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Twenty Year Anniversary of the American Queen

The amazing American Queen Steamboat celebrates twenty years this year. Although she was out of service for a couple years, the Coast Guard took good care of her in a mothball fleet in Texas. To learn more, link to the American Queen page at this site - click here for more photos and stories about the American Queen.


Photo by John Weise.

Delta Queen Leaves Chattanooga Today
March 22, 2015

This afternoon, the Delta Queen will leave Chattanooga, with her fans and well-wishers following after her aboard the Southern Belle. It's a new beginning for the Delta Queen, which is on the way to a ship yard on the lower Mississippi River. The Delta Queen will return to the cruise business next year.

deltaqueen southernbelle 2015-03-23 at 6.52.21 AM

The Southern Belle follows the Delta Queen as she departs Chattanooga. Screenshot from Youtube video by Jasminne. Other media coverage: DQSC, LLC Facebook: * Associated Press * Southeast Missourian * Youtube video by Nathan Chubbuck * misinformed blog post / facts thrown to the wind * Youtube video by Kyra Dobler * Chattanooga Bystander * Vimeo video montage from Chattanooga Times Free Press * Discus blog * editorial * * Associated Press * Chattanoogan * WRCB TV * forums * * Tuscaloosa News * Pintrist - a purdy picture * * Youtube - Cornel Martin interview + footage * Youtube - Channel Nine news report * Youtube - the Driving Blogger - 24 minutes * Youtube - by Beaver Vision - 24 minutes

Delta Queen Begins Her New Life on Sunday
March 18, 2015

This Sunday March 22, the Delta Queen Steamboat will leave Chattanooga, her host city since 2009. After a full renovation, she will go back to work in the riverboat cruise business. Her arrival is anticipated for 2016. Her presence on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers will bring new authenticity to the rapidly expanding river cruise business. She will be a welcomed addition to the American waterways, beloved by passengers and all who see her from the shore, or from other vessels.

Here's a news clip about the anticipated farewell to take place in Chattanooga this Sunday: Another article about the historic send-off planned for Sunday: Follow the Delta Queen down the river on the Southern Belle, departing Chattanooga at 2:30 p.m., returning at 6 p.m. The Delta Queen will continue down the Mississippi River to a boat yard in the New Orleans area.

A New Model of the Delta Queen
March 12, 2015

Here's a video with a series of still photos showing the detail and amazing accuracy of Bill Johnk's new model: Dropbox Video Enjoy.


Tracking H.R. 1248 in the House of Representatives
March 10, 2015

H.R.1248 - To amend title 46, United States Code, to exempt old vessels that only operate within inland waterways from the fire-retardant materials requirement if the owners of such vessels make annual structural alterations to at least 10 percent of the areas of the vessels that are not constructed of fire-retardant materials.
Sponsor: Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] (introduced 3/4/2015) Cosponsors (13)
Committees: House Transportation and Infrastructure
Latest Major Action: 3/4/2015 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 3/4/2015
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 3/4/2015
Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-7] - 3/4/2015
Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6] - 3/4/2015
Rep Joyce, David P. [OH-14] - 3/4/2015
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] - 3/4/2015
Rep Massie, Thomas [KY-4] - 3/4/2015
Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1] - 3/4/2015
Rep Renacci, James B. [OH-16] - 3/4/2015
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] - 3/4/2015
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] - 3/4/2015
Rep Wenstrup, Brad R. [OH-2] - 3/4/2015
Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1] - 3/4/2015


The Delta Queen in Chattanooga, after a February snowfall. Photo by Mark A Herndon - Lasting Vision Studio - Chattanooga. Visit the Delta Queen Steamboat Company online: Delta Queen Steamboat at

Exhibits Updated at the Dave Thomson Collection
March 9, 2015

The main wing of the online Museum, the Dave Thomson Collection, now has an additional ninety images. New parts of the collection include a special exhibit on the Becky Thatcher and steamboat illustrator Deal Cornwell. We invite you to visit the Dave Thomson Collection and look for the new jpgs. Click here to go to the Dave Thomson Collection at

Model Looking for New Owner
March 5, 2015

On Mar 5, 2015, at 5:44 AM, Ty B wrote:

Hello, I have a question. I have acquired a model that I have questions about. 1st its made of matchsticks. And a whole lot of them. Also a letter typed "with a typewriter" confirms model built 1970's around fort madison, ia. I believe he built it while in prison. Any helpful thoughts as too what it replicated, approx value, good place to try and find a good owner.

Its over 3ft tall and 40" long. With the original letter from the builder and the story behind it. Each room has furniture light etc. in it. You can see by looking in each window. The captains area has handcarved furniture ect.



Editor's note: William is looking for a selling price in the hundreds. If you are interested in this unique steamboat model, contact We will put you in contact with William.

Save the Delta Queen Bill: H.R. 1248
Bill introduced: March 4, 2015

Statement by the Delta Queen Steamboat Company (DQSC LLC):

We are thrilled to announce that long time advocate of the DELTA QUEEN, Congressman Steve Chabot of Cincinnati, OH, has introduced new legislation in support of getting the historic vessel back on the rivers where she belongs! Please contact your Congressional Representatives urging them to co-sponsor House Bill H.R. 1248! Thanks for your support, and LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

Editor's note: For the latest news on the Delta Queen go to the official Delta Queen Facebook page - click here and "like" this page.
Media coverage: * * (opinion) *


dqsc logo 2015-02-18 at 11.58.19 AM

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2015)—DQSC, LLC (dba The Delta Queen Steamboat Company) a Delaware limited liability company, Tuesday completed the purchase of the Legendary Steamboat Delta Queen from TAC Cruise, LLC (aka Xanterra Cruise, LLC) a Delaware limited liability company.

The legendary Delta Queen began service as an overnight passenger vessel in 1927, carrying passengers, cargo and automobiles between Sacramento, Calif. and San Francisco, Calif. After a brief period of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the vessel was sold as war surplus to Captain Tom Greene, owner of the Greene Line Steamers of Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1946 to 2008, the Delta Queen operated as an overnight cruise vessel along many of the prominent river and waterways running through America's heartland, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Arkansas Rivers. Later on, the vessel operated as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. from 2009 until 2014.

"My partners and I are thrilled to be taking this critical first step toward the preservation and restoration of this important piece of American and river history," said Cornel Martin, President and CEO of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. "We look forward to the day when the Delta Queen will once again be able to ply America's waterways and allow passengers to relive the experiences of Mark Twain and his unique cast of river characters from the decks of a true 1927 steamboat."

The Delta Queen is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is classified as a National Historic Landmark. The steamboat has also recently been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a National Treasure.

"Our goal is to have the Delta Queen return to cruising America's waterways in 2016 following extensive mechanical and hotel renovations," said Martin.

For more information, visit the Delta Queen on Facebook.

# # #

About Delta Queen Steamboat Company

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company was founded in 1890 and originally known as The Greene Line. The company's name changed in 1974. The company is made up of several long-time supporters of the Delta Queen steamboat. The mission of the company is to preserve, restore and return the legendary Delta Queen to overnight cruise service through the inland rivers of America's heartland.

Editor's note: we support DQSC, LLC, and their stewardship and ownership of the historic Delta Queen Steamboat. Following is a collection of media reports: * * * * Railway Preservation News * * * * * * * * Twitter page * Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus * The Rural Blog * * * * * * John G. Whitacre * (editorial) * * * *

Looking for Information on the Neosho

On Feb 19, 2015, at 8:34 AM, TKN Tony wrote:

I found this tag 2 days ago in Needles Calif with a metal detector. Needles is located next to the Colorado River which had steamboats traveling up and down in the 1800s and early 1900s. I've been searching for a steamboat by the name "NEOSHO" and have been unable to find any information. Wickipedia definition of "NEOSHO" is "clear water".. I would appreciate any info you could give me or guidance to this information.

So far the only results i've come up with is a military vessel of civil war era—that i believe went up and down the Mississipi river-but could easily be a later vessel of the same name. I have found other relics in this same area that do date to the 1860s.. Attached is a photo of the tag i found—tag measures 1.75 in across. —Tony Grazul


Editor's Note: if you have any info., please send it in, and I will forward it to Tony.

Steamboat River Queen, by Kinkade Studios


This beautiful Kinkade steamboat sailed in and landed in my inbox today. It's painted by Thomas Kinkade Studios, featuring Zac Kinkade (nephew of Thomas Kinkade). For more information about this painting, and how to buy a print, link to the brochure—click here.

Many thanks to Tommy & Tammy Ashker, owners of the Thomas Kinkade Inspiration Art Gallery, Memphis, for sending in this magnificent new painting.

Seeking Historic Information on Steamship Elizabeth Fedora

Editor's Note: Mr. C.B. Lewis contacted me in 2003 and 2005 to find information about his steamboat ancestor. He is now seeking information about the Steamship Elizabeth Fedora. If anyone has something to share, please send it in! I will forward it to him!

On Feb 1, 2015, at 10:03 AM, c.b.lewis wrote:

My great-grandfather was a riverboat captain named David E. Brown. His brother owned a steamship co. out of Bayou Sara, La. (his name was John Jackson Brown). David's steamship sunk near Cleveland, N.C. about 1876. He swam to shore but died of Pneumonia. I had seen an article somewhere of the Steamship Elizabeth Fedora going to Alaska. David Brown's wife was Elizabeth Fedora Horner. Any info. would be greatly appreciated.

As a teenager, I worked at a gas station in Baton Rouge, La. for Mr. Orie D. Stallions. He was a steamboat captain and his chief engineer worked with us also. Mr. Stallions was the youngest captain on the river. He had captained the Sprague. Heard many stories about Paducah and Cairo..etc........C.B. Lewis

Bayou Belle Sternwheeler Photos Wanted
On Jan 15, 2015, at 9:14 PM, M.W. wrote:

Hi I am looking for any information on the Bayou Belle Sternwheeler restaurant that was dock on St. Charles Rock Road in St. Louis or Bridgeton Mo. It burned down in the late 70's or early 80's.

Editor's Note: If you have a photo of the boat, please send it in! I will make sure it gets to Melissa. Following are the only two photos she has:



Delta Queen Life Preserver
January 7, 2015


Here at, we are just sitting around, waiting to hear the good news that Congress has a new bill to save the Delta Queen on the docket. Meanwhile, reader Carla A. sends in this photo. This item is currently available at an antique shop in Northern California, so if you want it, contact us immediately. Carla said she doesn't have anywhere to put it, but maybe you do!! Please join us in waiting with optimistic expectation to hear any good news on a new save the Delta Queen bill.

Delta Queen in the Spotlight
December 10, 2014

Last week, Delta Queen Steamboat supporters worked hard to keep the Delta Queen in the spotlight. We called our Senators' offices every day, while advocates in high places spoke directly to the Seantors and their aides. There is a lot of support in this world for the Delta Queen. Over the Christmas and New Years season, keep her in your thoughts. Happy holidays from and the crew.


Here's a collection of news articles about the Delta Queen from the last week:

Rob Portman works for Delta Queen bill -
Comment from a Delta Queen advocate: This article describes the Delta Queen as a "wooden vessel" or made of wood, and that's not true! It has a steel hull and massive amounts of steel and other safe materials, along with the wood. It is not just a "wooden boat." We have got to make that point.

Last ditch effort to save the Historic Delta Queen Steamboat—UPDATE!! - Model T Ford Club of America Forum, by David Dewey

Anonymous senators blocking Delta Queen bill - Telegraph Forum

Phillip Johnson of DQSC comments: "Those of us who have been hard at it behinds the scenes are anything but finished. Leah Ann, Cornel and I have already been working with members of congress to ensure we have sponsors for the legislation early next year in both the House and Senate. Keep the faith and stay tuned, it's anything but over!"

PLEASE NOTE: During the Christmas break, we can take a break from calling our Senators. But everybody be on notice that if the Delta Queen needs our calls in early 2015, we are there!

Delta Queen News
November 24, 2014

Legislative update: the Senate plans a unanimous consent for S. 1022, the save the Delta Queen bill. In other Delta Queen news, a new model of the Delta Queen has been created by Bill Johnk, based on plans by John Weise. In an exclusive interview with, Bill explained how John Weise got his model plans. He said John told him that when he was younger, he would book passage on the Delta Queen, and spend every spare minute running around the boat with a tape measure and note pad, documenting the boat's dimensions.

Click here to see the Delta Queen model by Bill Johnk, completed in 2014.

Reasons why we want to save the Delta Queen
October 23, 2014

• Saving the Delta Queen will bring much-needed attention to the inland cruise business in America. The Delta Queen will bring more passengers to all the boats.

• The potential for good publicity with the Delta Queen is priceless.

• America has Mark Twain, so America is already the most famous place for steamboat cruising. Adding the Delta Queen to the fleet of American paddlewheel cruise ships will bring more international passengers for all the boats.

• The Delta Queen has a perfect safety record, with zero casualties from safety-related issues. The Queen has state-of-the-art fire safety equipment, including sprinklers, alarms, onboard firefighters, and regular drills. Safety at Sea laws are necessary for ocean-going ships, where a fire at sea can be deadly. However, the Delta Queen is always within a few feet of the shore.

• As soon as the Senate passes S. 1022, the Delta Queen will convey to capable hands. The plan is to do needed maintenance and get the Delta Queen ready to go back to the rivers as soon as possible.

• The Delta Queen is a National Historic Landmark that needs to work to survive. The hotel idea did not work. The Delta Queen must go back to the passenger trade to support herself.


Calendars! The 2015 wall calendars are here! One is the Delta Queen calendar by John Weise* and the other is historic sternwheelers by the HSPSI.* Get a few of each for stocking stuffers. Hurry and get some while supplies last!

2015 Delta Queen Wall Calendar



2015 Steamboat Wall Calendar
Looking for a unique and practical holiday gift, or a great collectible?
The HSPSI 2015 Wall Calendar is Available Now! NEW & IMPROVED !!
Back by popular demand, the 2015 calendar features early photos of sternwheel towboats. The calendar contains 13 large photos printed on heavy card stock, suitable for framing. This calendar is our best yet, with higher quality images and added color throughout!
Each month features a specific boat along with its history, and a complete calendar page, with holidays marked. The boats featured for 2015 include:


The 2015 calendar marks our 14th year of wall calendar offerings!

Calendar Price: $15.95
Plus Shipping: $4.50 for one calendar.
(add $1 for each additional calendar)

Please mail check or money order to:
Draftware Inc.
158 Ashland Cove Road
Vevay, IN 47043

Online credit card ordering is available on our web site:
Back cover showing all the boats:

2015calbackcover Treasure Chest
November 2, 2014

Searching through old hard drives and CD-ROMS recently, I located these two logos we made for, but never used. These date back to 2002. First, the version I made, then the colorized, animated logo my graphic artist made. There is still another element of this that may have been lost to time. Only these two logos still remain. Here they are, just for fun!



Live Photos from the Steamboat Conference
October 18, 2014

This weekend is the culmination of a six day celebration in honor of the Belle of Louisville's hundredth birthday. Even though Louisville is an easy drive for fifty percent of the country, sadly, I live in the part where it isn't.

Luckily, correspondent Randy Davis sent in a batch of photos live from the conference. Those of us who cannot be there can still feel like we're there and see what's going on! Click here to see Randy's photos: Centennial Festival of Steamboats 2014.

The conference ends Sunday, October 19 night, so get down there if you can! It's a great weekend for history in Louisville.


Louisville Prepares for Steamboat Conference
October 11, 2014

The Louisville Courier-Journal expects several hundred thousand people next week for the Centennial Festival of Steamboats. They posted the schedule of week-long celebrations and said six large paddlewheel boats will be there, making it the largest gathering of the riverboats since Tall Stacks in Cincinnati in 2006.

To get more information, go to the Courier-Journal online for Belle the star at 100th birthday bash.

Birthday Greetings to the Belle of Louisville
October 9, 2014

Happy birthday and congratulations to the Belle of Louisville on her one hundred years in operation. Here's a photo I took from Burch's Landing last June. Wish I could come right back to be there for the celebration! - with love, Nori & the Muster family.


The Centennial Festival of Riverboats to honor the Belle of Louisville starts next week. If you are in driving distance of Louisville, make plans to get down there!*


Legislation to Save the Delta Queen Makes Important Progress!
October 13, 2014 - updated

Just before Congress adjourned in September, legislation that would allow the Delta Queen to cruise again, S.1022, was amended to include additional fire safety requirements. It was then considered ready for a unanimous consent, a procedure also known as hotlining, which is a way to pass non-controversial bills without a recorded vote. However, time ran out for the full Senate to pass this legislation in September.

At first it was said that S. 1022 passed out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation. However at this time it remains in the Committee, in line for a unanimous consent "hotline" vote, when the Senate reconvenes after the election. Committee Chairman Rockefeller and Ranking Republican Member Senator John Thune support the bill. In the wider Senate, the bill's bipartisan sponsors include Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Pryor (D-AR), John Boozman (D-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and David Vitter (R-LA).

If the Senate can pass S. 1022 by unanimous consent, the bill will revisit the U.S. House of Representatives to go over the amended safety language, then it will become law. After that, the vessel will transfer to a small business group, which will prepare the boat for Coast Guard inspection to go back into the river cruise business.

You can help save the Delta Queen - online

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has set up a webpage where you can write to your legislators. Click here to write to your US Senators online.

If you feel strongly about the issue, please follow up with a real stamp-and-envelope letter. Make your message upbeat and show your gratitude for the Delta Queen. Tell them you support her return to the rivers. If you are a constituent, mention that, and also mention if you have a special connection to the boat. Be concise and polite. This is a win-win for everyone if it works out.

WorkBoat Show, December 3-5, 2014, New Orleans
October 9, 2014

You are invited to the WorkBoat Show & Annual Conference. Register early to exhibit or attend. Go to the website for more details:

WorkBoat Show 2014-10-09 at 1.11.38 PM

WorkBoat Show 2014-10-09 at 1.11.59 PM

americansternwheel association 2014-09-07 at 6.47.16 PM

Click here for details and ordering information. Support the American Sternwheel Association!

August 30, 2014
Delta Queen and Delta King Photos from 1926

Ken Simpson sent photos and information about his father, William Simpson, who came to America to assemble the Delta Queen and Delta King in California. Click here to go to the page in the online museum.

August 25, 2014
1971 Delta Queen Photo by Bill Muster

Dave Thomson found this photo for sale on eBay some time ago. But it's timely now. The Delta Queen is calling on the Senate to let her go back to work. She is the safest boat on the rivers, despite not being made of all steel. Here is the wood treatment that is helping to prolong her life while she waits for the Senate to act on Senate Bill S. 1022.


August 18, 2014
American Queen Paddlewheel Restored

Great news from the American Queen this weekend. River Informer at reports that the majestic steamboat finally has her paddlewheel back. The wheel developed a fracture crack in shaft in late June and was forced to leave her wheel at a boat yard in Alton, Illinois, for repairs. The Queen completed all of her scheduled cruises, but under diesel power without the wheel. As of Saturday, she is back to steam power. To read the full story, go to riverinformer.

August 11, 2014 Steamboat Museum News

Over the weekend, I got out my website builder hat and completely renovated the Dave Thomson Collection wing of the museum. The Collection first started on in 2002, so after twelve years, it needed an update. Everything is now organized and easy to find, and all the jpgs download easily, with just a dozen (or so) jpgs per page. Click here to see the newly-renovated Dave Thomson Collection.

A few statistics:

Dave Thomson Collection - aprox. 700 jpgs (before); approx. 700 jpgs (after renovation)
Dave Thomson Collection - 44 html pages (before); 68 html pages (spread out during renovation) Museum - aprox. 1,800 jpgs (including Dave's) Museum - 216 html pages (including Dave's) entire site - 400 html pages Google PR (Google PageRank) - 4/10

Following are a few charts showing traffic to the site:


This chart shows July 2014 typical traffic to the site, with approximately 6,000 to 10,000 hits a day.


This chart shows June 2014 traffic when the site got 1.6 million hits on June 8 and 3.2 million on June 9. The two days of heavy traffic dwarf the statistics for the rest of the days. A similar thing happened at the same time on my other site, Anyways, I wish the traffic was real, but it was obviously an anomaly. Maybe someone tried to crash the sites, or something.

daily usage 2014-08-11 at 1.29.41 PM

On Aug 1, 2014, at 1:20 PM, Joe McCormick clewis1944 @ wrote:

My great, great, grandfather (David E. Brown) was a steamship captain on the Mississippi River in the mid 1800's. His brother owned a steamship Co. in St. Francisville,La. David Brown's ship sank, he swam to shore but died of Pnuemonia. His brother's name was J.J.Brown. I have seen an article about a ship named the Elizabeth Fedora traveling to Alaska. David Brown's mother was Elizabeth Fedora Brown. Does anyone have any info on these folks?

Editor's Note: Contact Joe McCormick if you have any information to share about his ancestor.

July 6, 2014
Celebration Planned October 14-19, 2014

The largest riverboat convention of the year will take place in Louisville this fall, and all are invited. The Centennial Festival of Riverboats celebrates one hundred years of the Belle of Louisville, still in operation as one of the last authentic steam-powered paddle wheelers in America.


The Los Angeles Times published a story about the upcoming event, see: Kentucky: Riverboat fest celebrates Belle of Louisville's 100th year. For more information, go to:

July 3, 2014
American Queen Mechanical Problems

Soon after visiting Louisville and seeing the American Queen, she suffered a stress fracture in the paddlewheel. This forced a change in schedule for repairs. We here at and the Muster family wish the American Queen all the best, and that the repairs can be made soon. Click here to read the full article at

On Jun 29, 2014, at 9:39 PM, John Weise wrote:

Here's a not widely known fact. Where is the Delta King's original smokestack? The answer is 38.162633 latitude x -121.610446 longitude, which puts it in Isleton, CA. I found it while checking out the Sacramento River in 2007. I didn't get to talk to the guy that owns the property but it has been converted into a storage shed. You can see it on google maps & if you go to the street view you can see it if you position your view properly.


In 1991 I made my Pilgrimage to see all of the places mentioned in Fred Way's Saga of the Delta Queen. Then in 2007 we drove the Sacramento River from its end near Rio Vista all the way up to Sacramento. I would have loved to actually have done it on a boat (to see it from the DQ & DK perspective) but there are no boats scheduled that actually do that now. We crossed every automobile bridge also along that stretch too.

Editor's note: Thank you for the amazing photo, John! It is great to see the old smokestack got a second life.


June 28, 2014
Steamboat Reunion Photos: Cincinnati, Jeffersonville, and Chattanooga

From June 20-24, my brother and I traveled around the South to visit old friends, and meet new ones. The center of our visit, of course, was the steamboats. We saw the Belle of Louisville and the American Queen from the shore quite a few times. We also visited the Delta Queen, which is in Chattanooga. Check out my photos from the trip, click here. Our thanks to everyone who made this a great time!

June 20, 2014
Senators Optimistic about Delta Queen Exemption

Watch the video of Senators discuss the Delta Queen exemption on Cincinnati's WKRC TV:

June 18, 2014
New at
Delta Queen Corporate History Timeline

This is a condensed timeline, showing only the corporate history of the Delta Queen and her sister ships, the Mississippi Queen and American Queen. For a broader history timeline, go to Delta Queen Timeline (at

In her lifetime, the Delta Queen has worked continually, and has worked for approximately ten different corporations under seven different names.

1926 - Delta Queen and Delta King fabricated on the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland, and shipped to Stockton, California, for final assembly.

mid-1940s - The Navy employs the Delta Queen and Delta King for WWII military operations in the San Francisco Bay.

1947 - The twin boats are decommissioned. Tom Greene of Greene Line Steamers, based in Cincinnati, buys the Delta Queen at auction. He ships it five thousand miles, down the West Coast on the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal, over the Gulf of Mexico, and finally to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

1958 - Richard Simonton, a California businessman, buys a controlling interest from Letha Greene, Greene Line Steamers, to save the company from bankruptcy.

1966 - Congress passes the first safety at sea laws; Simonton assigns Bill Muster to get the exemption and run the company.

1969 - November - Greene Line Steamers sells the Delta Queen to Overseas National Airways (ONA) to raise money to build the Mississippi Queen. ONA is allegedly a CIA Air Op (air operation) that carries troops and supplies to Vietnam and other secret locations. It is said that they bought the steamboats to launder money the operation earned flying occasional legitimate commercial flights to Europe and Asia.

1973 - September - Greene Line Steamers, Inc. officially changes its name to Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Inc. (DQSCO).

1975 - April - Mississippi Queen christened.

1976 - January - Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York buys the Delta Queen Steamboat Company.

c. 1979 - Coke sells the Delta Queen Steamboat Company to stockholders, and the boat is owned and managed by the employees.

c. 1982 - Sam Zell and Bob Lurie of Chicago, Illinois, acquire a controlling interest in the company stock and take over the management.

1993 - DQSCO acquires the bankrupt American Global Line, American Hawaii Cruises.

1994 - DQSCO changes its name to American Classic Voyages.

1994 - American Queen launched.

2001 - American Classic Voyages goes into bankruptcy under owner, Sam Zell.

2002 - May 7 - The U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, approves the sale of American Classic Voyages' steamboats Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and American Queen to Buffalo, N.Y.-based Delaware North Companies for approximately $80 million. Delaware North is a privately held firm with operating subsidiaries in food service, retail, sports and hospitality management in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

2006 - Delaware North sells the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and American Queen to Majestic American Line of Seattle, which already owns the Empress of the North, Queen of the West, and the Columbia Queen. The parent company, Ambassadors International, Inc., owns additional fleets of ships.

2008 - The Delta Queen loses the exemption in Congress.

2009 - The Delta Queen goes to Chattanooga to function as a hotel.

2010 - The government repossesses the American Queen after Majestic American Line defaults on government-backed loans. May - steamboat fans spot the American Queen in a government mothball fleet in Texas.*

2010 - The Mississippi Queen is dismantled.

2011 - Ambassadors International Inc. goes into bankruptcy reorganization. In May, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware approves the sale of the Delta Queen and Columbia Queen for $39 million. The buyer, Xanterra Parks and Resorts of Greenwood Village, Colorado, runs concessions at government parks.

2011 - The Great American Steamboat Company, headed by Jeff Krida, buys the American Queen from the federal government for $15 million and sets a date to put her back into service.

2012 - April 27 - Steamboat American Queen is re-christened by Priscilla Presley and reinstates paddlewheel river cruising in America. Effective July 1, the Great American Steamboat Company changes its name to the American Queen Steamboat Company.

2014 - June - Xanterra Parks and Recreation signs a deal to sell the Delta Queen to Cornel Martin and business partners.

June 16, 2014
Delta Queen Latest News

The following message appeared yesterday on the Facebook group, "Save the Delta Queen":

The legendary Delta Queen is under contract to be put back into service cruising America's rivers. This is the day we have all been waiting for and working towards. It has been an honor to be the keeper of the Queen for the last five years and we are so thankful for our many supporters and volunteers who have helped us watch over the Delta Queen.

While we very much appreciate everyone's interest, we ask that you continue to admire the Delta Queen from shore until she is made ready for departure to the shipyard. Lots of work must take place to ready her for her new role (or old role if you think about it), which has already begun and we are no longer able to accept visitors. For the safety of all of the Delta Queen's fans and the vessel itself 24-hour security is in place. As more updates become available and the departure date is know, we will post that information on here.

June 16, 2014
A Page Out of History

Karen "Toots" Maloy has a new memoir on her career as riverlorian on the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and American Queen! Get your copy:


Toots recounts the Delta Queen's journey to Chattanooga in 2008, as well as the demise of the Mississippi Queen.

June 15, 2014
Who's that in The New York Times?

travis vasconcelos 2014-06-15 at 9.10.29 PM

What better fiftieth birthday and Father's Day present than to appear in The New York Times? In their "Vocations" feature, they ask people about their jobs. Patricia R. Olsen conducted this interview to find out how Travis Vasconcelos started working on steamboats at age twelve, and is currently a historian and lecturer on the American Queen. Here is an excerpt from the interview. Click here to read the complete interview!
How did you come to play the calliope on the boat?

As my parents tell it, when I was 3 I heard my first calliope, a steam-powered pipe organ, on a steamboat. When I saw it, I told them I was going to play one of those someday. That was my first job: A woman who chartered a boat hired me and gave me a chance. On the American Queen, I play it when we depart a port, as a farewell, and to entice the local people onshore. It's so loud that I have to wear earplugs.

June 12, 2014
More Historic Recognition for the Delta Queen Steamboat

Last month, the Delta Queen won the Cincinnati Preservation Association's "50 for 50" competition to become the most recognized iconic landmark of Cincinnati. Out of 17,000 votes cast, the Delta Queen got 2,302 votes. The runner-ups were: God's Bible School and College, the Cincinnati Zoo historic structures, the Cincinnati Observatory, Cincinnati Union Terminal, Music Hall Sorg Opera House, and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Don Sanders helped rally the votes on Facebook to win the contest by a wide margin.

The next big news came yesterday, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation published a statement congratulating the Delta Queen (See:

This leads us back to the common wisdom that history does not save itself. Historic places need our help. The best chance to save the Delta Queen is to get her back into the cruise business. It looks like that will happen, so we call on all Delta Queen supporters to call their U.S. Senators. We also all must work together and cheer her on as she goes into her next phase.

Free Delta Queen Books

The Internet now offers these two books free:
Long Live the Delta Queen, by Letha Greene
Click here:
Note: the book will download as an .exe, which will only open on a PC.

The Delta Queen: Last of the Paddlewheel Palaces
Click here
Note: You will need to to establish a username/password with Download Genius to get access.

March 21, 2014
Support the Delta Queen as a Cincinnati Landmark

The Cincinnati Preservation Association is holding a contest on Facebook to vote for your favorite Cincinnati landmark. The Delta Queen is neck and neck with other great landmarks, but we need your vote to pull ahead. Be sure to "vote" ("like" does not cut it in this contest). Vote Here! Go to "view entries," then choose the Delta Queen, and vote.

March 20, 2014
Valuable Information Brought to You By

In Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom gets the other children to pay him for the privilege of helping him whitewash the fence. Following is a list of what the children gave Tom:
Tom had traded the next chance to Billy Fisher for a kite, in good repair; and when he played out, Johnny Miller bought in for a dead rat and a string to swing it with—and so on, and so on, hour after hour. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. He had besides the things before mentioned, twelve marbles, part of a jews-harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar—but no dog—the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated old window sash.

March 6, 2014
Collector Requests Help Identifying Items

On Mar 4, 2014, at 12:24 PM, Curtis wrote:


Thank you for your wonderful site! I am a collector of historical documents and sometimes also come across other items. The other day I purchased two light fixtures that are engraved with the words, "Robert E Lee".

The fixtures appear to have at one time been wick type lanterns which were converted to electricity by their owner much later. The reflector plates have also been replaced, However the rest of the fixtures seem to be of the right age to have been on the Robert E Lee steamboat. They are 24 inches high and 9 inches wide.

These came from a region of river working families near the Ohio river and it is my understanding that those who navigated the Ohio often took jobs on other rivers like the Mississippi as well.

I have attached some pictures and wondered if I could get your expert opinion on whether you think these did indeed come from that steamboat and f so from what period. Thanks so much for any help you can give.


Editor's Note If you can offer information, please write to Curtis directly (click here for email).

curtis1   curtis3   curtis2



Editor's note: this is great news, thank you. More press coverage: Arkansas News "Boozman, Pryor join Delta Queen effort," Feb. 7, 2014; Natchez Democrat, "Bill would allow ship to sail," Feb. 10, 2014; Natchez Democrat, Editorial: "Delta Queen deserves her river freedom," Feb. 12, 2014; Vicksburg Post, "Senators support a return for Delta Queen," Feb. 12, 2014.

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