Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Julia Belle Swain
Julia Belle Swain at La Crosse, 2007
The Julia Belle Swain is a steam-powered sternwheeler currently operating out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA.
Designed and built in 1971 by Capt. Dennis Trone, the Julia Belle was the last boat built by Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works of Dubuque, Iowa. The boat's steam engines were built in 1915 by the Gillett and Eaton Company and originally installed on the central wheel ferryboat City of Baton Rouge. The engines have logged well over a million miles.
Performed on the steam calliope of the Str. Julia Belle Swain
The Julia Belle was formerly based in Peoria, Illinois, making short excursions on Peoria Lake and two-day round trip cruises to Starved Rock State Park. The late singer-songwriter John Hartford ("Gentle on My Mind") was a frequent guest pilot and often mentioned the Julia Belle in his songs. Later, the boat ran on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Julia Belle, smaller and nimbler than some of its sisters on America's rivers, has entered the Great Steamboat Race twice, in 1975 and 1976. She won in 1976, beating better-known vessels such as the Delta Queen and the Belle of Louisville.
In 2009 the owners of the Julia Belle Swain canceled their season because of the slow economy, and have considered putting the steamboat up for sale.
Spirit of Peoria — boat that later replaced the Julia Belle Swain at Peoria, Illinois
La Crosse Queen — boat that also docks at Riverside Park in La Crosse, 200 yards from Julia Belle Swain.
Julia Belle Swain website
Boat For Sale