On the Water

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.

ID Number:
109 in; x 276.86 cm
National Museum of Transport thru John P. Roberts, M.D., Secretary