Pilot Wheel from the Sternwheel Ferry Kiwanis, 1923

The 140’-long sternwheel ferry Kiwanis was built at Dubuque, Iowa in 1923. Owned by the Cairo City Ferry Company, the Kiwanis operated locally between Dubuque and Birds Point, Mo. until a bridge across the Mississippi River at that location put the line out of business. Across from Cairo, Ill., Birds Point had been a major river and railroad crossroads for cotton in the 19th century.
The Kiwanis was bought by Cincinnati’s Greene Line Steamers in 1930 and operated as a cargo freighter transporting agricultural and manufactured products up and down the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Huntington, W. Va. from 1933 to 1943. In 1936, it was rebuilt and renamed Evergreene.
The Evergreene was sold in 1943 to Cincinnati riverboat captain John Beatty. In 1948 it was bought by the Merchant Paving Company and became a sand dredge. It later sank near Louisville, Ky. and was dismantled.
This wheel is from the Kiwanis’s original CCFC service as a Mississippi River ferry. Standing high above the vessel’s deck, the river pilot steered by standing to one side of the wheel or the other.
Object Name
steering wheel
date made
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 109 in; x 276.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
On the Water exhibit
The Emergence of Modern America
The Great Depression and World War II
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water exhibit
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
National Museum of Transport through John P. Roberts, M.D., Secretary
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL

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