Published by the Sons & Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen
America's Steam & Diesel Riverboat Magazine

Bob Reynolds

Navigation on the Cumberland began as it did on all the inland rivers – log rafts, flatboats and keelboats floating goods downstream to market. Natural trading centers and towns sprung up along the Cumberland as they did on all waterways, and as the populations and the need for commerce increased, so did the need for an improved waterway. The first steamboat to try the Cumberland was the GENERAL JACKSON in 1818, and the boat started up the Cumberland but was… Continue reading

Just prior to the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933, navigation improvements on the Tennessee consisted of two high dams with locks, Hales Bar and Wilson Dams, two lateral canals, the Florence or Lower Muscle Shoals Canal and the Riverton Lock and Canal around Colbert Shoals. There were also two low-lift locks and dams, one below Wilson Lock in the Florence Canal (Lock & Dam #1) and Widows Bar Lock & Dam near Stevenson, Alabama. The U.S. Army… Continue reading

In the State of Tennessee, there are four major cities: Nashville (the Capital) on the Cumberland River, Knoxville and Chattanooga on the Tennessee River, and Memphis on the Mississippi. Residents and businessmen in Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville long tried to utilize the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers for commercial purposes, but were stymied much of the time by low water and not enough water to float boats of any size. A prerequisite for commercial use of any waterway is dependability, and… Continue reading