Ephemera: Blueprints, Maps




Attached 2 examples from a set of blueprints for the CAPE GIRARDEAU (23-35) plus a photograph of her from La Crosse.

1923 - 35
Sternwheel Packet
Way's Packet Directory Number 0829
Designed by Tom Dunbar for the Eagle Packet Company.
Built in 1923 at Howard Ship Yard, Jeffersonville, Indiana. Went from Louisville to St. Louis in November, 1923.
Came out in the St. Louis-Cape Girardeau commerce trade in April 1924; christened at Cape Girardeau on August 24 by Miss Christine Rowling. Made St. Louis to New Orleans Mardi Gras trips between 1925 and 1930.
Sold to Greene Line Steamers in 1935 and became the GORDON C. GREENE.


I bought these plans some years ago and had them mounted on linen. They came in two sections and the outfit that mounted them didn't line them up properly so about half way through the pilot house there's a "jog" where the horizontal lines don't match up. They went in with pen and ink and paint brush to try and disguise this but it made it look ever more obvious.

I had the gigantic thing scanned by Ford Graphics in Burbank and they saved it as a huge tiff file on a CD. I labored over it in Photoshop to line up everything as closely as possible. This is an extreme reduction of the original humongous scan. - Dave

Mississippi River Commission. U.S. Large Tender For Dredges, Designed and drawn under direction of Committee on Dredges M.R.C. and of Capt. H.E. Waterman, Corps of Engineers, U.S.A. Secretary. Longitudinal Section... Plate No. 13 to accompany annual report of Mississippi River Commission for 1898. Plan by Percy H. Middleton, 55 x 17.75". Office of the Secretary, M.R.C. Washington, DC. 1898, Jan. 28.

Jim Hale made the following comments:

"This is a very detailed drawing of a steamboat. Leave it to the engineers to spend so much time on a drawing. It is a nicer looking boat than most of the boats they built. Seems I have seen a photo of a similar boat, maybe at the Memphis fleet. I wish Howards had made such detailed drawings of the boats they built. Their drawings were just basic outlines at best. I like the bath tub and the little overhang at the stern for the toilet. Mr. Richardson told me when they reversed the wheel it turned the toilet into a bidet."

Editor's Note: Please visit's new model boat page - click here.


Mississippi River Commission.

U.S. Small Tender For Dredges, Designed and drawn under direction of Committee on Dredges M.R.C. and of Capt. H.E. Waterman, Corps of Engineers, U.S.A. Secretary.


Plate No. 20
to accompany annual report of Mississippi River Commission for 1898.

Office of the Secretary, M.R.C. Washington, DC. 1898, Jan. 28.

13.75 x 24 inches

Internationall Marine engineering 1912 nov page 436 dredge WATERWAY

For the do-it-your-self'er attached one of the sure 'nuff Gee-Whiz cross-section drawings from which the Red River Hydraulic dredge WATERWAY was built.

This illustration appears on page 436 of the journal International Marine Engineering for November, 1912. On page 477 there is also a profile drawing and a deck plan.

The text of the article which begins on page 435 "The United States Red River Hydraulic Dredge Waterway," begins thusly:

"Early in the summer of this year the Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works, Dubuque, Iowa delivered to the United States Engineers at Vicksburg, Mississippi, the steel self-propelled hydraulic dredge WATERWAY.

The dredge is a steel hull boat fitted with the ordinary type of sternwheel towboat machinery, and a sand hydraulic pumping plant for river dredging."

For those interested in reading the article in its entirety it is available on line from Google books.


There are 18 steamboat pencil drawings in this spiral bound collection:

Portraits from the Past

Drawings and Text by Neal R. Finch
Fineline Co.
St. Charles, MO 1977

My favorite is the one on the last page entitled "Packet Portfolio" with vignettes of stacks, whistles, bell and pilot house.



Elevation drawings of snag boat General S.M. Mansfield 1904

Dimensions within drawn rectangle: 14 1/4 X 17 3/4 inches

"Improvement of Trinity River, Texas
Plan and Section of Sternwheel Snag-Boat

Drawn under the Direction of Edgar Jadwin
Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Scale 1/8" = 1'

Chas. Schuster, Supt D.A. Watt Asst Eng'r

March 1 ~ 1904

Forwarded to the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army with report for fiscal yeard ending June 30 -1905 Edgar Jadwin - Captain, Corps of Eng'rs, U.S. Army"

recent acquisitions

recent acquisitions

Seymour Fleishman's sepia toned map of Tom Sawyer's town and a medium sized file of my colorized version of the map which took a lot of man hours to do but it was a fun way to pass the time.


Pictorial map for the front fly leaves of a German translation of Mark Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI ("LEBEN AUF DEM MISSISSIPPI") represents the Mississippi River in 1860 by illustrator Heiner Rothfuchs (1913-2000) for a 1949 German edition published by Kesselringsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Wiesbaden.

The stylized pen and ink style Rothfuchs employed is very nostalgic evoking the U.S. during its frontier period with costumed characters, a steamboat along with cities and towns. The way the map was attached within the front cover caused a slight gap that is visible down the center but the graphic still reads satisfactorily.


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*