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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Boats Leave Daily: 1905

Boats Leave Daily: 1905

The Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky, circa 1905. "The levee at Louisville." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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I don't know about that wagon specifically, but tobacco is still shipped in hogsheads like that, and given the location I'd say its likely that's what in those.


Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Bent saved the pilot house after the 1917 sinking. The Ohio Historical Society obtained title and in 1976 and moved it to the grounds of the Ohio River Museum in Marietta. The Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen funded restoration in 1977.

Tell City Today

The Tell City wheelhouse at the Ohio River Museum in Marietta.


The wharfboat appears to be a retired sternwheeler. If you look closely you can see the hog chains and the cutouts for the paddlewheel pitman arm. Also across the river is perhaps the old prison which later became Colgate Toothpaste Company. Colgate closed its doors forever early 2009 I believe.

Mystery Freight

Wonder what might be in those casks on the wagon. Some sort of dry goods, I'd imagine.

Tell City Lives On

According to the Historic Harrison County website, the "Tell City" sank in 1917 at Little Hocking, Ohio. The pilot house was taken off the boat and placed on a lawn and used as a summer house. It was given to the Steamboat Museum at Marietta College in Ohio some years later.


I can imagine the lettering on the wharfboat to be a bright red! What could those huge barrels contain?

I Looked It Up

Wharf boats were used in places where the water level could change dramatically. I was really curious about that thing.

A Crime on the Levee

Notice Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson combing the levee for clues. Or maybe they're just merchants!


That's a "unicorn hitch" with three draft animals, two on the wheel and one out front. It's a rare variation, however, with a horse and two mules.

Samuel Clemens

Where is Huck Finn? I can imagine that this would have been a familiar sight for him.

Tote that barge, lift that bale.

Nice shot of a working wharfboat. That is Jeffersonville, Indiana, across the river, home to Howard's Shipyards, where the Tell City was built in 1889.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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