Discover / Delta Queen
Save a National Treasure
Chattanooga, TN
TYPE: Monument
Photo courtesy Franz Neumeier/
Photo courtesy Franz Neumeier/
Help the Delta Queen, America’s last historic overnight passenger steamboat, reestablish her grandfathered status allowing her to once again sail the Mississippi River, and support efforts to provide long-term protection for the boat’s historic integrity.


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, but without it 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.

National Significance

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.

Campaign Goals

  • 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

Ways To Help

Donate to our campaign to save the Delta Queen.

Take an American Queen Steamboat River Cruise and American Queen Steamboat Company will make a corporate donation of $5 to support the work to save the Delta Queen.


Posted on October 23, 2014

By Shaw Sprague


Just before Congress adjourned in September, legislation that would allow the Delta Queen to cruise again, S.1022, was amended to include additional fire safety requirements and passed out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation with the support of Chairman Rockefeller and Ranking Republican Member Senator John Thune. Unfortunately, time ran out for the full Senate to pass this legislation.  The bill’s lead sponsors Senator Brown and Senator Portman from Ohio, as well as Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), John Boozman (D-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and David Vitter (R-LA) are among the strongest supporters of this bipartisan effort to see the Delta Queen cruise again. 


When the Senate returns after the mid-term elections in November, we expect our Senate supporters will request that S.1022 be passed by unanimous consent, a procedure referred to as hotlining.  Hotlining legislation is a way to pass non-controversial bills without a recorded vote.  If a unanimous consent agreement to hotline S.1022 can be reached, the U.S. House of Representatives will need to pass the amended version of the bill before it can be signed into law. 


The Delta Queen National Treasures Team with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Lee Powell, executive director of the Delta Grassroots Caucus, have worked diligently, together with the steamboat community, to advance this legislation. 

Posted on June 11, 2014

Written by Nancy Tinker, Project Manager

Photo credit: Franz Neumeier, Flickr (via Creative Commons license)Photo credit: Franz Neumeier, Flickr (via Creative Commons license)
On May 19th the Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) announced their “50 for 50” winner, an online competition sponsored by CPA which asks the community to identify the top 50 sites which make Cincinnati unique. With more than 17,000 votes cast, the Delta Queen was named the winner. Competing sites included the Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati Music Hall, and the Roebling Bridge. The competition’s top 50 sites will be featured in CPA’s 50th anniversary exhibit scheduled to open this fall at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Congratulation to the Delta Queen – it is a distinction richly deserved.

Please check back often for additional updates on Delta Queen. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on December 30, 2013

A recent New York Times article, “A Historic Vessel, Stuck in Place: Riverboat’s Backers Look for a Way to Get the Delta Queen Moving Again,” reported that the Delta Queen is not only stuck in Chattanooga, but stuck in her Congressional process as well. As the House of Representatives passed H.R. Bill 1961, which would reestablish the Delta Queen’s grandfathered status allowing her to once again sail the Mississippi River, the Senate has failed to act, keeping the Delta Queen moored along Tennessee’s north shore.

We will continue our advocacy efforts in the Senate (S. 1022), and encourage them to take the needed next steps in this legislative process to see this vessel, the last of her kind, cruising America’s rivers again.

Please check back often for additional updates on the Delta Queen. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure. 

The Delta Queen
Posted on September 30, 2013

Rebecca MorganWritten by Rebecca Morgan, Project Manager

For years, America’s last remaining authentic link to our country’s 200-year tradition of passenger steamboat transportation has been prevented from carrying overnight passengers because of an antiquated federal law. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the National Trust and our partners, the House of Representatives voted in favor (H.R. Bill 1961) of exempting the Delta Queen from SOLAS, which brings this historic vessel one step closer to cruising America’s River’s again. 

We look to now move our advocacy efforts toward the Senate (S. 1022), as they take up the next step in this legislative process. 

Please check back often for additional updates on the  Delta Queen. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Delta Queen
Delta Queen in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Files must be less than 8 MB.
Allowed file types: png gif jpg jpeg.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Posts are moderated, and therefore do not appear immediately.
Capt. Don Sanders on October 30, 2014
Before I was 30, I shared command of the DELTA QUEEN with the legendary Captain Ernest E. Wagner, my steamboat mentor. Here Cap and I are coming aboard the DELTA QUEEN at Kentucky Lake in the 1970's. By the Grace of God and the U. S. Congress, the DELTA QUEEN will, again, return to the Mississippi River Waterways, soon. Please support the efforts to return the DELTA QUEEN by contacting your Senators and urge them to vote YES to bring back the DELTA QUEEN.
John & Jerry on October 11, 2014
We did a Gulf Intracoastal Canal Cruise on The Delta Queen New Orleans to Galveston in 2005 and it was amazing! We never knew south coastal Louisiana has so many bald eagles. It is a scenic depiction of what coastal Louisiana is all about. You'll pass the back yards of homesteads with laundry hanging on the line and immediately next door is a huge chemical refinery. The wildlife and scenery is spectacular. We've done river cruises on the Mississippi but the Delta Queen in the Intracoastal Canal was the best! We hope the Delta Queen returns to sailing as we'd love to experience this rarely offered itinerary again.
William French on June 20, 2014
I hope to someday take a ride on the Delta Queen. I remember as a boy seeing her sister ship, the Delta King, half sunk in the San Francisco Bay in Richmond, California. Luckily it was dried out and restored as a hotel in Sacramento. I do hope that this effort pays off. I personally would love to see the Delta Queen returned to it's birthplace in San Francisco.
Nancy Hoffer on January 24, 2014
We all look forward to the day when the Delta Queen will be back in service as an overnight Paddle Steamer!

Campaign Overview


Support the Trust's Work
Contribute Now

Learn about other ways to help

Share This Campaign

Help These Places Today

  • RCA Studio B was one of the places where the Nashville Sound emerged in the 1960s.
  • Photo by Ron Cogswell
  • Theodore Roosevelt first came to North Dakota in 1883 to hunt buffalo. | Photo: Dickinson State University
  • Miami Marine Stadium is a former entertainment venue on Biscayne Bay. | Photo: Rick Bravo
  • The Battle Mountain Sanitarium was established by Congress in 1902. | Photo: National Trust
  • The main entrance overlooks the Santa Fe Plaza
  • Exterior of amphitheater obscured by modern bleachers. Photo by Jay A. Reeve
  • Southwest Museum building exterior. Courtesy Carmel France
  • Boggsville has challenges typical of smaller historic sites.  Photo by Beau Blackburn.
  • Antiguo Acueducto del Rio Piedras. Courtesy of Para la Naturaleza
  • Photo by Amy E. McGovern
  • New York Studio School in New York City. Courtesy New York Studio School, 2009/Photo by Daniel Gerdes
  • Photo by Steven Meckler
  • Photo by Steven Meckler
  • Cliff Dwelling at sunset in Eastern Cedar Mesa. Photo by Donald J. Rommes
  • Photo by Carol Highsmith
  • Union Terminal. Courtesy Cincinnati Museum Center
  • Courtesy James River Association
  • Photo by Donna L. Ching
  • Photo by Burger International Photography
  • Villa Lewaro is the home of Madam CJ Walker. | Courtesy Historic New England/ Photo by David Bohl
  • Philip Johnson designed the Pavilion for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. | Photo: Duncan Kendall
  • Administration Building | Photo by Cynthia Lynn
  • Patayan-style rock art at Sears Point Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Photo by Robert Mark
  • Photo courtesy Franz Neumeier/
  • Save the Dome
  • Photo by James Higgins
  • The Mississippi Delta has been referred to as the "cradle of American culture." | Photo: National Trust
  • Sunset at Willamette Falls, the largest waterfall in the Pacific Northwest. | Photo: Brian Rockwell
  • Union Station serves as a historic gateway to the Nation's Capital. | Photo: Carol Highsmith
  • The Milwaukee Soldiers Home was built in 1867. | Photo: Milwaukee Preservation Alliance
  • Pond Farm was the home/studio of prominent ceramicist Marguerite Wildenhain. | Photo: National Trust
  • Hinchliffe is one of few remaining stadiums associated with Negro League baseball. Photo: Duncan Kendall
  • Photo by Gordon Beall
  • The Rosenwald Program improved education for African Americans in the South. | Photo: National Trust
  • Mount Taylor sits atop one of the richest reserves of uranium ore in the U.S. | Photo: National Trust
  • Lyndhurst is a site of the National Trust. | Photo: Brian Thomson/The Ethan James Foundation
  • The stone walls and moat of Fort Monroe. | Photo: Patrick McKay
  • The number of cruise ships in Charleston has increased exponentially. | Photo: National Trust
  • Auburn Avenue is a historically significant African American commercial area. | Photo: Stan Kaady
  • It was here that Joe Frazier trained for his victorious bout against Muhammad Ali. | Photo: Pete Marovich
  • Village of Zoar | Photo by Andy Donaldson
  • Princeton Battlefield is one of the Revolutionary War’s most significant battlefields. | Photo: Jon Roemer
  • The Karnes County Courthouse in Karnes City. | Photo: Mick Watson
  • Malcolm X—Ella Little-Collins House | Photo by Steve Dunwell
  • La Jolla, CA Post Office
  • Success! Chimney Rock designated a National Monument. | Photo: Mark Roper, U.S. Forest Service
  • The Haas-Lilienthal House is an exuberant 1886 Queen Anne-style Victorian. | Photo: Jeff Scott
  • The electrical substation at Hanford, WA, a Manhattan Project site. | Photo: National Trust
  • The Washington National Cathedral was completed over the course of 83 years. | Photo: National Trust
  • Nantucket Lightship is the largest U.S. lightship ever built. | Photo: Matt Teuten
  • Terminal Island played a vital role during WWI and WWII. | Photo: Los Angeles Harbor Department
  • White Grass is one of America's last, great pioneer dude ranches. | Photo: National Trust
  • Ellis Island was known as an “Island of Hope” for immigrants. | Photo: Clara Daly/
  • Stoneman Bridge | Photo by Lee Rentz
  • Prentice Women’s Hospital opened to international acclaim in 1975. | Photo: Landmarks Illinois