New DELTA QUEEN Steamboat Company Paddling Forward

The DELTA QUEEN seen with her funnel lowered on October 9, 2007 while sailing for the now defunct Majestic America Line. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The DELTA QUEEN seen with her funnel lowered on October 9, 2007 while sailing for the now defunct Majestic America Line. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company announced that its new corporate headquarters will be located  just south of St. Louis in Kimmswick, Mo., which has also been selected as the new home port for the DELTA QUEEN. Officials said the city of Kimmswick is excited that the legendary DELTA QUEEN, whose history dates back to 1927, has chosen Jefferson County for its home port and operations base.

Happy passengers head for shore at a levee landing along the Tennessee River. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

Happy passengers head for shore at a levee landing along the Tennessee River. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The vessel operated in a stationary role as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, from 2009 until 2014.

“The DELTA QUEEN will not only develop a greater awareness of Kimmswick as a historical destination but will re-establish the city as an important American riverboat district as it was in the late nineteenth century,” said Philip Stang, mayor of the city of Kimmswick.  “We are thrilled to designate the port of Kimmswick as the new homeport for the DELTA QUEEN and look forward to returning the city to the important American riverboat town it once was,” said Cornel Martin, president and CEO of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “The Delta Queen is the last authentic overnight steamboat in America and the city of Kimmswick and Jefferson County are a fitting home as they perfectly represent the history and nostalgia of America’s steamboat era.”

The allure of the paddlewheel is just one of the many charms to be found cruising along America's rivers on an authentic, vintage steamboat like the DELTA QUEEN. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The allure of the paddlewheel is just one of the many charms to be found cruising along America’s rivers on an authentic, vintage steamboat like the DELTA QUEEN. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The DELTA QUEEN, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is classified as a National Historic Landmark, was purchased by the current owners in February 2015 with the goal to restore the vessel and return it to overnight cruise service. The steamboat has also recently been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a National Treasure.

A photo aboard the steamboat shows the U.S.S. DELTA QUEEN during World War II as the YFB 56 (YFB = Yard Ferry Boat).

A photo aboard the steamboat shows the U.S.S. DELTA QUEEN during World War II as the YFB 56 (YFB = Yard Ferry Boat).

The DELTA QUEEN began service as an overnight passenger vessel in 1927, carrying passengers, cargo and automobiles between Sacramento, Ca. and San Francisco. 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. From 1946 to 2008, the DELTA QUEEN operated as an overnight cruise vessel along many of the prominent rivers and waterways running through America’s heartland and deep South, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Arkansas Rivers.  In her most popular years with the original Delta Queen Steamboat Company she gained two fleetmates in the now scrapped MISSISSIPPI QUEEN and later the AMERICAN QUEEN now operated by the company that carries her name.

The famous grand staircase of the DELTA QUEEN. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The famous grand staircase of the DELTA QUEEN. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The officials representing the DELTA QUEEN hope to have the vessel back in service in 2016 but must first secure a congressional exemption to allow the vessel to return to the overnight cruise trade.  The popular steamboat was put out of service in 2008 by misguided Congressional representatives using the excuse of fire safety concerns stemming from laws regarding ocean-going passenger ships with wooden superstructures.  Anyone interested in seeing the iconic DELTA QUEEN cruise again should contact their U.S. representative and senators and urge them to support House Bill 1248 and Senate Bill 1717.

The unique sound of the DELTA QUEEN's steam calliope has been missing from the rivers for the last seven years. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

The unique sound of the DELTA QUEEN’s steam calliope has been missing from the rivers for the last seven years. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2007.

 Related posts from Shawn J Dake:

Log Of The Steamboat DELTA QUEEN: Along Southern Rivers, Part One

Log Of The Steamboat DELTA QUEEN, Along Southern Rivers Part Two

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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