The name on the ferry boat’s pilot house is H&C No. 1 which Ed Langford of Marine Supply Co. in Memphis bought from H.E. Bellinger of Tell City, Indiana who very probably knew our hero Bert Fenn.
According to the news clipping on the back of this photo from 1954, the ferry was in the process of being converted into the MEMPHIS QUEEN, the first of a fleet of Mississippi River excursion boats that would later include the BELLE CAROL, the MEMPHIS QUEEN II and the MEMPHIS QUEEN III.
The ferry looked plenty authentic in style before she was made over to suit the tourists’ fantasy of what an old fashioned packet boat was like.
Additional notes are included under the photograph below.
September 5, 1954
The Commercial Appeal Memphis, Tenn
NEW ON RIVER SCENE
Memphis Queen To Offer Trips On Mississippi
The Memphis Queen, a diesel-powered sternwheeler, will begin operating here as a sightseeing craft in two weeks as an attraction for tourists and conventions.
Memphis, made famous in Mississippi River stories for more than a century, now has its own sternwheel harbor sightseeing boat, the Memphis Queen is anchored at the foot of Monroe.
Ed B. Langford owner of Marine Supply Co. at 628 Union, said yesterday he bought the craft partially to satisfy the curiosity of tourists who come to Memphis expecting to be able to take a ride on a river boat with a power wheel on its stern.
Mr. Langford plans to use the Memphis Queen primarily for entertaining conventions, Sunday school groups and other organizations, he said.
Powered by a Diesel Engine; the Memphis Queen is 90 feet tong and 43 feet wide.
It has a shallow draft making it a simple manner to park on a sand bar for a few hours for a party.
Remodeling work began yesterday for the two-week job of readying the boat with a second deck as a cover on each side and 10 feet forward of the pilot house.
It will have a dance floor.
From several hundred suggestions, Mr. Langford picked the name, “Memphis Queen” and will give Mrs. Joy Evans of 3000 Kingston Road a $10 prize for, submitting it.
He bought the vessel from H. E. Bellinger of Tell City, Indiana.
Ed B. Langford owns the boat, now undergoing remodeling at the foot of Monroe. -Staff Photo
A good color slide of the MEMPHIS QUEEN taken in 1974 and credited to Lynn Harris whose nickname on Flickr is “Little Red Hen” can be seen at this link:
The MEMPHIS QUEENS are presently operated my Memphis Riverboats whose link is here:memphisriverboats.net. The company history, going back to the 1960s, can be found at their website: memphisriverboats.net/about.html
“Pop-pop”, my gran’dad, was a large man (6’4″) known for the equally large Cadillac’s he would drive up & down the beach.”
According to his obit: ”…Peele was a highly respected leader in his community, and was given credit for the first Ocracoke to Hatteras Ferry… Peele had enough foresight to see the desperate need for a ferry. With very little formal education or money, on a shoestring, Capt. Peele started his first ferry for the people there on the Island. Realizing the need, he started the service that eventually was brought to the attention of the State Highway Commission, which later resulted in the State buying his Ferry Service (sic).
Memphis Riverboats, formerly Memphis Queen Line, was a family business owned primarily by Capt. Jake Meanley and his sister Capt. Dale Lozier. Originally, the business started as the Memphis Queen Line, with the Memphis Queen II, a two-decked sternwheeler, that was built for Capt. Ed Langford in 1955 by the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works. Due to failing health, Capt. Ed sold the vessel in 1960 to Capt. Tom Meanley, a reporter-photographer for the Memphis Press-Scimitar. Capt. Tom believed he had bought a summer job as Mississippi River Paddlewheeler pilot. A few years later, a decision was made to expand the company, his summer job became a full-time endeavor, and he decided to leave his position with the newspaper.
His wife Carol, daughter Dale age 13 and, son Jake age 12, all were involved in the family business. Dale’s soon to be husband John Lozier, a student at Memphis State University, was hired in the spring of 1961. The business grew with the completion of the 600 passenger party barge Memphis Showboat in 1964. Followed by the addition of the true sternwheeler Belle Carol (named after Mrs. Meanley, of course), a 65 passenger vessel in 1967. Then Capt. Tom designed and built a tug, the Capt. Jake, in his own backyard. He went on to bigger and better when he designed the 65-foot yacht LORAC (“Carol” backwards) with a dream of sailing around the world. Unfortunately Carol Meanley was diagnosed with cancer soon after the boat’s launching in 1975, and passed away before she and Capt. Tom could realize their dream of sailing around the world on the Lorac.
Meanwhile, Capt. Tom decided that the backyard was ready for an even larger boat. This time he designed and built the 300 passenger Memphis Queen III which was completed in 1978. The current fleet was not quite satisfying for Capt. Tom, and with Mud IsIand, a Mississippi River theme park in the works, the Island Queen was born. Construction began (again in the -backyard) on the Island Queen, a 300 passenger triple-decked sternwheeler, which was completed in 1984. Capt. Tom retired and lived where he was born in San Diego, California, until his return to Memphis where he passed away in 1996. Having sold most of his company to Jake, John and Dale Lozier (married 19 1/2 years).
John passed away in 1988 and Jake and Dale operated the company with the assistance of friend Jimmy Ogle, whom they knew from his earlier days at Mud Island. Capt. Jake and Capt. Dale had great plans for the business since Memphis had become a tourist destination. Capt. Dale’s sons John, and William Lozier became third generation captains and confirmed river rats having worked on ol’ Man River. John completed his law degree at Tulane University and became a maritime lawyer in Greenville, MS. In 2005, William bought out the family business and began to update and refurbish the fleet, now known as Memphis Riverboats.