California’s mighty rivers served as the state’s early superhighways. Riverboats transported countless tons of supplies, workers, and settlers from the coast to inland gold rush colonies and everywhere in between. Majestic sidewheelers and sternwheelers burning coal, wood, and oil plied the waterways of the delta, as well as the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Napa Rivers, and the lesser-known routes of the Sonoma and Petaluma. Starting with the Sitka in 1847, boats such as the Captain Weber, Jacinto, Fort Sutter, T.C. Walker, and J.R. McDonald ruled the rivers, visiting such ports as Courtland, Stockton, Sacramento, San Francisco, Marysville, Firebaugh, Yuba City, and Rio Vista.
About the Author
Transport historian Paul C. Trimble, author of Arcadia’s Ferries of San Francisco Bay, expounds herein on the roles played by these mighty vessels in developing the state. Through vintage images from the California State Library, Sacramento City Library, Western Railway Museum Archives, J. Porter Shaw Library at the National Maritime Museum, and other collections, these stories tell of a developing California long before the rail and automobile eras girdled the landscape with roads and rails. The last boat sailed in 1950, but the legacy of these steamers will live forever.
Table of Contents
1 Riverboats and the Gold Rush 9
2 San Francisco to Sacramento by Riverboat 21
3 Upriver from Sacramento 51
4 The San Joaquin River 71
5 North Bay Creeks and Rivers 95
6 Riverboats about San Francisco Bay 115
7 Finished with Engines 123