America’s oldest operating steamboat is the week #6 CRUISING PHOTO of the WEEK, an outtake from ‘Cruising the World, From Gondolas to Megaships’ which features two large photos of this century old fixture on the Ohio River.

The Belle of Louisville, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the finest examples of America’s nostalgic revival of steamboats and paddle wheelers. Owned by the city of Louisville, the Belle established a tradition in 1963 of competing with another steamboat—originally the Delta Queen — in what has become The Great Steamboat Race held annually on the Wednesday before the Kentucky Derby.

Steamboats have plied America’s rivers since 1787. They now operate in forty-four U.S. states, with West Virginia boasting the most at twenty-nine, mostly privately owned. 

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