A tour of a classic Mississippi River Steamboat.
You can’t think about the Mississippi without picturing a classic steamboat heading upstream with smoke billowing from its stacks and the big back paddlewheel turning.
The City of Keokuk has an original riverboat that now functions as a museum. We stopped and took the $4 tour.
The boat was built in 1927 and worked on the River until 1960. It was headed for the scrapyard but saved to serve as a reminder of the golden days on the Mississippi.
Steam Powered RV?
Powered by coal, the boat sucked up river water to heat up into steam. In the process the water would get distilled so in addition to fresh water the boat also had onboard generators for electricity, a refrigeration unit, laundry, kitchen, and bathrooms to support a crew of 12-14 people.
A Nice Effort
Keokuk has made efforts to make this part of its city nice - there were fresh paved sidewalks, lots of picnic tables and kiosks, and even a city-owned 3 site RV park with water and electric hookups for $16/night.
While we enjoyed the tour, the Riverboat isn’t in great shape.
It had a slightly shabby feel, it all needs paint, sections of floor looked loose and most of the historic photos were faded and musty. The city really should pump some money into it if it wants the Riverboat to continue as an attraction - currently it just looks neglected.
The boat is located next to an active trainyard, right by a train bridge, passenger vehicle bridge, lock, electric plant and water plant.
It might have been the gray rainy day we visited (or the 6’ chain link fence around the Museum) but there was little traffic and the area just couldn’t shake off a ‘drug dealer’ vibe. When I suggested overnighting at the cheap RV park I was quickly shot down.