The Port Of Kimmswick, Mo., Celebrates As The New Home For The Delta Queen; Chattanooga Not On List For Visits

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Mark Herndon
Mark Herndon

Chattanooga's loss is Kimmswick, Mo.'s gain.

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company announced Thursday that its new corporate headquarters will be just south of St. Louis in Kimmswick, which has also been selected as the new homeport for the Delta Queen. Officials said the city of Kimmswick is excited that the legendary Delta Queen, whose history dates back to 1927, has chosen Jefferson County for its homeport and operations base.

The vessel operated as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, from 2009 until 2014. It deteriorated during its local stay and eventually closed. At one point the city sought to evict it from its mooring by Coolidge Park.

“The Delta Queen will not only develop a greater awareness of Kimmswick as a historical destination but will re-establish the city as an important American riverboat district as it was in the late nineteenth century,” said Philip Stang, mayor of the city of Kimmswick.

According to the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, the St. Louis region will experience a massive economic impact, creating more than 170 jobs locally and bringing in more than $36.4 million to the St. Louis Region annually. It is expected that the Delta Queen will begin and end a number of its cruises each year in Kimmswick.

The list of Delta Queen destinations does not include Chattanooga. It will visit more than 80 other ports in the U.S. including New Orleans, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, St. Paul, Galveston and Mobile.

"The substantial economic impact this will bring to Jefferson County and the region will affect every facet of the community in a positive way creating the kind of growth and opportunity that we haven’t seen in a long time,” said David Dews, chairman of the Economic Development Corporation of Jefferson County.

“We are delighted to welcome the Delta Queen to the shores of our hometown,” said

Jon Selsor, president of the Jefferson County Port Authority. “To have a boat designated as a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places is a wonderful addition to both the city of Kimmswick and Jefferson County. What a perfect location for its homeport!”

The Delta Queen began service as an overnight passenger vessel in 1927, carrying passengers, cargo and automobiles between Sacramento, Ca. and San Francisco. After a brief period of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, the vessel was sold as war surplus to Captain Tom Greene, owner of the Greene Line Steamers of Cincinnati. From 1946 to 2008, the Delta Queen operated as an overnight cruise vessel along many of the prominent rivers and waterways running through America’s heartland and deep South, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Arkansas Rivers. The vessel operated as a dockside hotel in Chattanooga, from 2009 until 2014.

“We are thrilled to designate the port of Kimmswick as the new home port for the Delta Queen and look forward to returning the city to the important American riverboat town it once was,” said Cornel Martin, president and CEO of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. “The Delta Queen is the last authentic overnight steamboat in America and the city of Kimmswick and Jefferson County are a fitting home as they perfectly represent the history and nostalgia of America’s steamboat era.”

The Delta Queen, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is classified as a National Historic Landmark, was purchased by the current owners in February 2015 with the goal to restore the vessel and return it to overnight cruise service. The steamboat has also recently been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a National Treasure.

The officials of the Delta Queen hope to have the vessel back in service in 2016 but must first secure a Congressional exemption to allow the vessel to return to the overnight cruise trade. Anyone interested in seeing the iconic Delta Queen cruise again should contact their U.S. representative and senators and urge them to support House Bill 1248 and Senate Bill 1717.

 


Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us on Facebook ... (click for more)

City Council To Get Budget Presentation Aug. 1; Vote Expected Sept. 5; Session Set On Senior Tax Freeze

The City Council will get a budget presentation from the Berke administration at its 6 p.m. meeting on Aug. 1. Councilman Chip Henderson, who heads the finance committee, said a week later the council will hold a budget session from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including having a working lunch. More budget sessions are planned for Aug. 22 and 29. In another city matter, Councilman ... (click for more)

Dr. Livesay Should Step Down From Bryan College Leadership

I am writing in response to the July 25th article, "Online Petition Seeks Removal of Bryan College President, Board Chair".  As a graduate of Bryan College (1984), I am saddened by the response of Dr. Stephen Livesay and the Board of Trustees regarding the online petition.  The purpose of the petition really has little to do with the school’s “clarification” of its ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chik-fil-A Commits To East Ridge And Camp Jordan Development

In less than three weeks after a plan that could enhance Camp Jordan in East Ridge was announced, it has been learned that a Chik-fil-A restaurant will break ground at Jordan Crossing this fall. While developers John Healy, Matt Woods and Ethan Woods cannot make a public comment, the news is every bit as profound as James Earl Jones saying, “If you build it, they will come,” in ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Team Wins 17U Division I AAU National Championship

Team NLP(TN) from Chattanooga won the 17U Division I AAU National Championship on Sunday with a 61-56 victory over the Miami Runnin' Rebels. The game was televised on ESPN. Team NLP(TN) program is coached by Brainerd High School Assistant Coach, Steve Cook Jr (Chattanooga Christian High School graduate), while E'Jay Ward (Brainerd High School graduate) serves as his assistant ... (click for more)

SEC Annouces Television Schedule For First Three Weeks Of 2017 Season

The SEC Office on Tuesday announced the start times for games on the SEC Network during the first three weeks of the 2017 season.   The SEC Network Saturday schedule opens with three games on September 2 .  The Network will air six games on the second week of the season and five games in Week 3.  The first Conference matchup of the year on the ... (click for more)