Delta Queen Steamboat

, Tennessee

Built in 1927, the Delta Queen is America's last remaining overnight paddle-wheeled steamboat still operating on the inland waterways.  She is a designated National Historic Landmark and has a storied past, including steamer passage on the Sacramento River and service as troop barracks during World War II.  Her interior features Tiffany-style stained glass, hardwood paneling, brass fittings, and a grand staircase crowned by a crystal chandelier.  Since 1948 the Delta Queen has plied the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, with festive stops at communities along the way.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation has offered tours aboard Delta Queen for many years.

Because of her wooden superstructure, the Delta Queen has operated under a statutory exemption from the Safety of Life at Sea Act since the late 1960s, and extensive safety precautions had been implemented by her owners.  The exemption had been granted nine times previously, but it expired in November 2008, limiting the number of overnight passengers the Delta Queen can carry to 50, rather than her capacity of 176. 

On February 11th, the Delta Queen arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to begin service as a floating hotel.  This is good news for the boat, keeping her maintained and open to the public, but is only a temporary solution.  The Delta Queen's significance rests on her service as an operating vessel, plying America's inland waterways as she has since 1927.  For more information, visit:

The legendary Delta Queen, whose distinctions include a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, is no longer taking travelers down the mighty Mississippi. From its late 19th-century steam calliope to its grand staircase, this 80 year old grande dame has delighted the generations that have graced her decks. National Trust for Historic Preservation Tours has a long history with this famous steamboat. The very first tour offered to  National  Trust members was aboard this illustrious paddlewheeler almost 40 years ago.    

We encourage you to share your memories of the Delta Queen.  Whether you joined us on a National Trust Study Tour, or planned your own trip on this majestic steamboat, we'd like to hear your stories of traveling down the mighty Mississippi.

Tell Us About Your Experiences on the Delta Queen


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Submitted by Alexandra~Titanic.Historian~ at: March 22, 2009
I was so excited to see the Delta Queen in Pittsburgh five times last year. But, I could see her depart the last time becuase of the 250th PIttsburgh celebration. I wish to see her back in the Pittsbugh waters!! I really miss the Delta Queen!!!

Submitted by Sue Riley at: March 21, 2009
My husband, his parents and I have taken two trips on the Delta Queen. Those trips gave us an experience of stepping back in time as no other event could have done. I thought after the last trip that it would be something we could do in the future with my brother and his wife. That they will denied the experience as well as countless others for no valid or good reason is a travesty. The Delta Queen belongs on the river giving people a chance to experience something that is truely rare in todays world. Please keep her going.

Submitted by dee dee at: March 21, 2009
Growing up in the small Mississippi river town of Alma, Wisconsin I have very fond memories of the Delta Queen. Alma is home to Lock and Dam # 4 which ensured that the Queen would have a little stop in our town of under 1000 people as she wound her way either up or down the river. As she came towards town her calliope would begin and every child in town dropped what they were doing and made a mad dash downtown to the Lock and Dam viewing area to watch the Queen and she went through the Locks. The best part was that while we waved madly at the boat and hooted and hollered with excitement...the travelers on the Queen through candy to us. Oh my, the memories! It was especially exciting if she was on her way up the river; because we knew it would be a very short time till she made her way back down the river and through our town again.

Submitted by Fred at: March 21, 2009
Please save the Delta Queen.

Submitted by morey at: March 21, 2009
It is a lifetime memory, the day I witnessed the Delta Queen passing by my college campus-Principia College-on the Mississippi River!

Submitted by Mike at: March 20, 2009
I have always wanted to sail on the Delta Queen to see and experience living history. The Delta Queen is the only way to teach our nations history on the rivers and experience it firsthand. I hope in the future I still will be able too. We can't lose another piece of our nations history. If the Delta Queen is not preserved and allowed to sail again, this part of our history will be gone forever. Something myself and future generations never would be able to experience.

Submitted by Susan at: March 19, 2009
I took my first trip on the Delta Queen last summer and was hooked - sorry I hadn't done it sooner. I had seen her on the Ohio River when I was growing up and she is a treasure to the cities that she visits. The grand lady felt like home - so safe, cozy and relaxing. She needs to be back on the rivers of America for future generations to enjoy. It would be a shame for her to remain docked permanently in a city somewhere.

Submitted by Anonymous at: March 19, 2009
I am a resident of Louisville,Ky and cannot being to tell you all the DQ brings to mind. She will be missed this Derby season from the sight of her pulling into the city to taking part in the steamboat race. I have enjoyed the trips I have made on the DQ and am so sad that she was not here for a trip this summer. I think it is also sad that in the future no one will be able to experience the river as I have aboard the DQ

Submitted by Speedy at: March 19, 2009
My wife and I traveled on the Delta Queen several years ago, and it was the most relaxing vacation we have ever had. We were regularly asked "Aren't you a little young to be on this boat?" We were both in our early 30's at the time. I regularly replied, "Nope, my day to day life is so nuts, this is exatly what I need". It was absolutely marvelous to sit down in the inner room chess table listening to the steam engine click away waiting for somebody to play. It usually didn't take more than about ten minutes before a challenger would turn up. It was the greatest way to meet the people on the boat and learn about them and why they were there during the game. A nice Brandy made it all that much better. The crew were the greatest group I have ever met on a ship of any size, and the food was absolutely fantastic. It nearly brought tears to our eyes when we foud out early on that her exemption might not be renewed. It is an injustice to America to have that ship sitting at a dock. The steam crew was fantastic, and we would stop by the engine room several times a day to find out how it was going, and to just watch that mechanical marvel work. Got to learn all about the oiling system (the real McCoy) and all of her intricate little bits. That Coliape playing was worth its weight in gold. It is a travesty of history to have that boat sitting silent, and only marginally better that it is a hotel. Lets hope she sails again soon.

Submitted by Stmbtcap at: March 19, 2009
First I want to thank all those who are supporting the Delta Queen movement. I have had the pleasure of being one of the men who Piloted and held the position of Master on the D/Q and believe me I count this a blessing and great honor. To the many friends from around the world that I have met, please continue to support this great cause of keeping "History" alive we need this Historical Steamboat plying our Inland River systems. This is just from one river town newspaper "The Paducah Sun" quote the 2008 economic impact of the Delta Queen 21 visits $208,042 this was printed on Jan 4th 2009 in the business section. When this country is in such a mess and losing jobs we need this symbol of America more than ever. The Delta Queen is a symbol of where we came from and how long and durable our future can be if properly maintained. God Bless All who support this, I want to thank the National Trust for Historic Preservation for taking up the mantle to help preserve our Steamboat History, never has there been another vessel to have touched so many lives from around the world than the Delta Queen.

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