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Towboat Sprague

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Towboat Sprague

The largest towboat ever built, she was built in 1902 by the Iowa Iron Works at Dubuque, Iowa.The hull was 276 feet long, and the overall length with the paddle wheel was 318 feet. In 1904 she moved 56 coal boats and four barges, a total of 67,307 tons. In 1926 the Sprague moved 11,000,000 gallons of oil in one tow. In 1948 she was converted to a floating museum and theater for the city of Vicksburg.

The Sprague passed Wheeling on Jan. 15, 1905 on her way from Pittsburgh to the south. She was never above Cincinnati again, until she was towed to Pittsburgh (and back to Vicksburg) for a bicentennial celebration in 1959. (Waterways Journal, April 11, 1959, p. 16; Conley Ralph, "The River", Wheeling Intelligencer, Feb. 20 and 21, 1959.) 

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