Heroine and the Evolving Traits of Early Western River Steamboats

Author(s): Kevin Crisman

Year: 2014


The western river steamboat has been described as a ‘vanguard of empire’, a technological breakthrough that facilitated the westward expansion of the United States and Canada in the 19th century. The era of steam propulsion began only two hundred years ago, but the earliest western river steamers are still shrouded in mysteries and myths. Although hundreds of boats were built between 1811 and 1850, plans appear to be non-existent, detailed technical descriptions are rare, and reliable illustrations are few in number. The discovery and excavation of the Heroine (1832-1838) in Oklahoma’s Red River is helping to illuminate the first quarter-century of steamboat design and construction. This lecture combines archaeological evidence from Heroine with contemporary images and descriptions to identify the principal stages and features in the development of Mississippi River paddle steamers.

Cite this Record

Heroine and the Evolving Traits of Early Western River Steamboats. Kevin Crisman. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436980)

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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-44,03