Steamboat Times
Steamer on the Tennessee

Credit:
Artist, Harry Fenn (1845-1911). Medium: Wood engraving, hand-colored. See original woodcut.
Created: 1872, published in Volume I of Picturesque America.

Enlargement: 579 x 437pxs.


'Steamboat Warping Through a Suck'  circa 1872

Navigating the Tennessee River was especially challenging for steamboats. Some ten miles below Chattanooga there was a narrow gorge called The Suck, also known as the Valley of the Whirlpool Rapids.

This is a hand-colored woodcut of a steamer being tediously 'warped through a suck' on the Tennessee River. A 'suck' is a narrow channel where the current concentrates forming a swift chute, sometimes too swift for a steamer to negotiate without being 'warped' upstream with windlasses from the bank, while under steam. Such work would be required more and more as boats climbed further toward the headwaters, and as river levels fell during the season.

Steamboats running up tributaries needed to be light and shallow-drafted, while powerful enough to overcome most swift water. Even non-navigable water could be ovecome with sufficient ingenuity and effort. On the Missouri, steamboats used 'stilts' to lever themselves over sand-bars. 
Night Stop At Bayou Sara

Credit:
Artist, John Stobart.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Enlargement: 1250 x 904pxs.

'Night Call at Bayou Sara'

Bayou Sara, a town of some 500 inhabitants located in south-eastern Louisianna, took its name and from its Bayou Sara Creek confluence with the Mississippi, which provided flatboatmen with a safe anchorage.  Steamboats and the cotton trade turned the town into one of the largest cottonports on the river. The lively years declined before the Civil War, the result of fire, flood, and the boll weevil. To avoid frequent flooding, market places were established up on the nearby bluff, where the town of St. Francisville was eventually built. Hardly a trace of Bayou Sara remains today.

In this damply atmospheric night scene the Belle Amour is taking on cotton from a rain-soaked Bayou Sara landing. The night is wet and misty, and the pilot will be thinking about the visibility on the reaches downriver toward Baton Rouge.

John Stobart is a leading maritime artist, with an extraordinary ability to render realistic lighting, day or night. Prints are available in Limited Editions. Please contact Maritime Heritage Prints for further information about this print.
Pittsburgh: The Sternwheel Packet Dean Adams

Credit:
Artist, John Stobart.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Enlargement: 650 x 389pxs.

Maritime Heritage Prints
'Pittsburgh: Packet Dean Adams' ~ 1880

The original native tribe of the Pittsburgh region, the Monongahela, having no resistance to European diseases, disappeared along with all humans from vast sections of western Pennsylvania in the 1600s, a decline hastened by the fur trade and the resulting depletion of game. However, soon other tribes, displaced from the south and east ~ of Iroquois and Algonquian origins, especially the Shawnee, Seneca, Susquehannock, and the Lenni Lenape (Delaware), moved in to take their place.

In the 1700s, both the British and French realized the strategic importance of Pittsburgh's wilderness location at the forks of the Ohio, a meeting place to trade for furs with the Indians. The French saw the Ohio River Valley as the most viable route to connect New France (Canada) with their Louisiana Territory.

In this painting, the Dean Adams enters the confluence of the Allegheny (left), and the Monongahela (right), joining to form the beginning of the Ohio River. The covered wooden bridge, the Richardsonian Courthouse, Duquesne University and the Point and Smithfield Street Bridges all blend into this composition as the Dean Adams approaches the Monongahela Wharf.

The full title is: 'Pittsburgh - The Stern Wheel Packet Dean Adams Arriving In Port In 1880.'

John Stobart is a leading maritime artist, with an extraordinary ability to render realistic lighting, day or night. Prints are available in Limited Editions. Please contact Maritime Heritage Prints for further information about this print.
Cincinnati, The Packet Hudson Arriving

Credit:
Artist, John Stobart.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Enlargement:
986 x 662pxs.

'Cincinnati, The Packet Hudson Arriving' ~ 1880

Established in the late 18th Century as Losantiville, the prime location of the settlement on the north bank of the Ohio ensured its success as one of the most important cities in what was then considered the west. Renamed Cincinnati in 1790, it experienced unprecedented growth as a major supply center and jumping off point for westward exploration and settlement via the navigable waterways of the Mississippi Basin. The city became an important focus of the abolitionist movement, as people from around the state made their way there to make their case for the end of slavery across the river in Kentucky.

Here, the sternwheel packet Hudson emerges from a deep shadow into evening sunlight. Of the six riverboats named Hudson, this was number five, launched in 1875 at Murrysville, West Virginia, and completed at Wheeling.

John Stobart is a leading maritime artist, with an extraordinary ability to render realistic lighting, day or night. Prints are available in Limited Editions. Please contact Maritime Heritage Prints for further information about this print.
Baton Rouge

Credit:
Artist, John Stobart.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Enlargement:
650 x 389pxs.



'Baton Rouge' ~ 1881

Baton Rouge is French for “red stick.” When French explorer D’Iberville led his exploration party up the Mississippi River in 1699, the group came to a cypress tree on a bluff above the river stripped of its bark and covered with bloody animal and fish heads, marking the boundary between Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds. They called the tree "le baton rouge," or red stick. The native name for the site had been Istrouma.

In 1718, Dartaguette established the first French settlement in the area. In the mid-1700s when French-speaking settlers of Acadia, Canada's maritime regions, were driven into exile by British forces, many migrated to rural Louisiana. Descendants of the Acadians, popularly known as Cajuns, maintained a separate culture that has enriched the Baton Rouge area. In 1763, the British took control and called their outpost New Fort Richmond.

Following the American Revolution the Spanish took control of the region until 1810, when they were overthrown by local settlers, raising the U.S. flag over the region for the first time.

Baton Rouge was incorporated in 1817. River traffic flourished as steamboats, flatboats and barges crowded the riverfront. The state capital was moved to Baton Rouge from New Orleans in 1849 and remained there until the Civil War halted economic progress. Baton Rouge's population of 5,500 remained in the Confederacy for 16 months, until May 29, 1862, when Union troops arrived to occupy the city.

In this painting, the new Anchor Line's packet Baton Rouge approaches from downriver as a ferry heads upstream to avoid a large log-raft moving down. The year is 1881, when Mark Twain returned to the river to research Life On The Mississippi, travelling with his former cub-pilot mentor Horace Bixby, on the Baton Rouge.

The full title of this painting is: 'Baton Rouge: Anchor Line Steam Packet City of Baton Rouge in 1881'

John Stobart is a leading maritime artist, with an extraordinary ability to render realistic lighting, day or night. Prints are available in Limited Editions. Please contact Maritime Heritage Prints for further information about this print.
Floods on the Mississippi

Credit:
Artist, F.T. Anderson,
Harper's Weekly, March 1882.

Enlargement: 911 x 689pxs.
'Floods on the Mississippi' ~ 1882

Quote:~
In the decades following the Civil War, little was accomplished in the Mississippi River Valley of the South to prevent the damage to the natural and built environment that occurred during the periodic floods. The Southern states, where levees had been damaged by the Civil War, experienced severe flooding in 1865, 1867, 1874, and 1882. The latter was the most severe.

The great flood of 1882 ravaged communities along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and their tributaries. In Cincinnati, heavy rains began on Sunday night, February 19, 1882, and lasted for two days, causing the Ohio River to rise at a rate of two inches per hour. The flood blocked railroad tracks entering the city, submerged homes and factories, displaced hundreds of families and put thousands out of work temporarily. Similar scenes occurred along the Ohio in southern Indiana and Illinois.

Even more serious was the flooding along the Mississippi River, from Illinois and St. Louis virtually all the way down to the delta of New Orleans. The 1882 flood was one of the most devastating to the lower Mississippi River Valley. The water easily broke through most of the levees, burying entire towns, killing livestock and other animals, and forcing thousands of residents to flee for safety. In Arkansas alone, an estimated 20,000 people were left homeless. In some places the overflowing Mississippi River transformed the adjacent communities into a lake, 15-miles wide. Private steamboat companies rescued those stranded by the flood, as did the Army Corps of Engineers and the Quartermaster Corps, which also distributed rations to the victims.
Credit:~ Robert C. Kennedy.
Natchez: The Robert E. Lee Arriving

Credit:
Artist, John Stobart.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Enlargement: 1250 x 771pxs.

'Natchez: The Robert E. Lee Arriving' ~ 1882

Well situated on high ground on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River midst productive cotton country, the town of Natchez thrived on its inherent strategic economic importance in the 19th Century.

At the river landing known as "Natchez-Under-the-Hill", plantation owners despatched their cotton on steamboats to New Orleans, or sometimes upriver to St. Louis, Missouri, or Cincinnati, Ohio, where the cotton would be sold and transported to Northern spinning mills.

Before the Civil War, Natchez wealth rivalled any city in the United States due to the large number of plantation owners who held farmland across the river in Louisiana, while locating their mansions on higher ground in Mississippi. Natchez remained largely undisturbed during the Civil War, although Union troops under General Ulysses S. Grant occupied the city in 1863. Numerous residents, however, participated in the war and many families lost their antebellum fortunes.

The Natchez economy recovered after the Civil War as much of the commercial traffic on the Mississippi River resumed. The cotton trade, the development of local industries like logging, and an influx of manufactured goods from Northern markets like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, ensured a lively riverfront.

John Stobart is a leading maritime artist, with an extraordinary ability to render realistic lighting, day or night. Prints are available in Limited Editions. Please contact Maritime Heritage Prints for further information about this print.
Pittsburgh Landing

Credit:
Currier & Ives.

Enlargement: 583 x 451pxs.
'Pittsburgh Landing'

Because travel over the Allegheny Mountains was difficult, Pittsburghers soon learned to produce goods themselves rather than pay and wait for shipments from the east. By the 1790s, the population was only about 300, but many were skilled craftsmen such as blacksmiths, weavers, shoemakers, saddlers, tanners, brewers, tinsmiths, cabinet makers, and other artisans who could transform the region's agricultural products into valuable goods that could be used locally or shipped and sold downriver.

The first and largest industry in the 1800s was boat building ~ flatboats to transport pioneers and goods downriver, and keelboats, which with a strong crew could be propelled upstream to make multiple trips.

Early Pittsburgh, a jumping-off point for people bound down the river after the arduous crossing of the mountains, became known as the "Gateway to the West," long before St. Louis assumed the mantle of westward expansion.

The regions abundant resources were constantly shipped in to the city, including vast lumber rafts from northern forests, and barges of coal pushed by steamboats up and down the Monongahela. Situated on one of the world's biggest coal deposits, Pittsburgh was also surrounded with oil, clay, limestone, natural gas, and sand suitable for glass-making. To supply iron during the War of 1812, foundries, rolling mills, machine shops, and forges sprang up on flat land along the rivers. With the growth of these factories and an expanding river trade, the population grew to allow Pittsburgh to be incorporated as a city in 1816.
Pittsburgh: Moonlight Over the Monongahela

Credit:
Artist, John Stobart.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Enlargement: 678 x 452pxs.

'Pittsburgh: The Monongahela Wharf' ~ 1883

The second of four boats named Kate Adams is backing out from the busy landing in front of the Monongahela Hotel, seen from a viewpoint above the deck of the Smithfield Street Bridge. She is leaving on a delivery trip to her owners, the Memphis and Arkansas City Packet Co., Memphis, Tennessee.

This palatial cotton boat was built twelve miles down the Ohio at the Sewickley boat yard with her machinery installed by James Rees & Sons Co. at Pittsburgh. The wide lower deck of the Kate Adams was designed to carry over a thousand bales of cotton during the harvest season and on the second deck the passenger accommodations were luxurious with her interior finished in ash, walnut, cherry, bird's-eye maple and mahogany.

During the nineteenth century the abundance of hard timber in the Allegheny foothills of Western Pennsylvania and the iron and steel shops in the Pittsburgh area resulted in a sizeable boat building industry along the upper Ohio and Monongahela Rivers.

The sternwheeler Hudson, an upper Ohio River packet, is visible to the left. Sternwheel boats were economical to operate and well suited to the upper Ohio River trade where frequent landings at small villages and farms were required.

The full title is: 'Pittsburgh - The Monongahela Wharf Seen From Smithfield Street Bridge, 1883.'

John Stobart is a leading maritime artist, with an extraordinary ability to render realistic lighting, day or night. Prints are available in Limited Editions. Please contact Maritime Heritage Prints for further information about this print.



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