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Visual display of the Gordon C. Greene (Packet/Excursion, 1935-1952)

Gordon C. Greene (Packet/Excursion, 1935-1952)

  • BOAT DESCRIPTION: Sternwheel
  • BOAT TYPE: Excursion/Packet
  • BUILT: Jeffersonville, Indiana, Howard Ship Yards, 1923 as the Cape Girardeau
  • FORMERLY: Cape Girardeau
  • BECAME: Sarah Lee,1952; River Queen
  • OWNERS: 1935: Greene Line Steamers, Cincinnati
  • OFFICERS & CREW: Captain Tom R. Greene, Captain Mary B. Greene; Robert H. McCann (purser); Later: Captain Joe Health (master)
  • RIVERS: Ohio River; Mississippi River; Tennessee River
  • OTHER INFORMATION: Ways - 2387; Built for the Eagle Packet Company. In 1935, Captain Tom R. Greene of Cincinnati and his mother, Captain Mary B. Greene, took a momentous step in the annals of inland river passenger traffic. They chanced their hard-earned savings on the purchase of a big oil-burning steel-hull stern-wheeler and converted it into a "tourist" boat. They were convinced that vacationists still wanted to visit Cincinnati, New Orleans, Chattanooga and elsewhere by water to the tune of a splashing paddle wheel. They purchased and renamed the Cape Girardeau to the Gordon C. Greene to honor the Greene Line's founder, Captain Tom's father. She was the "family boat" with Captain Tom R. Greene in command and his mother usually aboard, his wife Letha and family frequently along with Captain and Mrs. Jesse P. Hughes. In the spring of 1936, a second texas deck was added and the pilothouse was raised 28" at Cincinnati. Again in November, 1937 the texas was altered and the pilothouse upped two feet. She made four Mardi Gras voyages in 1938, 1939, 1941 and 1947. When the Delta Queen arrived on the scene, the Gordon C. Greene was put in the St. Louis-St. Paul trade. She cracked the paddlewheel shaft and got a new one at St. Louis, the only accident of this type she ever had. Robert H. McCann, Sewickley, Pennsylvania was her purser over most of this period. She was retired at Cincinnati and sold in 1952 to become a floating hotel at Portsmouth, Ohio. She was then renamed the Sarah Lee, later she became a floating restaurant named River Queen and then became a nightclub. Eventually she became a restaurant-bar in St. Louis, Missouri
  • PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Captain Jesse P. Hughes at the wheel
  • Gordon C. Greene (A)