Leona (sternwheeler)

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Sternwheelers under construction at Portland, Oregon in 1898, one year before Leona was completed.
Name: Leona (ex McMinnville)
Owner: Oregon City Transportation Company
Route: Willamette River
Builder: Joseph Supple
Launched: 1899, at Portland, Oregon[1]
Identification: US #92959 (as McMinnville); #141710 (as Leona)
Fate: Burned 1912, Willamette River[1]
Notes: Launched 1899 under McMinnville, rebuilt 1901 and renamed Leona[1][2]
General characteristics
Class and type: riverine steamboat, passenger/freighter
Tonnage: 137 gross / 102 registered[2]
Length: 90 ft (27.43 m) (as McMinnville); 105 ft (32.00 m) (as Leona).
Beam: 21 ft (6.40 m)[2]
Depth: 4 ft (1.22 m)[2]
Installed power: Twin single-cylinder horizontally mounted steam engines, 7" bore by 28" stroke, 3.3 NHP (as McMinnville); 7.5" bore by 30" stroke (as Leona).[2]
Propulsion: sternwheeler

The steamship Leona operated from 1899 to 1912 on the Willamette River in the U.S. state of Oregon.[3] This vessel was original launched under the name McMinnville in 1899, and should not be confused with an earlier vessel named McMinnville, which ran on the Willamette River from 1877 to 1881.[2]


Leona / McMinville was built in 1899, at the shipyard of Joseph Supple at Portland, Oregon. The vessel was a sternwheeler driven by twin-single cylinder horizontally-mounted steam engines.

Acquisition by Yellow Stack Line

In 1901[2] the vessel was acquired by the Graham family, rebuilt and renamed Leona.[1] [4] 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.[3][5]

Operations on Willamette River

Leona ran on the upper Willamette River, that is, above Willamette Falls.[1]

Operations on the Lewis River

In the early part of the 1900s, transportation on the Lewis River, a tributary of the Columbia River downriver from Vancouver, Washington, was dominated by the Lewis River Transportation Company, in which a prominent businessman Jacob Kamm was interested. By 1904, Leona was brought on as an opposition boat, which generated at least one favorable comment in the press at the time:

The Kamm Co. (Lewis River Transportation Co.) service has been the poorest that ever ran on this river since the SWALLOW and HYDRA ran on it. If you know what side your bread is buttered on and have any sympathy for your neighbors, patronize the opposition boat LEONA at the foot of Oak Street Portland. If the people don't patronize it they ought to be compelled to walk to Ridgefield to the Railroad if they go at all.[6]

Loss by fire

In 1912, Leona burned on the Lewis river near what is now the modern town of La Center, Washington. The wreck of the Leona is still visible on the Lewis River at low water during July and August.[7] The wreck site is reported to be on the west side of the Lewis River bridge at La Center, Washington.[7]

See also

Steamboats of the Columbia River


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Newell, Gordon R., ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, at 48 and 210, Superior Publishing, Seattle, WA 1966
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Affleck, Century of Paddlewheelers, at 18.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mills, Randall V., Sternwheelers Up Columbia, at 89, University of Nebraska Press (1977 reprint of 1947 edition) ISBN 0-8032-5874-7
  4. One source states that McMinnville was rebuilt and renamed as Latona, a similar but different vessel than Leona. Timmen, Blow for the Landing, at 108.
  5. Timmen, Blow for the Landing, at page 108.
  6. The Vancouver "Independent", December 8, 1904, as quoted in Card, Judy, Fields of Flowers ..." at Lewis River.com
  7. 7.0 7.1 Image of wreck.


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

| Steamboats of the Willamette River

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

| Steamboats of the Columbia 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
  • Card, Judy, Fields of Flowers and Forests of Firs -- A History of the Woodland Community 1850-1958 (self-published) (excerpts relating to personal and newspaper accounts of steam navigation on the Lewis River available on-line at Lewis River.com).
  • 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
  • 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

Further reading

  • Corning, Howard McKinley, Willamette Landings, Oregon Historical Society (2d Ed. 1973) ISBN 87595-042-6

External links