GEORGIA LEE Paducah KY circa 1900’s

This picture was also found at Gentleman’s Antiques Collierville TN.   A postcard version of this picture exists locates this picture at Paducah KY.  The Royal Photo Co., Low Kentucky dates this picture during 1894, however the GEORGIA LEE was built at Howard Shipyard Jeffersonville Indiana in 1898.  Of interest as well is the steel bow plate which was not part of her original construction.  The GEORGIA LEE along with the JAMES LEE (renamed DESOTO) were crushed by ice at Memphis in February 1918.

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Memphis River Front circa 1915

Another recent find from Gentleman’s Antiques Collierville TN.   From the amount of cotton on the Memphis cobblestones, this picture would have been taken during peak fall cotton transportation time.  Three other Lee Line boats are tied up behind the Lee Line wharf boat.

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HARRY LEE helped young love April 8, 1908

Thank you Mary Smith for sharing these 2 newspaper articles.  The HARRY LEE in this story is the first HARRY LEE which was a wood hulled steamer.

HARRY LEE: Boat 2540 Way’s Packet Directory page 207. Stern Wheeler, Packet, wood hull, built Clarington Ohio 1899. Originally named CITY OF WHEELING. Renamed by the Lee Line. Sank at Brandywine Landing 45 miles above Memphis August 1911 and was raised. Burned at Memphis March 19, 1914. She carried the whistle of the Lee Line ROBERT E LEE.  The S&D Reflector noted in the September 1984 issue that “They (Lee’s) took good care of her and in 1913 gave her new boilers, engines, and put cylinder beams on her.” The S&D also noted following burning on March 19, 1914, “the hull was sold to Watkins Tie Co and converted into a barge. The machinery and boilers were used in the building of a new steel hull HARRY LEE at St. Louis.” (PICTURED BELOW) Continue reading

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HARRY LEE later years

This postcard is from my from my friend Ed Provine’s collection of steamboat postcards.   Way’s Packet Directory recorded the following on the HARRY LEE which was the last boat to enter the Lee Line fleet.  The cars in the foreground appear to be 1930’s vintage autos.

HARRY LEE:  Boat 2541 Way’s Packet Directory page 208.  Stern Wheel, steel hull, Packet built St. Louis Mo., 1915, 175.5 x 36 x 6.7.  Engines, 16’s – 6.  Three boilers set on her backwards; fired from the deck-room.   Owned by the Lee Line, Memphis.  Ran Memphis-Helena-Friars Point.  In January 1921 she was 40 miles up the St. Francis River(Arkansas).  She was built at the Phil A. Rohan Boat, Boiler & Tank Works, St. Louis.

Last owned by the Valley Line, Memphis, which sold her June 1924 to Sherburne Transportation Co.  She served during WWII at Alexandria La., on the Red River as a barracks for soldiers, and was moved from there to Orange, Tex., used to quarter shipyard workmen and burned May 12, 1942.  She was then converted into a showboat at Orange and was still there in 1951.  The Valley Line was formed from the Delta Line and several Lee Line boats.  This postcard would have dated to sometime after 1942.

Show Boat Harry Lee Texas Floating Amusement Palace

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James Lee House a labor of love

Thank you Dan Conaway for this story of love for the James Lee House.  Jose and Jennifer and partners have indeed engaged in a labor of love to restore this grand old Memphis home and operate it as a bed and breakfast.


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Eagle Packet Co. Lee Line competitor 1907

Following the bankruptcy of the St. Louis New Orleans Anchor Line due to financial decline and massive damage caused to their boats by killer tornado’s that hit St. Louis May 26, 1896 the Lee Line expanded their business north to St. Louis and into the Ohio River.  The Eagle Packet Co. expanding to fill the void as well.

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1874 Competitor Pass

Both the Idlewild and Quick Step entered the Lee Line fleet after 1874.  Capt. James Lee Sr. had a knack for buying or chartering boats as family boats were lost or sent to repair yards following accidents.

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Theodore Roosevelt came to St. Louis by way of steamboat 1907

St. Louis river front 1907 Theodore Roosevelt landed on the Lee Line wharf boat.  The top panorama was enhanced using PhotoShop to take out the folds in the original postcard.

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Lee Line creamer

Another recent find also purchased from an antique dealer who to the best of his recollection purchased it years ago at a garage or estate sale.  Originally this creamer was very thinly silver plated since the family knew that most of the items on their boats would probably end up on the bottom of the Mississippi or Ohio Rivers since boats were prone to snagging, blowing up or burning.

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Original Lee Line Poster

This poster came from a family member by way of an antique dealer who purchased it years ago.  I am happy to return it to the family.

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