Altona (sternwheeler)

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Altona and Elwood at foot of Trade Street in Salem, Oregon, 1893.
Name: Altona
Owner: Oregon City Transportation Company
Route: Columbia River, Willamette River, Alaska waters
Launched: 1890, at Portland, Oregon[1].
Identification: US # 106729 (original); 107453 (following reconstruction).[2]
Notes: Reconstructed at Portland, Oregon in 1899. Served on Willamette River to Corvallis, Oregon until 1907, then transferred to Alaska.[3]
General characteristics
Class and type: riverine steamboat, passenger/freighter
Tonnage: 201 gross/190 registered as built; 329 gross/ 242 as reconstructed [3]
Length: 120 ft (36.58 m) as built; 123 ft (37.49 m) as reconstructed.[3][2]
Beam: 21 ft (6.40 m) as built; 29.7 ft (9.05 m) as reconstructed.[2]
Draft: 5.2 ft (1.58 m) as built; 4.8 ft (1.46 m) as reconstructed.[2]
Installed power: Twin single-cylinder horizontally mounted steam engines, 12" bore by 48" stroke, 9.6 nominal horsepower.[2]
Propulsion: sternwheeler

The steamship Altona operated from 1890 to 1907 on the Willamette River in the U.S. state of Oregon. In 1907, she was transferred to Alaska.[3]


Altona was built in 1890, at Portland, Oregon. She was a sternwheeler driven by twin-single single cylinder horizontally-mounted steam engines. She was built for the Graham steamboat line, formally called the Oregon City Transportation Company, but also known as the “Yellow Stack Line”. All the steamers of the line had names that ended in -ona: Latona, Ramona, Altona, Leona, Pomona, Oregona, and Grahamona.[1]

Operations on Willamette River

Altona ran the Willamette River as far as Corvallis, Oregon. In 1899 the vessel was rebuilt at Portland by David Stephenson and enlarged from 201 to 329 tons and from 120 ft (36.58 m) to 123 ft (37.49 m)[3][2] On December 23, 1902, Altona was involved in a collision with the steamer Modoc, which occurred as follows according to the report of the Steamboat Inspection Service:

December 23.—At 7.30 a. m., about 2 miles south of Portland, Willamette River, Oregon, during a heavy fog, the steamers Modoc and Altona collided, breaking both cylinder timbers on the port side, also fantail, wheelhouse, and wheel of the steamer Altona. No damage to steamer Modoc. No loss of lite or damage to cargo. Estimated damage to steamer Altona. $500.[4]

Transfer to Alaska

File:Altona and Thlinket off-loading cargo 1907.jpg
Altona and another steamer unloading rail supplies in Alaska, 1907

In 1907, Altona was transferred to Cordova, Alaska.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mills, Randall V., Sternwheelers Up Columbia, at 89, University of Nebraska Press (1977 reprint of 1947 edition) ISBN 0-8032-5874-7
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Affleck, Century of Paddlewheelers, at page 7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Newell, Gordon R., ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, at 48, Superior Publishing, Seattle, WA 1966
  4. Steamboat Inspection Service, 1904 annual report, page 22.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
[[Commons: Category:Steamboats of the Willamette River

| Steamboats of the Willamette River

  • Affleck, Edward L., A Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific Northwest, the Yukon, and Alaska, Alexander Nicholls Press, Vancouver, BC 2000 ISBN 0-920034-08-X
  • Dept. of Commerce and Labor, Annual Report of the Inspector-General of the Steamboat Inspection service, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 1904
  • Mills, Randall V., Sternwheelers up Columbia, Univ. of Nebraska (1947; 1977 printing) ISBN 0-8032-5874-7
  • Newell, Gordon R., ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, at 48, Superior Publishing, Seattle, WA 1966

Further reading

  • Corning, Howard McKinley, Willamette Landings, Oregon Historical Society (2d Ed. 1973)
  • Timmen, Fritz Blow for the Landing -- A Hundred Years of Steam Navigation on the Waters of the West, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID 1973 ISBN 0-87004-221-0

External links