UW-La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs

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The UW-La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photograph collection consists of over 40,000 photographic images of steamboats on the inland waterways of the United States, primarily the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers and their tributaries. The photos depict steamboats in every phase of their life span – from construction to destruction – and every aspect of their daily operations from the 1850s to the present. The photos show steamboats in all sort of settings – on the water; going through a lock, at a city’s waterfront or levee, tied up at shore – as they went about their everyday business of hauling freight and passengers and towing barges and rafts. For some steamboats, especially the bigger excursion boats, there may be over a hundred photographs to view; for other boats, there might be only a single photo to document its existence. Besides steamboats, other types of images in the collection include steamboat captains, engineers, pilots, passengers and crews; city and town waterfronts; levees; locks and dams; and river-related activities such as fishing, swimming and clamming.