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    #16
    *Str. CINCINNATI/PRESIDENT*
    Morning, Steamboating colleagues,
    Judy and Jim are 'right on' about the big sidewheeler CINCINNATI not having a sprinkler system. I sleuthed these old B/W photos of her interior seeing nothing. She was one very big boat for sure. The then L&C LINE made a big hoopla about the CINCINNATI being as fire retardant as possible. The dates of her construction and operation would have been well outside of the later regulations in the 1930s. By then it was all over.

    A now long deceased neighbor and retired high school teacher back then for some years planned a big end-of-the-year trip on the CINCINNATI for the graduating seniors. Steven was a pace-setter then using a movie camera. He took considerable footage of the CINCINNATI on the outside and her upper decks along with river scenes on the two day, two night trip. On those film reels you could see other still working packet boats, big excursion boats on the river. Her upper decks looked like a hockey field in size with all that canvas decking. Alas, cameras and film then were a tad primitive with any attempt at interior views being dark beyond viewing. He did have some shots of her engines sliding in and out, wheels rolling. What has become of his films after all these years now a good question.

    A few people have questioned IF the CINCINNATI could have survived as she was a near contemporary of the then new DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN. Probably not with the Great Depression, declining freight business. Could she have made it as an all tourist boat? Hard to say now in 2015 in tandem with her high operating and maintenance costs. Who knows? Same goes for the last ISLAND QUEEN up to her tragic loss September, 1947. She 'could' have endured but already boat travel up to CONEY ISLAND and return was gradually diminishing from the end of World War II to 1947 as shown on her finance books. Even before 1947 Ed Schott of CONEY was watching the books seeing the inevitable trend. Expanding love of the auto, buses, suburbs growing out from the central city had more people driving or taking the bus to CONEY ISLAND. Thanks to you all for the above, Again, what do I know?

    R. Dale Flick
    Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

    Comment


      #17
      Dale, I was thinking the CINCINNATI was a tourist boat from the get-go. Or at least primarily a tourist boat, maybe accepting some freight, but I was thinking the passengers were expected to make her profitable. Capt. Fred Way wrote a great article on the CINCINNATI in the S&D Reflector some years back detailing the operation and its demise, saying that in the end, the bills were mounting and the owners found themselves "nosed in to the bank coming ahead slow" or something to that effect.

      As we've seen, it is hard enough to make it with a tourist boat in the best of times, much less during a prolonged depression.

      Comment


        #18
        *CINCINNATI was a packet & tourist boat*
        Steamboating colleagues,
        Bob, L&C LINE took a gamble with the big CINCINNATI along with her sister to be the LOUISVILLE--which was scratched early on being sold to CONEY ISLAND CO. as the last ISLAND QUEEN finished from the hull up here in Cincinnati. L&C LINE almost in the same situation that CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CO. would be with the DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN in a few years with cars, trucks, new highways, bridges, dependable auto/truck tires. To even finish the DK/DQ the company there had to open up for a stock market offering for added capital. The DELTA QUEEN almost never made it with her builders carrying the project at DENNY BROS. in Scotland with a good rate of interest. They went on with the two boats with great success until the Great Depression hit. Even before that they also began cutting many way-stops for small freight handling focusing only on bigger stops--and this made smaller shippers and farmers angry out there. Thus we hear the term "truck farming."

        The CINCINNATI ran in partnership with the QUEEN CITY. And it was the dual 'night boat' trade with passengers and freight. L&C did see the potential for the emerging 'toursit boat' angle. To make things up, the CINCINNATI had another upper deck added with more cabins. Already by 1924 L&C sent out an agent to canvas all the shippers and businesses from here to Louisville and back on a subtle 'subscription basis' with money for the line in a kind of contract system in a veiled "commemorative publication." She did make a number of Mardi Gras trips, trips to Pittsburgh and was chartered by various groups like the Ohio Valley Improvement Association. That's fine but, what do you do when a boat like that is off the 'night run' and what about shippers sending and receiving feight if you don't have a second or alternate boat? Fred Way drastically cut [as mentioned in other postings here] accepting but very limited freight with his BETSY ANN. Freight still paid the bills as it did with the GREENE LINE boats.

        The mere size, operating expenses, maintenance, crew were a drain on the L&C. There were also rumors and fussng from witnesses about "things going on in the home office." I have notes, letters here from nobody but Charlie Dietz to me in later years lamenting the failure of a once great company. John W. Hubbard, the wealthy Pittsburgh manufacturer known as 'The shovel king' had nursed both the QUEEN CITY and then the CINCINNATI through good and bad times. Many said Hubbard artifically pumped up the dying packet boat trades beyond a natural life. IF the Great Depression hadn't brought the music to a halt, the CINCINNATI could possibly have lived on as a grand trourist boat. We will never know now. If she had, would the GREENE LINE have taken a flyer on the GORDON C. GREENE? What would this have meant down the road for Capt. Tom Greene to consider purchasing the DELTA QUEEN? The people then in that business didn't have their eyes misty with 'old steamboat romance.' When the bottom dropped out you could hear the sound all over the rivers. The DELTA KING/DELTA QUEEN did carry on out in California as the markets, geography were far different. Ah, so many questions and I know I don't know.

        R. Dale Flick
        Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

        Comment


          #19
          Charlie Deitz told me the best steamboating he ever did was while he was on the CINCINNATI, it was a new boat and a young crowd. Do you suppose, in those days of prohibition, there was any drinking on those one night trips???? I wonder if a boat today could be successful going back and forth between Louisville and Cincinnati. I really believe that between mid-May and the end of October, it would be a sell-out every trip. Run the same schedule as the CINCINNATI did, leave Louisville at 5PM be in Cincinnati the next morning, spend the day in Cincy, then return to Louisville. A boat doing that would draw passengers from both cities and young people today seem to have all the money in the world (or at least a lot more than we did). Me thinks, the cash register in the bar would need an extra large cash drawer; party-hardy!

          Comment


            #20
            You know there was daily boat service continuously between Louisville and Cincinnati from 1834 until 1947 and it ended in 1947 not because of lack of business but because of union troubles. I'm not sure of the sprinkler law we discussed in this thread, but the TOM and the CHRIS did carry a few passengers in the Texas rooms up until the end.

            Comment


              #21
              *Charlie Dietz/Str. CINCINNATI*
              Steamboating colleagues,
              Jim, I read your above RE: Charlie Dietz with his memories of the big CINCINNATI. Charlie, until his last days on earth, continued to fuss and rave over the end of the L&C LINE and the big, double cabin CINCINNATI. In conversations and then letters, he--and others then--called it "the fall of a great line...corporate lightening at the top...every body 'getting a cut of the coal pile on the boats and in the office.'" 'Shovel King' John W. Hubbard was an absent owner back in Pittsburgh with his check book ever in his coat pocket to nurse things along when needed. In time hard, cold reality hit him in the eyes. You bet there was a "refreshment room" on the CINCINNATI along with what passengers brought aboard for 'refreshments' even during Prohibition. The L&C LINE even in 1924 appealed to the well-dressed passengers being "of a higher class." What's that tell you?

              Still, with changing transportation needs, speed, trucks, cars, highways, Great Depression, size of the CINCINNATI, expenses, maintenance, no doubt the proverbial 'writing was on the wall.' And nobody was in the business for the 'romance of old time steamboats.' There has always been 'two worlds' between the officers, crew on the boats vs. the home office, bottom of the cash ledger. There were infernal 'bean counters' with hand-pulled calculators then as now. Both of those 'worlds' often existed side by side to keep the passengers, freight bookings coming in and those out on the river working. In the new age big trucks could pull in to unload, load and be off during the day with no dependence on the 'night boats.' It was door-to-door delivery without double handling on the landing or wharfboats. Then it was big freight handling that made the money in spite of the passengers up in the cabin. Fred Way in his time earned his scars and bruises with the BETSY ANN. Again, what do I know?

              R. Dale Flick
              Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

              Comment


                #22
                Jim, I think the exact same thing every time I'm on that stretch. Seasonal, to be sure, but oh, what fun! They could even get a contract to take small package freight for UPS!
                Last edited by Bob Reynolds; 05-07-2015, 07:25 PM. Reason: thought of something else

                Comment


                  #23
                  I'd love to see that happen. It would require at least three things though to be a success: 1) A rock bottom fare that would be competitive with the foreign flag blue water ships, 2) Reasonably priced alcoholic drinks and 3) an owner with a huge amount of disposable income to bank roll the project before it builds a following!

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by Jim Reising View Post
                    Another construction picture of the TOM GREENE, The transition from wood to steel didn't happen overnight, it evolved. Howards build several boats which had a "composite" hull...steel sides with wood bottom. By 1910 Howards was pretty much strictly all steel hulls. The GORDON C. GREENE was all steel from the hull up to the boiler deck as was the SPRAGUE,
                    The photo here is identified as the TOM GREENE, but I think it might be the CHRIS. The boat is sitting at what I think is the Gardner Docks at Pt. Pleasant. That's where the Chris was finished off after being brought down from Charleston. Also it looks as if this boat has a bit more sheer than the TOM did.

                    OR was the TOM brought down from the Marietta Manufacturing Yards and finished off at Gardner's too? Ah sweet mystery of life!

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