The National Trust announced its 2016 list of the nation’s 11 Most Endangered Places this week. Although not currently located in Mississippi, the Delta Queen is the last historic wooden steamboat of the hundreds that once plied the Mississippi River. Way back when this blog first started in 2009, we were sad to hear that the Delta Queen had been put into drydock in Chattanooga because Congress had refused to extend its exemption from fire safety regulations that prevented it from being used for overnight trips. Ironically, in Chattanooga, the boat was going to be used as a hotel. (Apparently, it now resides in Houma, Louisiana.)
After several more years of lobbying, things don’t seem to have progressed at all. According to the National Trust website:
The Delta Queen, built in 1926, is the last remaining authentic link to our country’s 200-year tradition of passenger steamboat transportation. Unfortunately, in 2008, the Delta Queen’s grandfathered status from a law that prohibits wooden boats from carrying overnight passengers expired.
Her continued inability to provide overnight cruises poses a critical challenge. Congress granted the Delta Queen a reprieve from this law from 1968 until 2008; without this protection, the ship’s financial viability and historic integrity are called into question. This threat is easily resolved by passing federal legislation that would reinstate the Delta Queen’s longstanding grandfathered status and allow her to return to overnight cruising – and in so doing, restoring this one-of-a-kind experience for travelers along America’s great waterways.
The Delta Queen, built in 1926 and listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1989, is the last remaining authentic link to a 200-year tradition of commercial cargo and passenger steamboat transportation. The Delta Queen’s original interior features include Tiffany-style stained glass windows, hardwood paneling, brass fittings, and a grand staircase crowned by a crystal chandelier. She also retains her original system of engines and boilers, though many have been upgraded or replaced to maintain the boat’s functionality.
- Pass federal legislation that would reinstate the Delta Queen’s longstanding grandfathered status and allow her to return to overnight cruising
- Support efforts to provide long-term protection for the Delta Queen’s historic integrity
Categories: National Trust