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Steamboat Wreck Excavations - Past and Present

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    Steamboat Wreck Excavations - Past and Present

    Several years ago, I read the book "Treasure in a Cornfield" by Greg Hawley documenting his archaeological excavation and conservation of the Steamer Arabia. Just earlier this afternoon, I finished reading "The Steamboat Bertrand," by Jerome Petsche about the NPS uncovering of the Bertrand in Nebraska.

    The procedures taken to unearth and preserve these boats are astounding, and the excavations themselves seem to become quite expensive and delicate. Surely, one might think that these types of excavations are simply too expensive and cumbersome to undertake, and the Arabia and Bertrand are some of the only examples (excluding the gunboat Cairo.).

    NOT SO!

    Ever heard of the packet boat Twilight excavation? Or the 1830's era steamer Heroine found in the Red River?

    Does anyone know of any more major or minor archaeological projects involving other western river steamers? Any efforts underway to conduct another such project?

    Here is a link to the pages dedicated to the Twilight's uncovering. The old boat seems more intact than the Arabia. The Steamboat Twilight Excavation

    W.R. Dancey

    Steamboat Twilight Story

    Fascinating reading an thanks for posting re the Steamboat Twilight. Anyone else have anything similar? Nice website for the Twilight too. A side note The Boomtown Belle Riverboat former casino in Belle Chase La has been scrapped and no longer exists. Carole Matthews Pompano Beach Fla


      there are at least three known sunken remains of Northern California Steamboats, all, of course much smaller than the twilight. Amateur attempts have been made to excavate them, and there is a small possibility that a State Parks funded excavation may occur on one of them, probably the least disturbed wreck.
      Others abound, but there's not a lot of interest for some reason.


        another steamboat excavation

        Hi all

        with luck I can post two copies of drawings of the engine and boilers of the 1820 Missouri Packet that sank above Boonsville, Missouri in 1820. Excavated in 1986 by Gene Smith and Gray Hawley. I think both are on exhibit engine and 2 boilers are on exhibit at the Arabia Museum in KC.

        The drawings were done on a mac power book but are also on my HP.


          Missouri Packet

          Hi all
          Here are the drawings of the engine and boilers for the Missouri Packet. The hull was built in the Chillicothe, Ohio vicinity and loaded with salt Pork and flour for delivery to Fort Atkinson in present day Nebraska. The machinery was added at Louisville, Ky.
          sorry looks like it didn't work


            Missouri Packet

            Hi All

            I will try again:


              The Amelia Poe

              Mr D

              I submit an opportunity ─ str Amelia Poe.

              On May 20, 1868 Amelia Poe passed Ft Buford without stopping. Loaded down with a quartz mill for the Montana mines and a cargo of whiskey and other liquors, she snagged near Oswego, MT on May 24 attracting 1,500 swarming Indians in a riotous salvage operation. The location where the packet snagged and sunk is now known as Amelia Poe Bend. Part of the cargo was saved by the steamer Cora and taken to Helena. The Poe passengers were carried to Ft Benton by the steamer Bertha. The quartz mill was stowed ashore, and as late as 1927 was still visible. [5] Although the principle owner of the Amelia Poe was Thomas W Poe, her captain was Thomas Townsend at the time of the wreck. Joe Fecto and George Hughse were the pilots based on an entry in the log of the Bertha on Monday, 25 May 1868. [6]

              The loss was reported to be $72,000. [7]

              Fran Nash

              [6] Collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Vol II, Tribune State Printers and Binders, 1908, p 353.
              [7] Dr EB Trail, Steamboat Arrivlas at Fort Benton, Montana, Montana Historical Society Collection, Vol I, State Historical Society of Missouri.