The Island Queen Cincinnati's Excursion Steamer
For more than twenty years, the Island Queen carried day-trippers on the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Coney Island amusement park. Built in 1925, with paddlewheels thirty feet in diameter and a capacity of 4100 passengers, she was one of the largest passenger steamers on the inland river system. Taking thousands of city dwellers each day out of the heat and soot of Cincinnati and into the cool river breezes, the gleaming white boat was called 'a fairy steamer, the dream of every riverman.'When the Island Queen finished her summer season, she ran excursions along the inland waterways from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. Constructed of steel and meticulously maintained, the Island Queen seemed destined for a long service life. But in 1947 a freak welding accident at the dock in Pittsburgh caused a catastrophic explosion that left the once proud steamer a scorched and twisted ruin. John and Robert White tell the story of the Island Queen in evocative detail, from her construction to her tragic end. The boats that came before her, including the Princess and the Island Maid, add their part to the story, as does a brief history of Coney Island amusement park. More than sixty photographs and illustrations bring back the placid days when the Island Queen paced up and down the river at her ease, a symbol of summer pleasures still vivid in the memory of many Ohioans.