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  • Register:11/11/2008 8:17 AM

Date Posted:11/21/2008 9:01 PMCopy HTML

By no means the least among the famous fleets of the world is the great white fleet of Streckfus Excursion Steamers, representing an investment of several million dollars in an enterprise devoted exclusively to entertaining people on enjoyable river outings.  The Streckfus Fleet consists of five great vessels, the "President," the "J. S.," the "St. Paul," the "Capitol" and the "Washington."  Placed end to end in parade formation, these steamers would form a line almost half a mile long.
The most unique characteristic of the Streckfus Fleet is the fact that each and every one of the steamers composing it is designed and built for one-day pleasure outings, bringing the joys and thrills of a steamer ride on the river within the reach of every purse.  Even on the S. S. President, newest and mightiest of inland passenger steamers, a ticket for an all-day or evening outing costs but a few cents more than the average movie admission.
On most of the other vessels, the fare is even lower. Thus the Streckfus organization, by application of the principle of mass handling, has made available the luxury of ocean liner service on the inland waterways to everyone who has even a very little money to spend for pleasure and recreation.

The flagship of the Streckfus Fleet is the S. S. President, on which construction was started in 1931, and which was placed in service on July 1, 1933.  In this splendid new, all-steel, oil-burning steamer many unique and original ideas in steamer architecture were introduced. Boilers, generators and all auxiliary machinery were placed in the hull to keep the odor, heat and noise of working machinery and steam
away from passengers, just as in an ocean liner, and to make the entire first deck available for their use.  Thus the first deck, like all the others, is open from end to end, allowing the unobstructed passage of cooling river breezes.  The all-steel superstructure of the S. S. President is built like a skyscraper.  Even the pilot house is of steel.  To the best of our knowledge, the President is the only passenger steamer on the Mississippi built entirely of steel--hull, framework and decks.  To great strength and rigidity, this all-steel construction adds another advantage, plainly obvious to even the most casual observer--bars and rods that are always in one's way when going about the decks of steamers constructed in the old-fashioned way.  This rigid construction also makes the S. S. President one of the smoothest, easiest-riding steamers on the Mississippi.
Breath-taking in its beauty, the Ball Room on the second deck gives one a sweeping conception of the revolutionary  departure in design of the new President from all traditional steamboat architecture. 
There's not a scroll or a piece of jigsaw work anywhere. Its immense floor space, 200 feet long, 50 feet wide, and its height of two full decks, provides ample room for 2,000 dancers.  The decorative treatment and the indirect lighting system are inspiring examples of the refreshing beauty of modern art.  The basic color scheme consists of soft, cool shades of green, set off with bright complimentary colors which add just the right touch of brilliance to the ensemble.  The decorative motif is an impish little steamboat, busily plowing through some modernistic waves, with just below it a school of gay, mischievous little striped fish, bright of eye and happy of expression, which seem to wink knowingly at the dancing couples.
 The Mezzanie Deck houses the popular "Club President" and also sports a soda bar where pink elephants, purple snakes and green monkeys eye you while you enjoy a fountain specialty.  Four unique Powder Puff Rooms, each designed and decorated in a thoroughly distinct manner, and each characterized by a name of its own, provide pleasant, attractive feminine retreats where milady may repair the damage done to her make-up during the dance.
On the Restuarant Deck there are hundreds of tables with brightly colored modernistic tops, where tasty meals are served at inexpensive prices.  Waiter service is available, or passengers may pass the modern, sanitary service buffet and make their selections for themselves. All cooking on the S. S. President is done on modern electric ranges in a sanitary kitchen which boasts every up-to-date contrivance, including an electric dish washer.
The Summer Garden on the top deck is made bright and attractive by colorful beach umbrellas, whose shade may be enjoyed in the comfortable steamer chairs without any fear of a sudden shower of soot and cinders, for the President's six powerful oil-burning boilers make no smoke.

The Steamer J. S. De Luxe was the first of its type to introduce real luxury in a boat built exclusively for excursion service. For many years it was the flagship of the Streckfus Fleet, until superceded by the S. S. President, and even today its fine appointments make it the favorite steamer of many thousands of Mississippi excursionists.
The spacious Main Lounge of the "J. S.," with its bubbling fountain and canopied ceiling, makes a quiet, cool garden setting where comfortable, inviting, brightly upholstered gliders, wicker chairs and rockers arranged in cozy groups amid scores of ferns and potted plants invite one to take one's ease and enjoy the miles of passing scenery in absolute comfort. This Main Lounge is one of the most attractive of any steamer on the Mississippi.  In addition to it, there are four other lounges on the "J. S." equally as attractive, but smaller in size.
The Ball Room of the "J. S." is one of the most famous on the river, as well as one of the largest.  Millions of people have two-stepped, fox-trotted and waltzed over its finely polished hardwood to the music of many well-known orchestras, several of which now enjoy a nation-wide radio fame. Formerly operated out of St. Louis, the "J. S." during the 1933 and 1934 seasons became a trooper as we call it in the excursion business.  Its 1934 itinerary will serve as an example. After having spent the winter at New Orleans, the "J. S." open its 1934 season on Tuesday, May 1, at Plaquemine, La., making a moonlight excursion out of that port.  From that date until Thursday, August 9, the "J. S." was on the go continuously, running during the day to the next town, getting there in time for another evening outing that night.  Stopping thus from town to town, it worked its way up the Mississippi to Cairo where it arrived on May 16.  From Cairo it went up the Ohio River as far as Parkersburg, W. Va., and created quite a sensation as it was the most luxurious steamer that ever stopped at Ohio River ports.  On June 16, the "J. S." was back at Cairo and began its long trip up the Mississippi to Red Wing, Minn., almost as far as St.Paul, arriving there on July 4. On August 9, the "J. S." arrived back at New Orleans and made daily and nightly trips from the foot of Canal Street until the end of the season. 


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The above story was taken from the
Streckfus Steamers magazine-dated



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  • Register:11/11/2008 8:17 AM

Re:Streckfus Fleet Of Excursion Steamers I

Date Posted:11/22/2008 4:18 AMCopy HTML

Moving this in second position. I don't have the energy to redo the page at the present time. Thanks!

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