LA CROSSE HISTORY
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THE LA CROSSE AREA'S HISTORY, DIGITIZED

Boats & Boating


Resources

—Boats and Boating—


Author:
La Crosse County Historical Society
Subject:
Mississippi River--Navigation--History
Steamboats--Mississippi River--History
Transportation
Inland water transportation--Mississippi River--History
Creator:
Bristow, Ruth
Description:
A chapter in the La Crosse County Historical Sketches that discusses steamboat companies or lines and navigation in early La Crosse written by Ruth Bristow.
Author:
La Crosse County Historical Society
Subject:
Transportation
Steamboats--Mississippi River--History
Mississippi River--Navigation--History
Creator:
Bristow, Ruth
Description:
A chapter in the La Crosse County Historical Sketches, series 1, on early steamboat history on the Mississippi River written by Ruth Bristow.
Author:
La Crosse County Historical Society
Subject:
Transportation
Steamboats--Mississippi River--History
Boats and boating
Creator:
Jagow, Charles
Description:
A chapter in the La Crosse County Historical Sketches, series 1, on early transportation on the Upper Mississippi River written by Charles Jagow.
Author:
La Crosse Public Library
Creator:
La Crosse Tribune
Description:
Newspaper articles related to the fire and sinking of the steamboat "J. S." On June 25, 1910, the excursion Steamboat "J. S." burned and sank near Victory, Vernon County, with close to 1000 people on board. The trip left from Lansing, Iowa, and was bound for La Crosse, Wis., 30 miles up the Mississippi River. At 6 p.m. the "J. S." left La Crosse to make her return trip.
Fire was detected and the pilot steered the boat toward shore as the passengers panicked. Within two minutes of the ringing of the fire bell, Pilot George Nichols pulled the "J. S." alongside Bad Axe Island where crew members pulled out the gangplank for passengers to exit. In the end, two people were killed, including a man held in the boat's hold for being disruptive and intoxicated. The boat burned and sank about 300 feet from shore.
Author:
La Crosse Public Library
Description:
Newspaper articles related to the explosion of the steamboat "James Malbon." James Malbon, a La Crosse steamboat captain, was piloting a new steamboat named for him when a flaw in the boiler caused it to explode on July 30, 1872, near North McGregor, Iowa. At the time of the accident, the 29 year-old captain was in the pilot house and was killed in the explosion. According to newspaper accounts, eight people were killed or lost, 13 saved and four were listed as wounded. The official inspector's report said eight of the crew were killed and five injured.
The cost of construction of the 120 ton boat was $14,000 and it was built for the Keator Lumber Company. This explosion caused a stir as raft boats, such as the "James Malbon," were more likely to explode than the more powerful packet boats. In the end, inspectors determined that the cause of the accident was great recklessness and carelessness on the part of W. Harvey Pierce, second engineer, on watch at the time. His license was revoked. The engines were salvaged and later placed in the Robert Ross built in 1873.
Author:
La Crosse Public Library
Description:
A collection of newspaper articles about the burning of the steamboat "War Eagle." On May 14, 1870, the "War Eagle", a sidewheel packet boat, arrived at La Crosse. She dropped off passengers at the city landing at State and Front streets, then proceeded north to the railroad depot on the Black River to take on freight and await the midnight train from Milwaukee. When the train arrived, passengers and freight were transferred to the "War Eagle" for transport to St. Paul, MN. Among the items loaded were wooden barrels filled with "Danforth's Non-Explosive Petroleum Fluid" - a kind of lamp oil. While not explosive, it turned out to be quite flammable.
While loading the barrels onto the "War Eagle," it was reported to Capt. Thomas Cushing that one of the barrels was leaking. The Captain ordered the boat's carpenter to fix it. Soon, the barrel was ablaze as well as the ship's carpenter. He jumped into the water to extinguish the fire from his clothes. The barrel was rolled off the left side of the boat, a barge lay alongside, preventing the crew from rolling it into the water. Fire and black smoke rapidly spread to the wooden boat. Only five people are believed to have lost their lives as a result. However, many other buildings and trains were damaged, and freight lost as well as the steamboat "War Eagle."
Author:
La Crosse County Historical Society
Subject:
Mississippi River--Navigation--History
La Crosse River--Navigation--History
Steamboats--Mississippi River--History
Boats and boating
La Crosse (Wis.)--History
Creator:
Hirshheimer, Harry J.
Description:
A chapter in the La Crosse County Historical Sketches, series 7, about the La Crosse River and the Davidson family, well known steamboat and packet company owners and manufacturers in La Crosse. Other lines and the influence of the railroad is also discussed. Written by Harry J. Hirshheimer.
Author:
La Crosse County Historical Society
Subject:
Transportation
Mississippi River--Navigation--History
Steamboats--Mississippi River--History
Inland water transportation--Mississippi River--History
La Crosse (Wis.)--History
Creator:
Winslow, Edward M.
Description:
A chapter in La Crosse County Historical Sketches, series 2, on early La Crosse steamboats on the Mississippi River and Root River in Minnesota written by Edward M. Winslow.
Author:
University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries
Subject:
Mississippi River--Navigation--History
Steamboats--Mississippi River--History
Photographs
Steamboats--Columbia River--History
Steamboats--Missouri River--History
Steamboats--Ohio River--History
Creator:
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center
Description:
The UW-La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photograph collection consists of over 40,000 photographic images of steamboats on the inland waterways of the United States, primarily the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers and their tributaries. The photos depict steamboats in every phase of their life span from construction to destruction and every aspect of their daily operations from the 1850s to the present. The photos show steamboats in all sort of settings on the water; going through a lock, at a city's waterfront or levee, tied up at shore as they went about their everyday business of hauling freight and passengers and towing barges and rafts. For some steamboats, especially the bigger excursion boats, there may be over a hundred photographs to view; for other boats, there might be only a single photo to document its existence. Besides steamboats, other types of images in the collection include steamboat captains, engineers, pilots, passengers and crews; city and town waterfronts; levees; locks and dams; and river-related activities such as fishing, swimming and clamming.
Author:
Wisconsin Public Television
Subject:
La Crosse (Wis.)--History
Creator:
David Hestad
Carol Larson
Wisconsin Public Television
Wisconsin Historical Society
Description:
Wisconsin Hometown Stories: La Crosse is a movie available in streaming video and transcript that follows the evolution of the city at the junction of the Mississippi, Black and La Crosse Rivers from its earliest days to the present. Also available here are links to teacher resources, an interactive map and gallery of the 1867 birdseye view of La Crosse, and a short history of La Crosse written by Michael Goc. This was produced through a partnership of the Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin Historical Society.