Jul 052016


The Ruth in Linn Creek Mo
Real photo postcard. J. W. Farmer. Linn Creek. MO.

LOVE this photograph!  You can sense the excitement of a boat’s arrival in river towns:  “Steamboat’s a-comin’! Steamboat’s a-comin’!”  Everyone in Linn Creek headed to the docks to see The Ruth tied up at the landing. They perch on the fence and fill the decks of the steamer to pose for the camera. Look close – a group of girls is gathered on the deck. Perhaps a school excursion?

The Miller County Historical Society reprinted an article from The Waterways Journal (Feb. 25, 1984) titled, “The Osage Is An Important Missouri River,” by James V. Swift. In it, Mr. Swift recounts the histories of a number of steamboats that plied the Osage. This one, The Ruth, built at Tuscumbia in 1908, was 52.5 by 12.2 by three feet and had 25 hp. Her registered tonnage was 13 gross and 8 net, and she had a crew of two. As can be seen in the picture, The Ruth towed a barge just as her sister steamboats had done. The Ruth is shown (in Historical Society records) as being abandoned in 1925.”

Other steamboats on the Osage during this era were the J. R. Wells (of which we’ve posted several pictures), Frederick, Homer C. Wright. Mr. Swift’s article has a great deal more information on the steamboats on the Osage. To read the full article go the Historical Society’s website: http://www.millercountymuseum.org/archives/120109.html )

Note the roof used as advertising canvas. “Feed Stable” on one. And “You can buy as cheap as a (illegible) at The Linn Creek Mercantile Co. Merchandise.” Roadside (or in this case streamside) roofs and barn sides continued as advertising media for generations.

In Damming the Osage, we covered the Corps of Engineers’ efforts to enhance steamboat traffic on the Osage with the construction of Lock and Dam No. 1. We have a whole separate section concerning Lock and Dam No. 1 on our website: http://www.dammingtheosage.com/lock-and-dam-no-1-on-the-osage-river/

Sep 152014

736click to enlarge

This hand tinted postcard from 1911 shows one of the small steamboats of the late era of commercial river travel. Published by James Bruin, Linn Creek, Mo.

While this is rather late in the history of commercial steamer traffic on the Osage, a boat’s arrival still generated much interest, as evidenced by the many folks along the riverbank and hanging on the boat itself.

Sent by “Charlotte” from Linn Creek in July, 1911, to Miss Nellie Nagle in Billings, Missouri. Her message: “… making a drive … Everything delightful.”

People seemed to like Old Linn Creek. The town was up the creek, not right on the river, but in easy walking distance. Infrequent floods happened only if the Osage River backed up significantly. Linn Creek actually had an Upper Town (away from the flood plain) and a Lower Town, around the boat landing on the river in a commercial area.

Feb 202013

Steamboats ran up the Osage as far as Osceola when the river was high. Tuscumbia, county seat of Miller County, was a regular stop – a fact commemorated today in this plaque on the new county courthouse.

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Oct 172012

Real photo postcard, 1915-1925

This came with the identified Lock & Dam #1 photo. It looks like an excursion boat and is named the S. Katherine. Don’t see any smokestacks but it’s also got staple holes, similar to the Lock & Dam #1 postcard. A Google search didn’t find a “Katherine” vessel known to operate on the Osage.

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