Tuesday, July 13, 2010


July 13, 2010---Howard Steamboat Museum is a must if you have any interest in the history of steam ships and beautiful old homes. This wonderful museum is located in Jeffersonville Indiana just across the Ohio River from Louisville Kentucky. James Howard started a shipyard here in 1834. Over time it was established as the largest inland shipyard in America. Over three generations and 107 years, more than 3000 vessels were built.

This massive 22-room Romanesque Revival mansion was built near the shipyard in 1894. The interior is late-Victorian. The house was built by the craftsmen from the shipyard. The detail in the woodwork is truly great.

In the greeting room of the museum there was a stack of "Heartland Boating" magazines on the table. It was a lot of fun explaining to the staff that the Gibson boat pictured in the advertisement on the back cover is our boat!

Fountain in the yard is quite beautiful.

Out buildings as taken from the second floor of the mansion.

The 4mcgees pose with a large steering wheel from a ship.
Maryann and Carol with our guide
Hillary Thomas. She did a superb job of relating the history of the home and ships.

There are far too many steamship replicas to show here. The collection of old pictures found throughout the structure are also great to see.

Special boats were built to haul rail cars across the river before bridges were constructed.

Howard control of the shipyard ended in 1941, when it was purchased by the US Navy for WWII construction of LST's. The yard is now occupied by Jeffboat Inc. building barges and other vessels.

Just look at the detail in the handcrafted furniture.

A tub and shower in the 1890's was rather rare.

Because of the hard woods and strong construction, contractors were able to restore the mansion after the terrible flood of 1937. There was a little over seven feet of water in the house for two weeks. Artifacts were moved to the second floor to save them. Many of the folks we have spoken with in our travels along the Ohio have talked about the devastation caused by that flood. All of the towns along either side of the river suffered during that time.

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