Site icon Delta Queen Hotel

About The Delta Queen

You can review a few events from her timeline below.
The great history of Delta Queen in fact start in Scotland, where she was born as a twin sister to the Delta King (from 1924 to 1927).
They were shipped in pieces and assembled at Banner Island shipyard in Stockton, California.
If we look at the average cost of $75,000 for boats at that time. It can truly be said that she was the Queen from the very beginning, her final cost was $850,000.

Delta Queen body construction – 1925.
A riveted Delta Queen hull.

December 12, 1925 – Delta Queen was launched in Stockton, California

The “royal twins” were christened on May 20, 1927

June 2, 1927 – Maiden voyage from San Francisco to Sacramento

June 26, 1938 – Delta Queen and Port of Stockton raced 17 miles from Sacramento down river to Clarksburg. Delta Queen carried 900 passengers who paid 50 cents each. Port of Sacramento won by a whisker.

Autumn 1940 to August 1946 – Served U.S. Navy as floating barracks, training facility and troop ferry. Placed in service as Yard House BoatYHF 7 (1941–1944), after reclassified to Ferryboat – YFB-56 (5 July 1944–28 August 1946). She ferried (up to 3,200 men at once) wounded Pearl Harbor victims ashore from large ships. For which she was awarded two medals American Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

Delta Queen as YFB-56 in U.S. Navy. Painted all in battleship gray.

December 17, 1946 – Delta Queen sale confirmed for $46,250 to Cincinnati, Ohio’s Greene Line Steamers.

Greene Line Steamers Print Ad, 1951
Green Line Steamers brochure.

April 19 – May 18, 1947 – Delta Queen crated and towed more than 5,000 miles from California through the Panama Canal to New Orleans.

Delta Queen pass through the Panama Canal.

Summer 1947 – Summer 1948 – Delta Queen proceeds under her own power to Pittsburgh and undergoes $750,000 in renovations.

June 30, 1948 – Debut Ohio River cruise from Cincinnati to Cairo, Illinois

1958 – Greene Line advertised Delta Queen for sale. California businessman Richard Simonton bought a majority of the stock and she continued service.

Richard Simonton

February 23, 1960 – Newly added calliope premiered in Memphis

Calliope on Delta Queen.
Delta Queen calliope in action

April 1963 – Delta Queen and Belle of Louisville race and it is a publicity success.

Delta Queen and Belle of Louisville
Poster advertising the race.
Captain Ernie Wagner the winner.

A short 4 minutes video describes the first Great Steamboat Race between the Delta Queen & the Belle of Louisville in 1963.

1966 – Congress passed law banning wooden superstructures with more than 50 guests but Delta Queen granted two-year exemption, which was later extended to 1970.

June 1970 – Delta Queen added to the National Register of Historic Places.

National Register of Historic Places. Inventory – Nomination form

October 21 – November 1, 1970 – Farewell cruise from St. Paul to NOLA as exemption expired

December 1970 – Exemption added as amendment to another bill and signed into law

September 1971 – Delta Queen contracted to carry U.S. mail and has its own postmark

August 17 – 24, 1979 – President Jimmy Carter and family ride a St. Paul to St. Louis cruise.

Jimmy Carter relaxing with his wife Rosalynn on Delta Queen.
Jimmy Carter


1989 – Designated National Historic Landmark

January 2004 – Inducted into National Maritime Hall of Fame

Exit mobile version