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Automobiles On and Near the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River has long been used for transporting cargo and commodities by boat and today’s feature contains photos of vehicles parked near it and being moved upon it.

The lead image and the picture below were photographed from a large parking lot paved with cobblestones next to the Wolf River, which flows into the Mississippi just north of Memphis, Tennessee. The view of the steam-powered paddle wheeler boat visible in the distance in the first shot is shown up close in the second photo behind the Wolf River Transport Dock.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photos courtesy of the Indiana University Libraries.

  • Steam-powered paddle wheeler docked on the Wolf River which flows into the Mississippi River north of downtown Memphis, Tennessee.   

  • George Prince Ferry Boat out of Baton Rouge, LA, loaded with 1920s and ’30s cars upriver near Vidalia, LA.

  • Cars and people waiting at the Vicksburg,  Mississippi, Wharf in the late-1930s.

  • Mississippi Valley Barge Line Tug boat pushing a barge loaded with new late-1930s trucks.

17 responses to “Automobiles On and Near the Mississippi River

  1. The second picture should be 1934 or earlier, since that’s the year the George Prince was renamed Ouachita. The boat was built in 1922 and dismantled in 1940. It’s not to be confused with the later MV George Prince (built in 1937), which was sunk in a collision with the oil tanker SS Frosta in 1976.

      • My fault, I did confuse the two boats and which pictures were related (and didn’t even check the cars). Based on the car dates, it must be the second boat with the George Prince name, the one that sank in 1976.

        Looking at the shed in front of the sternwheeler, G H Tamble is George Tamble, and R V W is Russell Warner. They owned a tugboat service and later a series of inland maritime radio stations. Tamble died circa 1950, and Warner ran the company after that.

    • Steve,

      Thanks for the information concerning the two GEORGE PRINCE vessels. This must be the 2nd boat, if she were a steamboat, there would be a larger smoke-stack; this looks like a twin screw with diesel engines as there are two narrow stacks. Also an interesting set-up with twin rudders.


      • Just looked a little closer at the “stacks” and there appears to be one from the pilot house and one from the middle of the top deck. There is soot on the upper part of these, which leads me to believe these stacks may have been for coal pot-belly stoves.

  2. You know, I (we) complain about how all cars look the same today, it wasn’t any different in the 30’s. I guess we’ll never relive those ’50’s and ’60’s, where everybody had a different, personalized car. The 3rd pic looks like the cars are driving around the wheelhouse.

  3. Wonder if that 37 Chevy in the 2nd pic with the whitewalls is “the bosses” car ? Love the state-shaped Tennessee plates in the 1st pic… still have my 47 set ( birth year ) and had a lot more at one time. Love these shots as always David.

    • Cars got ‘old’ very quickly in those days. Anything with only two wheel brakes became obsolete as soon as four wheel brakes became more generally available.

  4. I believe photo number 4 might be of the city of Vicksburg Mississippi rather than Louisiana as labeled. At one time known as the Jewel of the Mississippi River. A most beautiful city.

  5. Looks like the cobblestone was put in to give some traction on that slope during rain or a rise in the river. Would not be fun to see all those cars slipping into the river!

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