popped into my writings. Good job on your part, keep the old man straight.

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