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Delta Queen Preservation Foundation Seeks to Purchase Vessel

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    Delta Queen Preservation Foundation Seeks to Purchase Vessel

    This press release just came in from the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation which is backed by the current operators of the Delta Queen at Chattanooga (highlighting by me):


    Chattanooga, Tenn. – Leah Ann and Randy Ingram, current operators of the Delta Queen announced that they have submitted a Letter of Intent to purchase the vessel from Ambassadors International. The vessel is currently berthed in Chattanooga, Tenn. where it is operated as a hotel.

    The Ingrams are in the process of finalizing plans to establish the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation, an entity whose mission is to ensure the future preservation of the historic steamboat with the long-term goal of being able to operate it once again. In the near term, the boat would continue to be operated as a hotel, bringing in much needed revenue to finance the many repairs needed. The boat would be owned by the non-profit organization allowing charitable contributions, historic preservation grants and other tax deductible donations to be received. The operation of the boat would be leased out to the current for-profit hotel company, Delta Queen LLC.

    The Ingrams noted that their ultimate goal is to make the Delta Queen ready to once again sail America’s rivers.

    Leah Ann Ingram said, “We would like to return the Delta Queen to the rivers as soon as she is able but understand that is a monumental task. Having her open to the public as a revenue generating hotel while those repairs are made is critical to any successful plan to put the boat back in service.”

    The Delta Queen has been very well received in Chattanooga. In fact, a recent evening to honor the steamboat was hosted to garner attention and support for future efforts. Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield offered a joint resolution from the city and Hamilton County that gave strong support to preserving the vessel and maintaining her historical designations. The Mayor offered praise to the goal of making the Delta Queen ready for travel on America’s waterways.

    The Delta Queen is experiencing great success in Chattanooga. From sold-out lodging to the addition of gourmet dining, the Delta Queen is even one of the hottest tickets in town for the upcoming holiday season. Last year, the Delta Queen hosted over 450 guests for Thanksgiving dinner and is expecting similar crowds this year.

    Mrs. Ingram noted that success not only comes from a dedicated staff, but equally dedicated volunteers who provide countless hours in repairing and maintaining the boat.

    She said, “This is a team effort and we are honored and humbled by those former crew members and guests who come aboard on a weekly basis to take care of this legendary vessel. We hope that some of the people who have indicated their interest in purchasing the Delta Queen will join with us as we all have the same goal. In fact, nothing would please us more.”

    Both Ingrams noted that any option that takes away from the boat’s rich history or changes her integrity could put her historic designation in jeopardy. “We want to preserve this piece of maritime history for generations to come and would welcome the help of anyone who shares our views.”

    For more information, call 423.755.7588.

    Thank you, Franz for posting this. I appreciate your taking the time to do so!

    Long Live The DELTA QUEEN!


      Hi - I just came here to post this - and see Franz already did it. You will find it posted at, as well. Today is the deadline, so I guess we are waiting around to see if anybody else makes an offer. If it is just these two, the parties have already stated their intentions to work together for the benefit of the boat. I will keep checking my email today. If anybody sees anymore offers come across the transom, please send me a copy.


        Non-profit/profit relationship

        I'm not sure I get the way the DQ would be run if owned by a non-profit and leased to a for-profit, but I think it has similarities to the Iowa gambling boat law: Each license is held by a non-profit organization which then chooses the company to run the boat/casino for them. The non-profits get a certain percentage of the income which they then distribute to local organizations who have made grant requests. This amount is in the millions per year. The for-profit company also makes its investment worthwhile with its take.
        For instance, Bettendorf's non-profit awarded its license to Bernie Goldstein (DIAMOND LADY), and then later to the Isle of Capri. Davenport's non-profit awarded its operation to John Connelly (PRESIDENT). Both places have different 'boats' there now and both are now owned by Isle of Capri, but the non-profits have stayed the same in each town and have continued to reap millions a year for community services. The non-profits don't deal with operating expenses, all that is upon the casino company supplying the boat and services. Is this somewhat in the ballpark of the proposed DQ situation?


          Preservation Across the Pond...

          In the U.K., the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society owns the PS Waverly and PS Kingswear Castle. These boats are in turn held by separate holding outfits and then operated by a third organization.

          P.S. Waverley is owned on behalf of the Society by Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. (WSN) (itself a registered Scottish charity - SC005832)) and operated by Waverley Excursions Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of WSN. P.S. Kingswear Castle is owned on behalf of the Society by Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust Ltd. (a charity registered in England and Wales as no. 299931) and operated by Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust (Trading) Ltd. The Society also supports financially the preservation of P.S. Maid of the Loch, which is owned by Loch Lomond Steamship Company, an independent Scottish charity (SC024062). Links are also maintained with the Medway Queen Preservation Society.

          Paddle Steamer Preservation Society

          In the U.S. the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is operated under contract for the States of New Mexico and Colorado, by the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic ,an organization affiliated with the non-profit Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec.

          So the concept with the Delta Queen Foundation has some proven models that can be followed.