The longer I’m here, the more I understand that my initial words are wrong.  First, it was “tugboat.”  I changed that, as marked by the asterisk.  Then take “Mississippi” in the title;  what’s navigating the Mississippi now, might be on the Ohio or the Illinois next month.  It’s true that if you’re not always learning, you’re not really alive.

Keokuk IA has an unusual one, the Geo. M. Verity, said to be one of three steam-powered towboats still extant.  She was built on the Mississippi, went into service in 1927, and has been a “dry-docked” display since 1961.  Any guesses on dimensions?  See end of post.

She was built for the Inland Waterways Corporation, a federal entity.  I’ve never seen a herringbone style paddlewheel quite like this.

The boat was closed, so I didn’t get to tour the boat, but here’s more info.

Here’s a view of the push knees of light

Mary K Cavarra.  See her numbers below, but guess first, right?

She’s built in St Louis and registered in Cincinnati. 

Any guesses on the number of barges in this tow?

It didn’t look like it at first, but she’s got 1000′ of barges with the length of the towboat added to it.  Five rows three wide makes 15 barges.  Since one dry cargo barge carries the equivalent of 58 trucks, this 15-barge tow can move the equivalent of 1050 trucks.   Other numbers follow.

For this tow in this lock, it’ll be another double-lockage.

All photos at locks 18 and 19, WVD.

Geo M  Verity.  1927.  163′ x 41′. I’m not sure what the hp is.

Mary K Cavarra.      1977.  170′ x 45′.  6120 hp

Prairie Dawn.    1968.  164′ x 40′.   5400 hp


As best I can find out, the other two remaining steam-powered towboats are Lone Star and W. P. Snyder Jr.Has anyone visited either of those?