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Visual display of the Golden Eagle (Packet/Excursion, 1918-1947)

Golden Eagle (Packet/Excursion, 1918-1947)

  • ca. 1930
  • BOAT DESCRIPTION: Sternwheel
  • BOAT TYPE: Packet/Excursion
  • BUILT: Jeffersonville, Indiana, Howard Ship Yards, 1904 as the Wm. Garig
  • FORMERLY: Wm. Garig
  • FINAL DISPOSITION: Ran aground on Tower Island and sank, May 17, 1947
  • OWNERS: Eagle Packet Company, St. Louis; 1946: Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Miller and Mr. and Mrs. E. Willers; 1947: Herman T. Pott, St. Louis Shipbuilding and Steel Company
  • OFFICERS & CREW: 1935: Captain W.H. (Buck) Leyhe; 1946: Ben Winters (captain)
  • RIVERS: Tennessee River; Mississippi River; Ohio River; Illinois River; Cumberland River
  • OTHER INFORMATION: Ways - 2366; The Eagle Packet Company, St. Louis greatly altered and renamed the Wm. Garig in 1918 when they purchased her. She was entered in the St. Louis-Peoria trade and did well. In 1932 Golden Eagle was put in the St. Louis-Cape Girardeau-Commerce trade and after about six months was withdrawn, this spelling the end of the regular passenger and freight packet business for Eagle Packet Company. The Eagle Packet Company of St. Louis dated back to Civil War days. It early adopted a gold ball, swung between the smokestack to designate its vessels. The last survivor of its once mighty fleet was the Golden Eagle. In 1935, they renovated the Golden Eagle into a tourist boat and scheduled her to St. Paul, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Nashville, etc. Upon completion of the locks and dams in the Upper Mississippi River, the Golden Eagle went to St. Paul as the first packet to visit that port for many years. As sort of a presage of coming events, on April 22, 1939, she ran a spectacular race with a steamboat that was operating thousands of miles away. There was a World's Fair going on in San Francisco. As a publicity stunt, the Sacramento River steamer Delta Queen issued a challenge to race against time. The Golden Eagle accepted and ran to Cape Girardeau in less time than her California competitor was able to do over a similar distance on the West Coast. Upbound at Chester, Illinois on the night of June 14, 1941, she hit a submerged dike and sank along shore. When the river fell she was raised. She then continued through 1942-1943 and was preparing to enter the 1944 season when her old boilers were condemned. Due to World War II, replacement was impossible and she idled at St. Louis, 1944-1945. In 1946 she was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Miller and Mr. and Mrs. E. Willers, together with operating rights. She ran all the 1946 season with a final trip to New Orleans and back. Sold in March 1947 to Herman T. Pott of St. Louis Shipbuilding and Steel Company. On her first trip downbound, about 1:30 a.m., May 17, 1947, she ran aground on Tower Island and sank. All passengers were evacuated safely. The Golden Eagle was the last wooden-hull sternwheel packet on the Mississippi River. The popularity of the vessel led to the formation of the The Golden Eagle Club, St. Louis. Thanks to Ruth Ferris, the boat's pilothouse is in the Missouri Historical Society's exhibits, Jefferson Memorial, St. Louis
  • PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Golden Eagle after passing under bridge at St. Louis, Missouri, ca. 1930
  • Golden Eagle (B)