- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Steamboats in Louisiana

By:   •  Essay  •  1,058 Words  •  February 16, 2009  •  965 Views

Page 1 of 5

Essay title: Steamboats in Louisiana


Robert Fulton started the very first commercially successful steamboat service in America. His steam-powered paddleboat, the Clermont, sailed up the Hudson River from New York City to Albany in August of 1807. This trip lasted 32 hours

The first steamboats were demonstrated in1787. They were used on the river ways to bring cargo, cotton, sugar, and people to their destinations. The steamboat played a major part in the population growth. The steamboats were usually made of wood and were all kinds of sizes. They looked like giant floating houses with large smokestacks and paddlewheels. They were used for carrying people and supplies up and down the river.

Steamboats were later used as show boats for entertainment. The purchase of Louisiana in 1803 made New Orleans a part of the U.S. and opened the door to gamblers. The high life so popular in New Orleans spread north which ushered in the era of the riverboat gambler. By 1820, 69 steamboats were operating the western rivers. And by 1860, that number had increased to 735. These steamboats were christened "floating palaces with luxurious quarters, world class food well stoked bars and wealthy passengers. In1937 riverboat travel entered the passenger boat era.

Calliopes were used on the boats to let people know that the boat was docked. The name "calliope" comes from the Greek goddess "muse of sound."

The paddle wheels were mounted either on the side or back of the boat. After the Civil War, the stern (back of the boat) paddle wheel was most popular. Although the paddle wheel is very large it draws just a few feet of water. The wheel spins about 18 times a minute with only four planks in the water for best speed. A steamboat travels about 15 miles an hour and 16 to 17 miles an hour on a swift river.

The very first paddle boats ran on wood. Coal replaced wood in 1860 and oil replaced coal in 1950. Many of the earl steamboats burned up because the fire used to create the steam would burn the boat. It took 250 pounds of steam just to blow the whistle.

Maintenance for a 120 ton steamboat was $1,800, 36% of it was for wages paid to officers and crew members, 18% of it was for provisions, 12% of it was for incidentals and insurance, and the rest of it was for 25 cords of wood per day, at $2.50 per cord. One of the most popular steamboats of all time was the Delta Queen. It was designed to accommodate 234 passengers, 40 automobiles on the main deck, 15 on the outside decks, and 350-400 tons of cargo. The passengers were accommodated in 117 staterooms for two persons and a large men's dormitory area forward. The vehicles were carried on her restricted foredeck and also on her maindeck alongside the boilers. The "KEEL BOAT" carries 15 to 20 tons, a crew of 8 to 10 men, has a light construction, and is propelled by oars, sails, and setting poles.

On January 12, 1812, the first steamship to descend the Mississippi River arrived in the Crescent City, New Orleans, LA. It was appropriately named the New Orleans. . Captain Henry Miller Shreve was responsible for the first steamboat. It was far from perfect and did not even have enough power to sail upstream. It made travel easier within Louisiana because there was no other form of reliable transportation to New Orleans. The ships arrival in New Orleans signified the beginning of New Orleans as a major world class seaport. The port of New Orleans has certainly achieved that status today. The city of New Orleans links to the world can be seen by the

Continue for 4 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Steamboats in Louisiana and other term papers or research documents
Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2009, 02). Steamboats in Louisiana. Retrieved 02, 2009, from

"Steamboats in Louisiana" 02 2009. 2009. 02 2009 <>.

"Steamboats in Louisiana.", 02 2009. Web. 02 2009. <>.

"Steamboats in Louisiana." 02, 2009. Accessed 02, 2009.