Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Delta Queen Steamboat

Delta Queen visits Cave-In-Rock.

The pictures at the right were made a few years ago when the Delta Queen was docked at Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, at the Cave entrance. Little did I know at the time that the steam boating days on the river for this majestic steam boat would soon be over.

The first picture is when she was docked and the guests came a shore to visit the historic park, and the second picture, she had pulled out and was on her way to Elizabethtown, Carrsville, Smithland and then Paducah. As she left the calliope whistled us a good-bye in the old songs of the south.

Mentioning the boat in the previous blog entry, I received a comment from Nori, a reader of the entry. She told me that the Delta Queen was now docked at Chattanooga and being used as a Hotel. I hadn't kept up with the latest news of our Delta Queen. After during some research on Google, I found much information about the river boat. It seems that the Delta Queen was operating under a special Congressional Exemption from the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Law. This law forbids any vessel, from operating from a U.S. port carrying over 50 overnight passengers if it is constructed primarily of wood. This exemption expired in October of 2008. This is only a brief outline of the reason(s) the Delta Queen is docked. If you would like more information about her there is a lot at

Seeing this beauty paddling down the Ohio River at the Ohio River ferry landing was a grand sight indeed. The farm residents that lived along these bottom land next to the river looked for her regularly. In turn she would play her calliope for them. This sight and sound is just something that brings back a by gone era and something you don't easily forget. In our little rural area along the Ohio River it was a breathtaking sight to see.

The Delta Queen's Calliope was constructed by Thomas J. Nichol. He developed a way of rolling sheets of copper as the basic for his whistles, and it made the sweet toned sound of the calliope that he was made famous for. You can actually hear the Delta Queen's Calliope play on the website.

Another era of our history is probably over with the docking of these steamboats. But I'm thankful that I was able to see the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen as they steam boated down our section of the Ohio River.

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