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Paddle-Wheel Days in California by Jerry…
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Paddle-Wheel Days in California

by Jerry MacMullen

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A pleasantly entertaining description of transportation by paddle-boat in California, mostly on the rivers, but also in the bays, coastwise and around the Horn. It was a mode that was used most in the mid- to late- 1800s, and having pretty much run its course by the 1930s as competition by railway and highway made it obsolete. Most of the boats were powered by steam, although some were diesel-powered.

Although I lost track of the myriad names of boats and their captains, there are plenty of anecdotes of boat construction, sinkings, races and subsequent boiler explosions (which often resulted in multiple losses of life) that made this more than just a dry list of facts.

Also included are five appendices and an index. Appendix A is Steamboats of the California Rivers. It lists the names of the boats alphabetically, the type of boat (stern-wheeler, side-wheeler, or propeller), the tonnage, length, year of construction, and year and method of disposal.

Appendix B is a list of California Steamboat Builders, as complete as the author was able to make it.

Appendix C is a Table of Distances, River Landings on the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Colorado Rivers.

Appendix D is a list of California Ferry Vessels, containing the same categories of information as Appendix A.

Appendix E lists Changes of Name, Ferry Vessels.

It is worth mentioning that the font is very easy on the eyes, and I did not notice a single typographical error in the entire work. ( )
  ham_shoes | May 27, 2012 |
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The little Russian church at Fort Ross was in somewhat better repair than it is today when the bark Naslednich climbed over the northwestern horizon and stood down the coast toward the Farallones.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Chrysopolis, New World, Contra Costa, and many others- once familiar names of paddle-wheelers that churned the waters of the California rivers and bays,
Into the lusty days of their youth these boats crowded adventure, tragedy, cut-throat competition, racing, disaster- and off-the-record romances of more than one Bay region Lothario. With their growing-pains out of the way, they provided dependable transportation at attractive rates, both for business purposes and for the relaxation of the jaded and weary.
Here is a comprehensive history of these steamers, gathered from scattered bits of printed material and from personal accounts of the river men. While stressing the steamers of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, the author has not overlooked the Colorado River boats and those which plied the various creeks around San Francisco Bay. He includes also a chapter on the ferries. The list of river steamers and ferries, about 275, is as complete as it is possible to make at this time.
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