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MISSISSIPPI QUEEN enroute to scrapyard as I type

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    Engines stored

    Nope. Those engines, along with those from the Gen. John Newton, were stored in our warehouse on the Toulouse St. Wharf, then moved to a warehouse on Chartres, and now they are in Slidell, I believe. They've always been stored in a N.O. Steamboat facility since Wilbur bought them. He said that he didn't know if he was ever going to build another steamboat, but he knew no one else could if he bought all the engines!


      Back when I was on the DQ, I was told that retubing had started to give the holes in the boiler sheet an oval shape. Thus, the tubes could not be just rolled in, but had to be welded as well, which further complicates future retubing. I hate to think what an ominous job boiler replacement would be. But if the DQ is going to have any future, It will almost have to be done. The boilers she's got should be in a museum.


        DQ Boilers

        THe building I work in was built in the 1890's. This winter they replaced the original steam plant, boilers and all. They hired special contractors to cut up and remove the old system. What replaced it is 90% more efficient and takes up 10% of the room. They removed two boilers and replaced them with two units. The system is so good is only runs on one boiler at a time and they alternate, the second is simply a stand-by. After the intial start up they had to dial it back because the building was so warm. These boilers in my building are SLICK, stainless steel, computer run (when the building achieves temp it scales back the heat and saves money), and saving the owners a LOT of money. I would imagine that in the long run removing the old system and replacing the DQ's system would save a lot of money for the new owners. Also, the cost of the boilers is probably the low cost, the high cost is removing the old ones. My guess is the DQ would have to be high and dry, a portion of her hull removed and the system taken out that way. Not cheap! When I worked at Coast Guard HQ we retired a lot of older cutters simply because the cost of overhaul involved asbestos removal.


          I seem to recall that the engines from the JASON were considered for the MQ. However, at the time, the DQSBCo. was still unsure whether they would even build her as a steamboat -- they were still considering diesel and cycloid propellers at that time. By the time the decision had been reached to go with steam sternwheel power, the JASON's engines had been scrapped. New engines were built by a company named Pine Tree Engineering, using the original JASON drawings.


            Mark, your experience with new boilers brings up another point, weight. A modern steam plant would no doubt weigh much less than the current units. Ballast would need to be added in order to keep the boat in trim. Also, as important as efficiency is, reliability must also be factored in. Many in the boiler business today lament the constant "glitches" due to the electronics in many of today's new boilers. Perhaps yours will prove different. I can't remember the DQ ever being stranded by boiler failure, unlike the MQ. I know Judy can elaborate further on that topic. Regardless, The DQ's boilers operate on only half their rated 400PSI and are bullet proof, even if they need retubed every 15 years or so. That said, 90% efficiency would be a dream come true!


              MQ boiler layups

              I'm not familiar with DQ boiler problems, but the MQ certainly did have her share, most notably in what turned out to be her last season, 2006. She spent 6 days, 20 hours at the Oneida St. Landing in Davenport for boiler repairs that got more extensive each day. Her passengers were bussed to St. Louis to end their trip, after a 3 day stay here, and then her new pax were bussed up to Davenport to begin their St.L-N.O. trip. Of course they were here for 3 days also. I believe that 'express' trip got as far as Natchez in the allotted time, but once they left Davenport, they practically flew through the lock system. I recall taking some new pax to Walgreens for a prescription they had forgotten. The guy said he'd wait and get it at a stop along the way. I knew that they were planning NO stops until Memphis, so I talked him into going to a Davenport Walgreens with me to get the Rx. The day after the MQ left Oneida Landing, I drove by and it seemed strange to not see that big white building there. Oh, to see any of those white vessels, sheer or not, there again!


                Mississppi Queen passing

                Such a sad ending for such a glorious lady. It was a honor to work on her.

                Kim Applegate


                  From the Quad City Times of May 14

                  I think this contains a couple of factual errors, but the sentiment is on point.

                  So long, old girl -- you''ll be missed


                    So Long Dixie

                    The following lyrics to the Blood Sweat and Tears song, "So Long Dixie" (copyright 1972) made the Internet rounds this week among MQ crew members. Go to and download the .mp3 file. It will be the best
                    99 cents you ever spent.

                    Lazy moon
                    Magnolia bloom perfume
                    And Dixie would receive
                    A lady fading fast
                    Still clinging to the past
                    But she had you hating to leave

                    So long, Dixie
                    Sweet Dixie girl
                    You sure had style
                    Recalling times we've had
                    With all your good and bad
                    I'm glad I had you for awhile

                    When we get the blues
                    We just shine up our shoes
                    And head for Dixie's place
                    We sit ourselves right down
                    And pass the bourbon round
                    Let Dixie on the case


                    Years go by
                    Some memories fade and die
                    But, Dixie, you still shine
                    Now up here where it's cold
                    Folks don't understand your soul
                    Dixie, you're still part of mine

                    [Repeat CHORUS 3x]

                    So long, Dixie
                    Oh, you sure had style
                    Recalling times we've had
                    With all your good and bad
                    I'm glad I had you for awhile


                      Bill Wundram's article

                      Originally posted by Paul Penta View Post
                      I think this contains a couple of factual errors, but the sentiment is on point.

                      So long, old girl -- you''ll be missed
                      Thanks for posting that, Paul. I haven't gotten my paper in yet this morning. Yes, facts aren't always in the forefront in Bill's columns, but his heart is there. I emailed him the pictures and talked to him on the phone with the scrapping information - you notice how he spelled my name wrong! Oh well...