The Greene Line Steamers were founded in 1890. Since then there has been a total of 26 different steamboats operating out of Cincinnati. Always a family affair the company, founded by Gordon C. Greene and his wife Mary (both Captains, Mary being one of the very few women to ever pilot a steamboat on the river). After Gordon died in 1927 Mary and her two sons, Chris and Tom (both Captains) ran the company. Captain Chris Greene died in 1944 leaving Mary and Tom to run the Greene Line. Mary died shortly after Tom Greene had brought the Delta Queen to Cincinnati in 1949. There is a life-size bronze statue of Captain Mary Becker Greene on the Covington-Newport Kentucky riverwalk overlooking the Cincinnati riverfront. Captain Tom Greene then died in 1950. It was now up to Tom's widow Mrs. Tom (Letha) Greene to take over the reins of the Company. The Greene line was in financial difficulties due to the purchase and renovations of the Delta Queen so Letha was forced to sell all the Greene line boats except the Delta Queen. Thanks to the dedication and determination of the Greene family the steamboat survives today despite all the trends of today's society. The Delta Queen is one of their most famous boats. That boat renewed the overnight passenger business for our generation.
Captains Gordon & Mary Greene Captains Chris, Mary, Tom Captain Mary Greene
THE GORDON C. GREENE
The Gordon C. Greene was built in 1923 at Jeffersonville, Indiana as the Cape Girardeau. She was bought from the Eagle Packet Co. in St. Louis in 1935 for the Greene Line and became the "family boat," providing a home for Captain Tom Greene and family "down at the foot of Main Street." The boat was retired in Cincinnati and, in 1952, sold to become a floating hotel in Portsmouth, Ohio. This failed and she was then sold for a floating restaurant in Owensboro, Ky. and renamed the River Queen. This also failed and she was then taken to Bradenton, Fla. and lavishly outfitted as a tourist attraction (guess what) this also failed. She went to New Orleans for duty as a high class nightclub which did not pan out and then she went to Hannibal, Mo. for a food and drink establishment. You guessed it. In 1964 she went to St. Louis and finally worked out as a restaurant-bar. Naturally, in 1967, she sank. Her whistle, that went all the way back to the Calhoun (1876), now resides in the River Museum, Marietta, Ohio.
Painting by Russ Porter
Looking aft-1937 Stateroom
THE CHRIS GREENE
The first Chris Greene was built at the Gardner Docks in Pt. Pleasant W. Virginia in 1915 for Captain Gordon C. Greene. It was named for his father and for his oldest son.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CHRIS GREENE
The first Island Queen and the Morning Star
were tied up for the winter at the Coney Island wharf boat at the foot of
Broadway. The Tacoma and the Chris Greene were also moored, at the foot of
Sycamore St., the Cincinnati and the Queen City were moored at the L & C
wharf boat at the foot of Main St.
On Saturday 4, 1922 about 3 gallons of roofing tar were being heated for repairs on the Morning Star on top of her galley stove. You guessed it, it boiled over and set the boat on fire. The mooring lines were cut loose but there was a breeze from the Kentucky side which kept her right where she was. Soon the Island Queen and the wharf boat both were ablaze. Soon the Tacoma and the Chris Greene plus the Greene Line wharf boat joined in the conflagration. A tow boat pulled the Chris Greens out into the river, but it was too late and she burned to the water line. The only boat not harmed was the Queen City. The photographs below shows the tragedy from the Kentucky shore after they had been pulled apart. You can see the Chris Greene in the foreground. The first Island Queen is shown burning in the background of the first two images. The Fred Hall can be seen passing through in the second image. The third image shows the Chris Greene at the Kentucky shore with the Fred Hall standing by. The Steamboats Tacoma and The Morning Star are also burning in the background of the first two photos but can not be seen clearly. The fourth image is a close up of these boats. Some of the information scribbled on a couple of the other images are incorrect.
Date wrong Towed back to Landing
The hull was rebuilt into a towboat named Ben
Franklin No. 2, which later became Jayhawker. The Jayhawker had several mishaps
and was finally sunk in 1939 at Mile 240.5.
The second Chris Greene was built at the Gardner Docks in 1925. It ran the Cincinnati-Pomeroy-Charleston run with Captain Chris Greene and later Captain Volney E. White until 1934. It then ran the Cincinnati-Louisville run. The staterooms were removed in 1936 to allow her to carry automobiles. Withdrawn from service in 1947 and sold to The Dayton Boat Harbor, Dayton Ky. in 1950. She was converted into a yacht harbor club boat.
Various views of the main cabin
Some type of disaster struck the Chris Greene after 1950, what I don't know, but I can tell you where she lies today. A couple of miles down river from Cincinnati in Melbourne, KY she can be seen sticking out of the bank of the Ohio with her name still clearly legible (see image below).
Remains of the Chris Greene
Built in 1923 for the Cincinnati-Huntington trade. Captained by Gordon Greene until his death in 1927 then his son Captain Tom Greene (for whom the boat was named) took command. He ran the Cincinnati-Pomeroy-Charleston run with the Chris Greene as partner. Famous for two races with Betsy Ann (won both) in 1929 & 1930. Entered Cincinnati-Louisville trade from 1931 until 1947. In 1936 the passenger cabin was removed to make space for automobiles. Sold to Evansville, Ind. Commercial Barge Line who had plans to convert her to a triple-deck auto carrier but never did. Bought by Walter Boat Yard, Paducah, Ky., and converted into a landing boat with offices.
These are not postcards
1923 1928 Tom Greene Orchestra