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.
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
Ways To Help
Donate to our campaign to save the Delta Queen.
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.
Written 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.
Delta Queen in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
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!