The Dubuque Sunk.

The Beautiful Passenger Steamer Goes to

   The Bottom at Winona City, Having

       Struck the Bridge



The Contractors Will Have to Sustain a Damage of $1,000 to

$1,500 as a Result of that Gale Last Night…Infirmary

Of Osteopathy Established…Engineers on

The Ground


Muscatine Journal

July 20, 1898




She strikes bridge at Winona and goes to the bottom


   The palatial steamer Dubuque, belonging to the Diamond Jo Line, bound south and due in Muscatine at 10 o’clock this morning, did not arrive and all because she collided with the bridge at Winona Monday evening and settled in five feet of water.  In passing through the C & N.W. draw bridge during a heavy wind and thunder storm, she got beyond the pilot’s control and struck the support of the bridge with a terrible crash, which shocked and aroused the passengers.  The boat was soon bustling with frightened men and hysterical women.  It was seen at once the boat was sinking rapidly.  Pumps were put to work but had no effect.  Every effort was then made to guide the boat to shallow water, which was accomplished after a hard struggle.  The water where the boat was drifting helpless for awhile was twenty-five feet deep.

  It was found the hull had a hole stove in it twenty feet long and two feet wide.  All the wood -work on the port side was completely wrecked.  She had aboard about fifty passengers, mostly for St. Louis.  All escaped without injury.  The boat will be temporarily repaired and taken to the ways at Dubuque.

  As the Dubuque’s hull is six feet, the accident is not regarded as of a serious nature.  And freight on the lower deck will scarcely be dampened.  From present indications, the big packet will be out in a few days and will hardly miss more than a round trip to St. Louis.

   The Dubuque was originally known as the Pittsburgh.  She was a sister ship of the present Diamond Joe steamer Sidney and was built for the Ohio river trade.  Some fifteen years ago the twin packets were bought by the Diamond Jo Line and installed on the Upper Mississippi.  Both were stern wheel boats and larger than any on the river, and they quickly supplanted the steamers the Diamond Jo company then had and were the queens of the fleet until the merging of the Jo Line and St. Louis and St. Paul Packet company.  The Dubuque, then the Pittsburgh, was caught in the terrific St. Louis cyclone of two years ago last May and all her upper works were, blown away.  The winter before she had been provided with a new hull, and after the cyclone she was towed to Dubuque and rebuilt, so that when she came out a little over a year ago she was essentially a new boat.  She is apparently hoo-dooed for only a few weeks ago she busted a flue out of St. Louis, one of her rousters dying from the scalding received.  Her dimensions were 260 feet long by 40 feet beam, and she was worth $50,000.  The Dubuque was in command of Capt. James Boland.



   The Davenport Leader says the Young had a well-filled cabin Sunday evening on her short trip to Muscatine, many Davenporters taking advantage of the same and coming for the trip.  It says:  “It was delightful upon the river, too.  There was a good breeze from the southwest, and as the boat went on it became stiffer and cooler.  The heat of the day vanished.  It was delightfully cool.  Captain Blair seemed to know just how to make everybody feel comfortable, and they were comfortable.  There was music aboard in quantities.  The boat reached Muscatine at about 6:30 o’clock and started on the return trip at 7.  Supper was served upon the boat and nearly everybody availed themselves of the opportunity.  It was a good supper, too.  The return home was more delightful still.  Sixty miles on the bosom of the Mississippi, surrounded with music, song and friends.  Eight hours of delightful breezes which waft away the heat of the day, cools the blood and gives repose.”

  Last evenings storm struck the W. J. Young just after, she passed through the Keithsburg Bridge, upward bound.  She kept on her course as though there was no storm.  The wind blew down the river and the waves were high, but there was no rolling or rocking of the boat.  She is a staunch craft with Machinery and Capt. Blair says he feels safe on her in a storm as he would in any dwelling.

  The Quincy passed up this morning with 100 passengers on board.

  The St. Paul will be up Sunday to take the place of the Dubuque.

  The captain of the Quincy reports that the storm did no damage to the boat, although it blew a very strong gale down the river.

  The river forecast for today indicates no change above Davenport and below Dubuque.

  The stage of the river stands at 3 feet 9 inches, a fall of three inches during the last 24 hours.

  Dubuque Telegraph:  This afternoon word was received that the boat had been raised and was on her way to Dubuque with all her passengers aboard.  She will be put on the Eagle Point ways for repairs.      


Collected and Transcribed

by Georgeann McClure                           


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