Home Classifieds Work For Us Rack Locations Order Photos Contact Us Advertising Info Featured Advertisers

Click here to read
the latest issue

Browse Sections:

News
Forever Young
Classifieds
Community
Advertisers
Election
Rants & Raves
Sports
Crime Report
Opinion
Calendar of Events
Entertainment
Dining Guide
Special Section Publications
Business & Finance
Business Columns
Star Scopes
Computer/Technology
Cooking/Food
Counseling/Advice
Family Issues
Fishing
Gardening
Travel
Golf
Pets
Religion
Columnist Archives
Crossword Puzzle
Jail Court Live Web Cams

Weather Cams:

Now browsing: Hometown News > News > Volusia County

Rolling, rolling on the river
Rating: 2.43 / 5 (14 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Aug 24 - 00:11

Land Lines

by Dan Smith

Hold on a minute. Do you mean to tell me that a private businessman is willing to bring a grand steamship to New Smyrna Beach at his own expense and the city fathers are dragging their heels?

If Wayne Heller manages to bring a floating National Historic Landmark to Volusia County we should all form a welcoming committee.

It seems that the city's concerns deal with the potential upkeep of the Delta Queen and are asking for a deposit from him. Give me a break.

If I know local politics before making a decision they will order an expensive feasibility study, the cost of which would more than cover the deposit.

The Delta Queen would reflect a time when Volusia County relied on steamboat traffic to provide transportation and the needed goods to keep this area running. In the 1800s the St. Johns River ports of DeBary and Astor were important stops for the steamers working from Sanford to Jacksonville. Astor was begun as a landing by William Astor Jr. of the prominent New York Astors in 1871. Originally he called the small community that sprang up around the landing "Manhattan" but after his death in 1891 the town was renamed Astor in his honor.

DeBary was also begun in 1871 by Frederick DeBary who ran a steamship line on the river for years in order to get his citrus to market. Even after Henry Flagler built his railroad the gentle glide of the steamships were a common sight on the river for many years.

The Delta Queen was begun in the shipyards of Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1924 and completed in 1926. It was then shipped to Stockton, Calif., where it plied the Sacramento River to San Francisco for many years. Eventually the boat which at its launch was the most lavishly appointed stern wheeler ever built would be driven through the Panama Canal and into the tributaries of the Mississippi River. There it carried passengers in grand style for decades.

The Delta Queen inspires images of a slower time when people dressed to travel. It even comes with a resident spirit in the form of the ghost of Mary Green who served as ship's captain in the 1940s. Legend has it that Mary loved the old steamship and refused to give up her quarters when she passed away. Come on! A national historic landmark with a ghost included.

You know sometime back I wrote a column lauding the great job New Smyrna Beach did on Flagler Avenue. This big elegant stern wheeler could be just the accent for the reborn beachside. I can envision costumed re-enactors strolling the decks: the men in waistcoats and the ladies with bustles and parasols. Hey wait a minute. Was that Mark Twain? Come on New Smyrna, lighten up a little and let's all enjoy the sight of the Delta Queen in local waters. It will make a fine hotel and certainly will be a tourist attraction. It just might be a lightning rod for other businesses to pop up nearby.

Dan Smith is on the board of directors for the Ormond Beach Historical Society, the Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of a fishing book.




Comments powered by Disqus
Can't see the comments?
Read more News stories from the Volusia County community newspaper...

Make this site your Homepage e-mail us

Legal Notices




Join our Mailing List:


Crossword Puzzle:

Archives Calendar:

« Jul, 2014 »
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31

Search Stories:




.