Caught in the 1913 flood, the steamboats Princess, Kentucky, and Indiana spudded down at the mouth of the Kentucky River, literally at Carrollton, Kentucky's front door. At left is the excursion steamboat  Princess, built in 1900 as the Francis J. Torrance. She was sold in November 1905 to the Coney Island Company, renamed, and began operating in tandem with the venerable Island Queen(No. 1) the following year.

What proved a safe haven for the Princess during the flood proved her undoing five years later, when the movement of the 1918 ice gorge pulled her out of the Kentucky River and into the main stem. She arrived at Madison, Indiana, with her upper works gone and her hull upside down. The Kentucky, shown here when relatively new (built 1907), eventually became the disgrace of the river trade for her unkempt condition. She  also had the reputation of being extremely slow but, in spite of all  that, it is claimed that the Kentucky earned more money than any other vessel of her size during her time. Retired ingloriously by the Greene Line, which acquired her after the Louisville & Cincinnati Packet Company ceased operations. The Indiana (far right, also owned by the L&C Packet Co.) was purposely constructed to be too large to pass through the Louisville Canal, as she was intended solely for the upriver  trade. A big boat (285' x 45' x 6'), she drew only 30" light, and was the low water boat in place of the City of Louisville. Ironically, all three vessels were moored at the Cincinnati wharf on the night of May 1, 1916, when fire broke out aboard the Indiana. Both the Princess and the Kentucky survived the flames, but the Indiana burned to the waterline. Her hull and machinery later went to the steam packet and excursion boat America.

The photo is by Captain Ash.


Barbara Huffman not only sent me the image, she contributes this background. Steve and Barbara Huffman's own site on Ohio River Steamboats is here.