Steamboating on the Missouri - Rocheport, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 58.653 W 092° 33.654
15S E 538034 N 4314376
Quick Description: One of the markers at the Rocheport Trailhead for the Katy Trail
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 2/26/2022 8:20:16 AM
Waymark Code: WM15TV6
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Geo Ferret
Views: 1

Long Description:

County of marker: Boone County
Location of marker: 1st St. & Ward St., Katy Trail Trailhead, Rocheport
Erected by: Missouri Department of Nature Resources
Date Erected: 2010

Marker Text:
Steamboating on the Missouri

First Steamboats

Early steamboat trips on the Missouri River tested boats, crews and passengers. Between 1820 and 1900, several hundred steamboats on the Missouri were destroyed by fire or boiler explosions, crushed by ice, or sunk by snags. The first steamboat to navigate a significant distance on this untamed river was the Independence. In May 1819, the Independence set out from St. Louis loaded with flour, whiskey, iron, sugar and passengers. After 13 days and 150 miles, the boat reached Franklin, Mo., and was greeted by a huge celebration. The Independence continued to Chariton before returning to St. Louis.

An Army Exedition
The success of the Independence fueled enthusiasm to travel the Missouri River by steamboat. In June 1819, an army expedition of four steamboats and nine keelboats headed to the Yellowstone River in present-day Montana. Maj. Stephen Long led the scientific part of the expedition in the Western Engineer, and stopped at Franklin for a week-long celebration. But one by one, the remaining boats fell far behind. In a year's time, the expedition progressed only 860 miles, and the boats were deemed unfit to continue. Congress canceled further funding of the expedition. It would be 13 years before another steamboat, the Yellowstone, completed the journey.

Steamboats Draw Rocheport Residents
As steamboats became more reliable, boats carried people and goods up and down the river. For Rocheport residents, moonlight excursion on steam ferries were a favorite recreation. In 1836, the sidewheeler Diana sank on a snag at today's Diana Bend, about 2½ miles above Rocheport. The Little Dick steam ferry took passengers in 1880 and 1881, then sank. In 1890, the Plow Boy advertised a grand excursion to Mammoth (now Rocheport) Cave, three miles below Rocheport.

End of an Era
Steamboating on the Missouri lasted from 1819 through the 1902's. Railroads gradually took away passengers and long-haul freight from boats. By 1910, a few family-owned companies operated small freight boats, mostly along the Gasconade and Osage rivers where railways were fewer. These companies also carried passengers on day trips.
Steamboat trade help build Missouri's river towns. In fact, Rocheport was a major shipping port for tobacco and hemp before the Civil War.

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
"In the steamboat’s glory days right before the Civil War, there would be on average, 60 boats traveling through different ports along the Missouri River each day. Cargo of agricultural products, furs and settlers would move up and down the river. From St. Louis to Montana.

"But, the river was turbulent and unpredictable back then. Many steamboats sank on the trip, yet companies kept putting more boats back on the river.

"Today, many of the steamboats that once sank in the waters of the Missouri River over 150 years ago are no longer in the water. They’re actually buried under ground, some under farmland a mile away from where the river is or was.

,p> "In this episode, we try to figure out what made so many steamboats sink and why are the wrecks so far away from the water." ~ KBIA


Additional point: Not Listed

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