WHEELING BUILT STEAMBOATS the Washington

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Henry Miller Shreve’s Steamboat Washington Model by John Bowman

Washington
Henry Miller Shreve’s 1815 stern-wheel steam-powered Washington, built on the North bank of Wheeling Creek was the first steamboat built in Wheeling, Virginia. The Washington was one hundred and thirty-four feet in length and twenty-eight feet in width with two decks, the first double-decker steamboat. Washington had two high-pressure steam engines, the first on the Western Rivers and her two copper boilers were flue type. Washington had two furnaces burning wood and vented its smoke into two tall stacks. Her cabin was split: sleeping berths occupied the fore cabin and the aft cabin, sixty feet in length, had a commodious bar-room and three private rooms. The Washington was launched May 12, 1816. Shreve’s Washington, built with a flat bottom hull, was the first successful steamboat able to steam an up-river voyage with a full cargo under its own power and would be the prototype of all future Western River steamboats. The Washington carried the fifteen stars, fifteen stripes, American Flag and the thirteen stars personal flag of George Washington. Washington was retired in 1824.
This model of the stern-wheel steam-powered packet Washington built by John Bowman is on display at West Virginia Independence Hall Wheeling, West Virginia.