625 pages, b/w photos
The first Mississippi steamboat was a packet, the New Orleans, a sidewheeler built at Pittsburgh in 1811, designed for the New Orleans-Natchez trade. Packets dominated during the first forty years of steam, providing the quickest passenger transportation throughout mid-continent America. The packets remained fairly numerous even into the first two decades of the twentieth century when old age or calamity overtook them. By the 1930s, the flock was severely depleted, and today the packet is extinct.
Containing almost 6000 entries, Way’s Packet Directory includes a majority of combination passenger and freight steamers, but includes in a broader sense all types of passenger carriers propelled by steam that plied the waters of the Mississippi System. Each entry describes its steamboat by rig, class, engines, boilers, the shipyard where and when built, along with tidbits of historical interest on its use, demise, and/or conversion.
"If you want to know anything about a steamboat, Way's directory is the place to start"
– Louisville Courier-Journal
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