"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque

www.encyclopediadubuque.org




DUBUQUE BOAT AND BOILER WORKS

From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to: navigation, search
Boat3.jpg
DUBUQUE BOAT AND BOILER WORKS. In April, 1904 equipment belonging to the IOWA IRON WORKS was sold to a new company headed by John F. KILLEEN. This firm, known as the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works, was originally planned to construct boilers and transport ships. (1)

The company received its first government order for dredge boats in 1907. Two boats were constructed of solid steel. They were 97 feet long, 45 feet wide, and one-half foot deep. The vessels were completed in Dubuque down to the installation of machinery which was not of local manufacture. The boats, named #5 and #6, were finished in St. Louis. (2)

Working on a boiler c. 1912. Photographer unknown, “[Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works No. 2 Punch],” Loras College Digital Collections, accessed April 17, 2014, https://digitalcollections.loras.edu/items/show/113.
In 1908 the company received a contract to built twenty-eight barges for freight transportation. (3) In addition to the benefit this construction had on the local economy, the announcement promised cheaper transportation for area farmers and manufacturers. At the time, railroads were charging 7.5 mills per ton for freight; water transportation averaged 1.5 mills per ton. (4) At the same time the order for the barges was received, the company was working on two passenger boats and two towboats. The combined value on their orders was $250,000.

In 1927 Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works completed construction on three paddlewheel steamboats for the newly incorporated Upper Mississippi Barge Line. The first vessel completed was the `C. C. Webber’, and then came the `S. S. Thorpe’ (later re-christened `George M. Verity’ in 1940), and finally the `John W. Weeks’. Samuel S. Thorpe was the first President of the Upper Mississippi Barge Line and was present at the launching when his daughter, Julia, christened the boat with a bottle of ginger ale, as champagne was illegal during PROHIBITION. The noted naval architect Thomas Rees Tarn, who accompanied the Thorpe on its maiden voyage, designed the three vessels. Cost of each vessel was $175,000, a considerable amount in 1927 when that same amount of money would have bought 600 new Model T Fords costing about $290 apiece. (5) The "S. S. Thorpe, named in honor of the first president of the Upper Mississippi Barge Line Company, became the second towboat to be used in reviving river transportation. At 10:10 AM on Monday, August 15, 1927, the S. S. Thorpe departed St. Louis with three barges, carrying 1600 tons of cargo. This maiden voyage was a major turning point in American transportation history for it marked the re-opening of the Upper Mississippi River for the movement of commercial freight. (6)

Nature often determined whether the plant was successful. In 1911 the B. F. Yoakum lay at its moorings in Dubuque for six months waiting for sufficient water to proceed south on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. The "June rise" had not been sufficient for the boat to "shoot the rapids" at Keokuk. The boat took up so much space in the ICE HARBOR that its departure was compared to "the principal store buildings on one of the principal blocks of Main Street suddenly being taken away." (6) The Yoakum was used as an advertisement its entire journal to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each side of the boat carried signs reading:

                  Built by the Dubuque Boat Works.
                  Dubuque Wants More Factories.
                  For information write:
                  Dubuque Industrial Corporation (7)

In addition, Dubuque's Committee on Statistics and Publicity made arrangements for every newspaper on the Mississippi to receive a description of an article about the boat along with a suitable "cut" for newspaper use. It was expected that the newspapers would be glad to publish both. (8)

In 1912 the company was so busy that it employed all the men who made application. There were five boats in production with a spring deadline including the dredge "Waterway" for the United States War Department's use on the Arkansas River. (9)

In March two ferryboats were completed and ready for the launch. The "Rockport" and "Queensboro" were constructed for the Crescent Navigation Company of Evansville, Indiana. Ira DAVENPORT came to Dubuque as a construction superintendent for the company and became the General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer the following year. (10)

In 1914 the company announced that it had been given a government contract to build a combination dredge and snag boat. Named the "Dennison," it was to be used on the Red River in the vicinity of Dallas, Texas. The company, unofficially, was also given contracts for the construction of two boats to be used near Peoria, Illinois and Nashville, Tennessee. The contacts meant a $130,000 boost to the local economy and full employment at the Works for a year. (11)

Willow, a 200-foot, 1,070 ton, side paddlewheel river tender, was built by the Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works for the US Lighthouse Service for service on the Mississippi River. Commissioned in 1924, she was decommissioned and transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers in 1945. At an average construction cost of $250,000 each, the "L. S. Thorne" (1898), "Pelican" (1902), "Albatross" (1907) and "B. F. Yoakum" (1910) and the “Willow” (1924) were important contributors to the Dubuque economy.

Check used by the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works. Photo Courtesy: Bob Reding
The demands of WORLD WAR I put impossible demands on the railroad system in the United States. The Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works, the second oldest boat manufacturing firm in the United States and the only one of its kind on the Mississippi River, was used during the war for the manufacture of tows, barges, dredges, submarine chasers, and Coast Guard cutters. (12)

Nature sometimes made launching newly constructed craft difficult. In October the launching of the $260,000 Del Commune was made possible only after the harbor was dredged to a minimum depth of eleven feet. (13)

During WORLD WAR II, the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works manufactured a variety of vessels for the war effort. In 1941 the company had a contract for the construction of quartermaster distribution box boats used in the defensive mining of United States coastal waters. Each boat took seven days for production. (14) In June, 1941 two cutters were launched. (15) Other ships included tugs and tenders. Grease for the launching slide was difficult to find during the war. For one launch, bananas were pureed and spread on the wooden rails to allow the completed ship to slide into the water. (16) An estimated twenty boats were built during the war. Two new types were mine layers and tenders.

With the end of the war, Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works converted to the production of pleasure craft and was soon rated as one of the major excursion boat manufacturers in the nation. The excursion boat business began gradually. Henry Barr Miller, President and Capt. Dennis Trone, Vice President followed an idea to provide the wealthy post-war public with a unique product recalling the great excursion boats of the 1920s. (17) These new boats were efficient, attractive, and affordable to small operators. All featured the look of the old time steamboats. Some pulled a fake wheel, others were powered by chain-driven wheels, and some had hydraulic rams operating at high pressure much like a true steamboat.

One of the first boats designed by Trone was the Talisman. Built for a company he and his brother called Sangamon Packet Company, the vessel was a relatively small stern-wheeler (60'x16'x3') which operated until the early 1990s at Lincoln's New Salem State Park in Illinois. (18) The vessel used hydraulic rams to operate its paddlewheel. Burning barely 20 gallons an hour and not requiring a licensed engine room staff, the vessel operated with two deck crew (who doubled in the bar and concession stand) and a pilot who could also serve as captain. A replica of a stern-wheeler used for mail and passengers was purchased by St. Louis businessmen as a yacht. In the 1950s the company manufactured a semi-custom houseboat called "Voyager." It was 42 feet long with a sixteen foot beam. Compared to the sleek models today it weighed an incredible 20 tons due to its construction with 3/16 inch steel. In 1967 the company launched a dry dock--a floating U-shaped structure allowing the repair and rebuilding of large river boats. The first vessel to use the dry dock was the "Coal Queen."

A boat ready for the final touches was slid down greased rails into the water and then held from drifting off by workmen with ropes until it could be secured. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Plans for the construction of the Julia Belle Swain. Photo courtesy: National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
All production was not focused on smaller pleasure craft. The "Julia Belle Swain" looked like a steam paddle-wheeler and was designed to carry 400 passengers on its three decks. (19) A loss of business and federal tax liens forced the business to close in 1972.(20)

Boats Constructed by the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works: (21)

See: BOAT BUILDING

Name-----Purchaser-----Type of Boat-----Year

Albatross,Louisiana & Mississippi Valley Transfer Co.,Rail Transfer(largest in the world at the time),1907. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways
Fort Chartres-Corps of Engineers-Suction Dredge-1908. Photo courtesy: https://www.dredgepoint.org/dredging-database/equipment/fort-chartres
Fort Cage-Corps of Engineers-Suction Dredge-1908. Photo courtesy: https://www.dredgepoint.org/dredging-database/equipment/fort-cage
B. F. Yoakum, Rail Transfer, 1910. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Waterway, U. S. War Department, Dredge, 1912. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways
Iroquois, Corps of Engineers, Towboat,1912. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways
Scioto, Corps of Engineers, Towboat,1912. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways
Tollinger, Corps of Engineers, Towboat,1913. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways

Dennison-----Corps of Engineers-----Dredge/Snagboat-----1914

H S Taber-----Corps of Engineers-----Cutter Dredge-----1914

Robert McGregor-----Corps of Engineers-----Cutter Dredge-----1914

Comanche-----Corps of Engineers-----Towboat-----1915

Warioto, Corps of Engineers,Towboat,1915. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways

Denison-----Corps of Engineers-----Snagboat-----1915

SC 149, US Navy, Sub Chaser1918. Image courtesy: http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/1215014901.jpg

SC 150-----US Navy-----Sub Chaser-----1918

Kankakee, US Coast Guard, Tender, 1919. Photo courtesy: http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/WLR_Photo_Index.asp

Mississippi-----(unclassified)-----1922

Kiwanis-----Cairo Ferry Company-----Ferry-----1923

John C. Irwin-----Corps of Engineers-----Towboat-----1924

425-----?-----Tank Barge-----1924

Willow, US Coast Guard, Light House Tender,1926
C. C. Webber, Upper Mississippi Barge Line, Towboat,1927. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

General T. Q. Ashburn----Upper Mississippi Barge Line-----Towboat-----1927

S. S. Thorpe (re-christened George M. Verity)-Towboat-1927. Photo courtesy: andmarkhunter.com/136468-geo-verity/
John W. Weeks, Upper Mississippi Barge Line, Towboat, 1928. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways
John J. Hoopes, Corps of Engineers,1929. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.
James W. Good, Federal Barge Line, Towboat,1930. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.
Patrick J. Hurley, Federal Barge Line, Towboat,1930. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways
Herbert Hoover, Inland Waterways Corporation, Towboat, 1931. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.
Todd, Corps of Engineers, Cutter-suction dredge,1932. Photo courtesy: https://www.dredgepoint.org/dredging-database/equipment/todd

Myrtle-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1932

Pine-----Corps of Engineers-----Flood Control-----1934

Oak-----Corps of Engineers-----Flood Control-----1934

Cypress, Corps of Engineers, Flood Control, 1934. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

Sergeant Pryor-----Corps of Engineers----Survey Boat-----1935

Del Commune, Corps of Engineers, Towboat,1937. Built at a cost of $260,000 Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

Goldenrod-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1938

Mobile-----Federal Barge Lines-----Ocean tug-----1938

Poplar, US Coast Guard, Tender, 1939. Photo courtesy: http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/WLR_Photo_Index.asp


Bluebonnet, US Coast Guard, Tender, 1939. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

Sycamore-----US Coast Guard-----Cutter-----1941

William L. Guthrie-US Army-Suction Dredge-1941. Photo courtesy: https://www.dredgepoint.org/dredging-database/equipment/william-l-guthrie

L 73-----US Army-----Dist. Box Boat-----1942

L 74-----US Army-----Dist. Box Boat-----1942

L 75-----US Army-----Dist. Box Boat-----1942

L 76-----US Army-----Dist. Box Boat-----1942

L 77-----US Army-----Dist. Box Boat-----1942

L 100-----US Army-----Dist. Box Boat-----1942

L 101-----US Army-----Dist. Box Boat-----1942

ST 47-----US Army-----Tug-----1942

ST 48-----US Army-----Tug-----1943

ST 49-----US Army-----Tug-----1943

Cosmos-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1943

Barberry-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1943

Rambler-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1943

Brier-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1943

Smilax-US Coast Guard-Tender-1944. Photo courtesy: http://esc-pod.com/tag/coast-guard/

Primrose-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1944

Verbena-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1944

Foxglove-----US Coast Guard-----Tender-----1945

Blueberry-----U.S. Coast Guard-----Buoy Tender-----1946

Blackberry-----U.S. Coast Guard-----Buoy Tender-----1946

Chokeberry, U.S. Coast Guard, Buoy Tender, 1946. Photo courtesy: http://esc-pod.com/tag/coast-guard/

Loganberry-----U.S. Coast Guard-----Buoy Tender-----1946

Dell Queen-----Wisconsin Ducks Inc.-----Excursion Boat-----1949

Commander, Dells Boat Tours LLC, Excursion Boat, 1950. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

Quiver-----Havana Dock Enterprises LLC-----Towboat-----1951

Mary-----Molo Sand & Gravel-----Towboat-----1951

Commodore-----Dells Boat Tours LLC-----Excursion Boat-----1952

Pathfinder, Corps of Engineers, Towboat, 1954. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

Tar Heel-----Star Towing Corporation-----Towboat-----1955

Memphis Queen II, Capt. E. B. Langford, Excursion Boat, 1955. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

Dorothy A.-----Allgire Tug Boat Co.-----Towboat-----1955

Julius N. Dubuque II, River Excursions, 1956

Ida P.-----Boh Bros Construction Co LLC-----Towboat-----1957

Ethlyn P.-----Boh Bros Construction Co LLC-----Towboat-----1957

Cecile H.-----Tennessee Valley Authority-----Towboat-----1958

Lilly Belle-----R. A. Hastings-----Excursion Boat-----1959

Bayou Belle-----Ralph Martin-----Excursion Boat-----1959

Coal Queen, Bissell Towing, Towboat, 1959 Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.

Lucy Woodstock-----EXPLORE Institute-----Research Vessel-----1959

Belle of Hot Springs, Belle of Hot Springs Inc., Excursion Boat, 1960. Photo: http://www.belleriverboat.com/
Julie N. Dubuque II-John N. Bull-Excursion Boat-1960
Talisman-New Salem State Park-Excursion Boat-1961

Commander-----Ozark Excursions LLC-----Excursion Boat-----1961

Sunliner-----Wendella Sightseeing-----Excursion Boat-----1961

Slufoot-----Charles C. Gram-----Recreational-----1961

Lady Joan-----?-----Excursion Boat-----1962

Ole Susannah-----River Cruises Inc.-----Excursion Boat-----1962

Gateway Clipper-----Gateway Clipper Line-----Excursion Boat-----1962

Luella Belle-----Cal Harbor Excursions-----Excursion Boat-----1962

Lady M-----?-----Excursion Boat-----1962

Prairie Gal-----?-----Excursion Boat-----1963

Jubilee I-----Sun Line Cincinnati-----Excursion Boat-----1963

Showboat-----Rainbow River Tours-----Excursion Boat-----1963

Mark Twain-----Streckfus Steamers-----Excursion Boat-----1963

Golden Arrow-----St. Louis syndicate-----Excursion Boat-----1964

Mark Twain-Riverboat Excursions Inc.-Excursion Boat-1964. Photo courtesy: http://fautrever.com/2009/09/29/mark-twain-country/

Tom Sawyer, Loc-Wood Boat & Motors Inc.---Excursion Boat---1965.

Biscayne Belle-Grey Line Tours-Excursion Boat-1965. Photo courtesy: Miami News, March 23, 1966

Paddlewheel Queen-----ICW Entertainment Inc.-----Excursion Boat-----1965

Showboat II-----Rainbow River Tours-----Excursion Boat-----1965

Tom Sawyer,Streckfus Steamers, Excursion Boat,1966

Prairie Gal II-----?-----Excursion Boat-----1966

Harbour Town Ferry-----Yacht Time at Harbour Towne-----Excursion Boat-----1966

Belle Carol,John Halverson,Excursion Boat,1967
Capt Clark's Showboat-Captain Clark’s Boat Line-Excursion Boat-1967

Lady D.-----?-----Excursion Boat-----1967

Miss Green River II, M. E. Nash, Excursion Boat, 1968

Showboat-----Captain Clark’s Boat Line-----Excursion Boat-----1968

The Sandy-----Forever/NPC Resorts LLC-----Excursion Boat-----1968

?-----?-----Yacht-----1968

Arc-----L. I. F. E.-----Tanker-----1969

Border Star, Missouri River Nav. Co.,Excursion Boat, 1969
Jonathan Padelford, Padelford Packet Boat Co., Excursion Boat,1970. Photo courtesy: https://wiki.cincinnatilibrary.org/index.php/Shipyards_and_Marine_Ways.
Lady Mim, Excursion Boat,1970

Don Rob T.-----Quarry Creek Land Developers-----Recreational-----1970

City of New Madrid-----St Jude & New Madrid Harbor-----Towboat-----1971


The 1916-1917 White's Dubuque County Directory listed 550 3rd as the address.

The 1939 to 1970 Dubuque City Directory listed the company as the Dubuque Boat & Boiler Company at 302 E. 3rd.


See: BOAT BUILDING

---

Source:

1. Kruse, Len. "The Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works," My Old Dubuque. Center for Dubuque History, Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa 2000 p. 111-116

2. "Two Dredge Boats Are Being Built," Telegraph Herald, Apr. 14, 1907, p. 21. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TMRBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=sqkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5501,5031817&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

3. "Contract Let for 28 Barges," Telegraph Herald, Sept. 20, 1908, p. 5. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=H_lCAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-qsMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5165,6195979&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

4. Ibid.

5. Tschiggfrie, David. "The George M. Verity Story," (ed. Rich Taylor). Online: http://www.geomverity.org/George%20M.pdf

6. Ibid.

7. "Advertises City the Length of River," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 15, 1911, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wxJeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=CmANAAAAIBAJ&pg=4188,6804129&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

8. "Use Yoakum to Advertise City," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 27, 1911, p. 2

9. "Boat Works Are Busy," Telegraph Herald, Jan. 24, 1912, p. 9. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=aBNeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EWANAAAAIBAJ&pg=3332,3078537&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

10. "Will Launch Two Ferry Boats Soon," Telegraph Herald, Mar. 26, 1916, p. 10. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=4w1eAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4V8NAAAAIBAJ&pg=3595,634161&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

11. "Contracts Will Net $130,000," Telegraph Herald, June 4, 1914, p. 4. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XgheAAAAIBAJ&sjid=318NAAAAIBAJ&pg=1901,107360&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

12. "Work Started on Two 'Sub Chasers," Telegraph Herald, May 10, 1917, p. 3. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=AQleAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6V8NAAAAIBAJ&pg=6710,1896930&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

13. "Big Tow Boat Launched Here," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 24, 1937, p. 1. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-OxBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GaoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2309,4651556&dq=stout+house+dubuque&hl=en

14. "Fifth Quartermaster Boat to be Launched," Telegraph Herald, Nov. 10, 1941, p. 4. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=r1lFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2rsMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6707,6812179&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

15. "Dubuque Launches Two Cutters," New York Times, June 17, 1941. Online: https://www.google.com/search?q=Dubuque+Boat+and+Boiler+Works&tbs=nws:1,ar:1&source=newspapers#q=Dubuque+Boat+and+Boiler+Works&start=40&tbm=nws&tbs=ar:1

16. Fryxell, David. "Boat Building Tradition Helps Launch Museum Exhibit," Dec. 4, 1983, p. 8. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Y-lFAAAAIBAJ&sjid=C_gMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4695,374253&dq=dubuque+boat+and+boiler+works&hl=en

17. Vasconcelos, Travis, "Dubuque-Built Diesel Excursion Boats," Online: http://www.steamboats.org/history-education/dubuque-built-diesel-excursion-boats.html

18. Ibid.

19. Ibid.

20. Fryxell

21."Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works, Dubuque, Iowa" Shipbuilding History, Online: http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/5small/inactive/dubuque.htm