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The latest steamboat ID request

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    The latest steamboat ID request

    Hi folks, try as I might, I haven't been able to come up with a positive identification of the boat to the right of the CHALMETTE (0919) in the photo at Any ideas?

    *Won't open for me/'Security' warning*
    Hi, Jon,
    Must be 'something' on my end here as I can't get your above link to open repeatedly. Then I get a 'Security Warning' on the site. May be me but I don't know. Ido know the name CHALMETTE and have seen one or more photos of it previously. I'll check later to see if it opens.

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


      I don't have a clue but that sure is a neat pic to gawk at.

      Yesterday's UPS trucks.


        really neat picture

        I'm in full agreement with Ron. I blew it up as best I could and if it helps, the first letter of the name on the bow looks like an M. Possibly Mc or, Mo. I couldn't get any better than that.


          *Is this the MONROE or the ROSA LEE?*
          Steamboating colleagues:
          Thanks, Jon, for the neat photo I finally got to open here on my end. This a dandy case for 'steamboat forensics' calling for "A village to tell a story." First, let's try going from the known to the unknown. There are visible electric or telephone lines in the distance with these appearing in cities, towns on/around/after 1890 +. Obviously this taken in New Orleans.

          Str. CHALMETTE was a sidewheeler built 1898-1899 running in the cotton trade New Orleans, Vicksburg-Grand Lake trade in 1902; then in the St. Louis-New Orleans trade 1904 sinking at Legon's Landing, Miss., summer of 1904.

          Str. MONROE [If indeed that is her] built as a sternwheeler 1886 later in the Mobile-New Orleans trade lost in 1915. 'Some' steamers often flipped in various trades with not all years noted or recorded. Yet, her domed pilothouse so like LEE LINE steamers even down to the dome on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE.

          *Then I dug out, looked at the Str. ROSA LEE, sidewheel packet built 1887, 225 X 36 X 7. Owned by the LEE LINE, Memphis, burning at Memphis, 1892. Photos of the ROSA LEE don't always match up with what we see here: different stacks, whistle remounted, other bric a brac added. Boats could often change from year to year drastically as was our late Alan Bates' findings and opinions. That's my humble findings going from various photos. Oh, if only the lettering clearer. This photo a real beauty calling forth old 'steamboat romance'--until you see those rousters lugging those sacks. After cotton milling there was a big business in saving, processing the cotton seeds for oil and other uses. Real fun for them, isn't it? Heck, I don't know. Again, what DO I know? Any other 'foresnics' findings and sentiments out there?

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


            Did some more searching and for a moment convinced myself she was the MORNING STAR 4043. That didn't pan out, although the boats share some distinctive features.

            After figuring that a blurry "M" could easily be mistaken for an "N" and thus appeared to be followed by an "E", I believe I've made a positive identification: NEW SOUTH 4189. Concur or object?


              *MORNING STAR or NEW SOUTH? Hmmmmm*
              Steamboatingv colleagues:
              Jon, this case of 'steamboat forensics' isn't over yet and you may be well on to something. I pondered again over my above thinking with the intent today to dig even more. The stacks on what I thought the ROSA LEE don't match up. I also thought here about the MORNING STAR. That distinct domed pilothouse an all-telling bit of evidence.

              I even hauled out my copy of 'THE MISSISSIPPI STEAMBOAT ERA: In Historic Photographs Natchez to New Orleans 1870-1920' Curator Keith at the Howard Steamboat Museum pointed me to several years ago in their gift shop. No luck there. I'll haul out the four installments of the LEE LINE recently appearing in the S&D REFLECTOR for a look see. *This is really fun and we all should do more of it here. Let's keep it up. The days when this web featrured the 'Photo of the week' [Or was it of the day?] really made people run to look for what had been posted. But what do I know?

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


                *NEW SOUTH?/Ummmmmm*
                Steamboating colleagues:
                Jon, I ran fast pulling down WAY'S PACKET DIRECTORY to read his entry on the NEW SOUTH No. 4189. Could have been but with the history of the boat her 'window of time' would have been very limited with mentions of Mardi Gras trips in 1896 and 1902--with the possibilities of other years on Mardi Gras Fred may not have recorded. Again hard to tell what season your photo was taken. Possibly cooler with many men wearing dark jackets, hats with the working rousters in shirt sleeves--obviously not a broiling hot southern day.

                The possible NEW SOUTH does appear to have been spiffed up, painted. There's a funny decoration like tinsel with a star hanging at the foot of her main bow staircase with a hint to Mardi Gras. Hard to tell about the cargo on the wharf if it was TO or FROM the boat. Even the boats making Mardi Gras trips did carry limited cargo, stops along the way to maximize every penny of profit. Boats doing Mardi Gras figured in no less than three to four days docked in New Orleans for the festivities and passengers visiting the region. Also some passengers in the deck shadows above. Well, who knows? We can keep narrowing it down, clicking off boats in that time frame. Now this is really becoming fun! Keep it coming.

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


                  The photo in question is definitely of a sidewheeler. You can just barely make out the starboard wheelhouse, and her hogchains and beam are indicative of wood-hulled sidewheelers.

                  The combination of a number of distinctive features make me reasonably assured that this is the NEW SOUTH, mostly based on comparing photographs, particularly steam14476 in UW-La Crosse's collection (although admittedly I could just be blowing smoke). On their own, each item is not a unique feature for Western riverboats, but altogether they make a convincing case:

                  • She has a jackstaff and acorns atop it, the masts, and their booms.
                  • Thicker section of stacks atop the stack jackets
                  • Matching stack tops can be seen in steam14486
                  • Hanging chains and star in front of main staircase
                  • V-shaped cargo area forward on either side (not sure what these are called)
                  • Four windows forward of wheelhouses on main deck
                  • Two forward-facing staircases forward of boiler deck cabins in front of wheelhouses
                  • Boiler deck and hurricane deck railings
                  • Scape placement and feathers
                  • Domed pilothouse
                  • Crossbars between stacks
                  • Texas cabin location and length
                  • Lifeboat davits
                  • Windows at forward end of boiler deck cabin
                  • While too blurry to be certain, both the pilothouse nameboard and the name painted on the forward end of the hull could be seen as NEW SOUTH.

                  Additionally, although she never ran in a regular trade out of New Orleans, the NEW SOUTH did make Mardi Gras trips starting in 1896 including one in 1902, so it stands to reason she could have been there again in March 1903 when this photo was taken.


                    *NEW SOUTH/Detective work*
                    Steamboating colleagues:
                    Jon, my hat off to you for the below list in steamboat forensics. So, you're more than certain my humble opinion the above boat no doubt the NEW SOUTH. Never dawned on me to look in the La Crosse collection. Master model builder John Fryant writes/speaks on his method of seeking as many photos of a boat if possible for comparisons, variations, different angles etc. Artists like Mike Blaser and John Stobart do the same thing. Again an exercise from 'the known to the unkown.'

                    You draw attention in your list to, "V-shaped cargo area forward on either side" may, possibly, could be what was known as "The monkey deck." This area on other boats was built up high like a little house with a door, some windows but not always, stairs leading up. Here was stowed unusually delicate, vulnerable, valuable types of cargo or, at times, even U.S. Mail if the boat had a mail contract. The "Monkey deck" kept said cargo up, away and safe from damage, dampness, bad weather, sticky fingers. The deck door kept locked/secure with keys limited to the purser, mate, captain etc. In this case the storage space a bit more casual and open with probably slats on the river side.

                    I also note what appears to be a very large drop canvas on a roll at the top of the main staircase. This 'could' have been a drop cloth to prevent dust, dirt from drifting up while cargo, coal being loaded. Other steamboats also often had drop canvas over windows on the bow to keep light at night from inside causing the pilots viewing problems from reflection. How many here remember the light canvas being shrouded over the forward Texas Bar windows at night on the DELTA QUEEN? It was a ritual in its time.

                    Though not visible in your above picture, other steamboats often had the upper half of the swinging stage booms, jackstaff painted a dark color often black or deep green to thwart night reflection from forward bow light or others. S&D REFLECTOR Editor David Tschiggfrie and I talked at length the other night focusing on the fact that not all steamboats built for the southern trade had their upperworks, superstructures painted white. Several boats were painted a kind of soft 'buff color' to thwart brilliant sun in the south reflecting off. Well, just my humble observations. Now this is really becoming a lot of fun! Again, what do I know?

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


                      Jon: I did an "Old Boat Column" in The Waterways Journal some time ago on the NEW SOUTH. I agree with you that's the steamboat in this image.
                      "Uncle Keith"


                        I think that Jon is onto something. I'll put my money on her being the NEW SOUTH. One thing for sure she is from up north. The bull rails out on the guard and lower overhead on the main deck mark her as not being a regular in the cotton trade.

                        Seems to me as if her remains rested on the Kentucky shore opposite Coal Haven for years until John Beatty salvaged the rusting boilers for use at the Cincinnati Historical Society's museum at Union Terminal. For whatever reason this plan never materialized, and I imagine the NEW SOUTH's boilers ended up at a scrap dealers.


                          *NEW SOUTH Boilers*
                          Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
                          Frank is on the money RE: NEW SOUTH remains and boilers "...on the Kentucky shore opposite Coal Haven for years."

                          I went over there with both Alan Bates and John Beatty to see them. The boilers classic steamboat in design. Right now I'm a bit 'foggy' remembering only one surviving boiler. John had sent somebody up earlier with gas weed eaters, brush cutters to clear around the boiler I saw. I'm no expert in steam boilers--or any other thing for that matter--but did see the boiler was in pretty precarious condition due to years of rising, falling river water, mud, weeds, vines etc. all around just west of the three surviving ice breakers about half way up the bank on a rather flat area below Route 8.

                          Like Frank, I lost track of the boiler project for the Cincinnait Historical Society. Capt, Bill Judd may have clearer memories/facts than I do. I visited/talked with John Beatty in his declining year but his thinking was confused, facts mixed up--no fault of his. Who knows? Again, what do I know?

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