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
One of the markers at the Rocheport Trailhead for the Katy Trail
Waymark Code: WM15TV7
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 02/26/2022
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member coisos
Views: 2

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.
Steambaot trade help build Missouri's river towns. In fact, Rocheport was a major shipping port for tobacco and hemp before the Civil War.

Who placed it?: Missouri Department of Natural Resources

When was it placed?: 2010

Who is honored?: Travelers, pioneers, traders, and commerce to build the west.

Website about the Monument: [Web Link]

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