Tuesday, May 1, 2012

See the "Big Mama" in Dubuque and Vicksburg

From Wikipedia.

I came across mention of this ship, the Sprague, and found there was a model of it in the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, although the real one no longer exists.  It must have been something to see, being the largest steampowered, sternwheel towboat ever built, earning it the name "Big Mama" at 275 feet long, 61 foot beam, 7.4 foot draft ship powered by coal-fired steam operating between 1902 to 1948.

It was built by Captain Peter Sprague and could push or pull 56 coal barges at once, setting a record at 60 one time.

After it was decommissioned, the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was its next home where it operated as a restaurant, museum and theater until it was wrecked and burned there May 15, 1974.  Pieces of it are still in the Mississippi River.

The Friends of the Sprague sponsored a mural of the boat "The Big Mama of the Mississippi" as one of the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals.

Now, You Know.  --RoadDog

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