An Autobiography: Chapter 31, The Delta Queen

| 10/2/2012 11:38:38 AM

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Georgianna and I were fascinated by the Ohio River when we were growing up in Covington, and our biggest dream was to take a cruise on the Delta Queen steamboat that docked on the Cincinnati side of the river. After we were married, we would walk to the river and listen to the calliope’s notes wafting over the river’s waves. We knew how Mark Twain must have felt as a young boy in Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi River. We would put Tracy and Marc in the stroller and go to the river on beautiful days.

The Delta Queen is world renowned. The grand lady logged more than 2 million miles, carried more than half a million passengers, and is the only boat to be inducted into the National Marine Hall of Fame while still in service. She has entertained presidents, foreign dignitaries, and a multitude of celebrities. The Delta Queen became a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

Delta Queen 001 

Serigraph by Masaaki Tanaka, Japanese artist. 

The Delta Queen was fabricated in Scotland. It was assembled at Banner Island shipyard in Stockton, California, and completed in 1927, about six weeks before Georgianna was born. It went into service for the California Transportation Company and had its last regular run on September 29, 1940, the closing day of the Golden Gate International Exposition or World Fair on Treasure Island.

The Delta Queen was requisitioned by the Navy as a receiving ship for naval reservists, and in the fall of 1941 was sold to a company in New York to be used as an excursion boat on the Hudson River. After Pearl Harbor, the Delta Queen was rushed back into Navy service as an emergency hospital transport. During the founding conference of the United Nations from April 25 to June 26, 1945, the Delta Queen took delegates of the 51 gathered nations on sightseeing trips around San Francisco Bay.

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