Wide West

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Wide West
Name: Wide West
Owner: Oregon Steam Navigation Company
Route: Columbia River and lower Willamette River to Portland, Oregon
Completed: 1877, Portland, Oregon
Out of service: 1888
Fate: Dismantled 1888, engines and upper works to T. J. Potter
General characteristics
Tonnage: 1200-tons
Length: 218 ft (66 m)
Installed power: steam
Propulsion: sternwheel

The Wide West was a steamboat that served in the Pacific Northwest. She had a reputation as a luxury boat for the day.

Wide West was built in 1877 in Portland, Oregon, by the Oregon Steam Navigation Company. She was built entirely of wood. Wide West was a sternwheeler, 218 feet long and rated at 1200 tons. On the Columbia River, unlike the Mississippi and other rivers in the eastern part of the country, there were very few sidewheel steamboats. Wide West was placed on the run from Portland to the Cascades of the Columbia, which at that time, were the head of navigation. Passengers would have to disembark and ride a short railway around the Cascades to board another steamboat to travel further upriver. Cargo similarly would have to be unloaded and reloaded again.

In 1888 she was deconstructed and her upper works and machinery were used to build another steamboat, the T. J. Potter. This was very typical of the time, as the wooden-hulls would become waterlogged and worn, and it was easier to simply rebuild a new boat. The upper works and machinery would be reused, as it was more durable and would still have economic value after only ten years of operation.

See also


  • Timmen, Fritz (1973). Blow for the Landing - A Hundred Years of Steam Navigation on the Waters of the West. Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers. 
  • Mills, Randall V. (1947). Stern-Wheelers up Columbia - A Century of Steamboating in the Oregon Country. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 

External links

30px External images
16px Photo of the Wide West
16px Interior of Wide West
16px Another photo of interior of Wide West