Presented by Robert Swenson, emeritus SIU Associate Professor of Architecture, retired architect, and Heritage Preservation Consultant.
Mr. Swenson will present his on-going research about 19th Century Steamboats built at towns along the Lower Ohio River. Born 1941 and raised on the lower Ohio, Mr. Swenson will share research obtained from over 50 libraries, museums, and research centers throughout the inland river system, and personal memories growing up in Metropolis - riding on the Delta Queen and listening to the late night sounds of the deep mellow steam whistles on the river while trying to sleep on hot muggy summer nights. He will share research about the over 260 steamers known to be built at Smithland, Paducah, Metropolis, Mound City, and Cairo beginning in the 1820s through the 1930s. The story includes boats that played significant roles during the Civil War, boats built for the Missouri River trade during the Gold Rush, railroad ferries, logging boats, and the 327 foot long "cotton boat" Mary Belle, one of the largest ever to ply the lower Ohio and Mississippi rivers in the 1870s.