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Last operating steam powered towboat was?

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    Last operating steam powered towboat was?

    What was the last operating steam powered towboat? When did it cease operations?

    Keep your steam up!

    Russ Ryle

    #2
    Str. MATEUR, an old DPC towboat that belonged to teh Vicksburg District COE. It was operating up to at least 1976.

    Comment


      #3
      re: Thanks for the info. Str. MATEUR

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for the info.

      The 1979 Inland River Record list her as being "retired" that year.

      From 1964 to 1968 I kept a log of boats seen passing my parent's farm below Rising Sun, Indiana. The old DPC boat I remember seeing somewhat regularly was the Lunga Point. I think there might have been others. Don't remember seeing the Mateur.

      Best regards,

      Russ Ryle

      Comment


        #4
        If my memory serves me correctly, the last DPC's on the Ohio were operated by OBL into the mid 60's and after that the dredge St. Geniveve continued to work the Ohio. I believe the last steam sternwheel boat was the Lone Star over on the Upper Miss.

        Comment


          #5
          re: Yes, OBL ran them

          Hi Jim,

          Yes, OBL kept them running beyond 1968. I was thinking at least one of them were eventually converted to diesel but not sure if my memory is correct? Anyone have a list of vessels converted from steam to diesel?

          I never saw the Lone Star on my stretch of the Ohio. I did see a few small chain driven stern wheel towboats. My grandfather told me some were gasoline engine powered?

          Thanks, Russ

          Comment


            #6
            Yes, the JOHN J KELLY, that you saw burn to the waterline at Rising Sun was diesel, but was originally a steamboat (BEDER WOOD). The earlier chain driven sternwheelers began as gas boats, with gasoline engines. The CLAUDE was a typical gas boat that operated around Vevay, Rising Sun and the area. (John J Kelly photo courtesy of the Dan Owen/Boat Photo Museum).
            Attached Files

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              #7
              *What was a DPC?*
              Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
              Interesting question raised by our colleague Russ Ryle with 'follows' by Bob Reynolds, Jim Reising, Steve Huffman.

              I remember the DPCs running here and they, to me, pretty impressive boats. Yet, I wonder if any on this web site really know what they were, how they operated and what DPC stood for? I remembered they were a product of World War II, powerful engines. Now, I'm 'foggy.' Capt. Bill Judd no doubt knows more if not having direct exposure to the DPCs when operating. Were their engines similar to turbines? Shows what I know I don't know.

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

              Comment


                #8
                Defense Plant Corporation...DPC. They had triple expansion reciprocating engines (Skinner Uniflow ???????). Built specifically to move crude oil from the Gulf to the refineries up East in response to Uboat attacks sinking our tankers in the Gulf and along the East Coast. Also they built a bunch of tanker barges to go along with the DPC's. Because of the steel shortage the barges were mostly of wood construction or a composite of wood and steel.
                The boats were steam because the war effort took all of the diesel engines the US could produce. After the war, DPC's could be bought very cheaply, that's why Pat Calhoun, seeing a post war demand for river transportation, bought so many for his company ABL...later ACBL.
                Carl Shelton used to call DPC's the "Masonite Navy" because, due to the shortage of steel, the whole interiors were made of masonite.
                The DPC Orlenian had a whistle that was a dead ringer of the DQ's, only the Orlenian's was built like the old timey steamboat whistles with three separate whsitles.
                But...what do I know?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Capt. Way says that they had triple expansion engines, which I have no doubt. That would mean that they weren't Skinner Uni-flows. My guess is that they might have had Norberg machinery on them. Darn, I wish my father was around!

                  Today the SS Badger, Lake Michigan Car Ferry | Manitowoc, WI - Ludington, MI, which runs daily during the late Spring to early Autumn season on Lake Michigan, has Skinner Uni-flows powering her. She's the last laker to have reciprocating steam machinery since the ST. MARYS CHALLENGER left service in 2014.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Steve,

                    I think the KELLY burnt about 1956 or so. It was on a Saturday around noon and we saw the fire trucks go down the road past our house. My grandfather came into the house from working in our back field and said there was a boat on fire down the road.

                    My parents, my brother, and I road down the road to see what we could. The fire department kept spectators back along the road some 300 yards away from the water's edge until they were sure her gas tanks would not blow.

                    My parents were ready to load up two of her deck hands in our old Chevy station wagon and take them back to either Cincinnati or Louisville at their choice but they said a ride was in route to get them. They said the captain had cut the barges loose and was drifting down river on them with another crewman (engineer?). Another tow caught the barges just above Markland Dam preventing another calamity.

                    Were you there, too?

                    Thanks for bringing back memories.

                    Russ Ryle

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Russ,
                      In my John J. Kelly notes I had an email from you about the day it burned.
                      From other records I know the date was August 29, 1958. I was not around
                      yet (-6 years old).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        All 21 boats had engines built by the Fulton Iron Works of St. Louis. I was on at least six of these rascals as a kid, thanks to Capt.John Beatty. All had Fulton plaques on the engines. Remember lots of sub companies built under licenses granted by the big operators. Frank might just be right on the Nordberg connection. I am a diesel jockey so as to steam I'll use Dale Flicks "What do I know"

                        Comment


                          #13
                          MATEUR

                          The MATEUR was used here in Jumer's Casino complex as a restaurant, the EFFIE AFTON. They left her machinery in her and just worked the seating around it. Sadly I think it has been scrapped by now. It was towed along with the other 3 boats to Hamms' Happy Harbor on the Illinois River. When we passed them on the SPIRIT OF PEORIA several years ago, the OCKERSON and CASINO RI were afloat but the MATEUR and T.G. GEROW were beached and awaiting dismantling. Back on my last DQ trip in 2002, Capt. Buddy Muirhead was out chatting with us as we passed the casino complex on our lock approach. He had worked on the MATEUR and was pleasantly surprised that a passenger knew its history.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks to all for the comments and great discussions. I realize we are all getting older and the steam era is almost down river behind us but sure is good to keep information flowing. "Information shared is history saved."

                            Are there any ongoing efforts documenting boats on the inland rivers beyond the technical and ownership data found in the Inland River Record? We need a volume three to go along with Fred Way's two classic books.

                            Keep your steam up (or whatever turns your wheel or prop or "Z-drive?") !

                            Russ Ryle

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Speaking of the St. Genevieve, did her engines ever get saved? I saw pictures of her being scrapped, and I know the old DQSC had looked at them during that time. I don't remember if anyone ended up with them, though. I think they were nearly exact twins to the engines taken off the Kennedy for the AQ.

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