Steamboat Interiors


A view looking down the salon of Grand Republic’s Salon in 1876.


Passengers photographed in the Cabin of the Grand Republic, 1876. Photographs of steamboat interiors were usuually taken without people in view, since it was the ornate architecture that the photographer sought to capture, and because it was necessary for passengers to remain still until the exposure was complete.


The main cabin of the City of St.Louis. Date unknown. It appears to be a sunny day as sunlight is easily entering through the skylights on either side. The furniture has been moved aside. The two men standing in the center are formally dressed.


Servants are standing in position, in this photograph of the cabin in the Belle of Memphis. All members of the crew, whether cooks, waiters, barber, mud clerk or stokers, were proud of their “sumptious” palace.


Sunlight is streaming through the skylights into the cabin. Again, the servants are standing at attention in their accustomed locations. At least one table appears to be laid for dining.


Even the stove flu is polished to perfection.

J.M.WHITE Stairway Entrance

Coming aboard the J.M.White across the forecastle we arrive at the main stairway up to the cabin. Note that the men standing either side have been positioned to provide a sense of scale.

J.M.WHITE Balcony

This is the “balcony” at the head of the main stairway. The stairway divided into two and this is the starboard side. Note the flooring design.

J.M.WHITE Watercooler

Entering the forward end of the main cabin we find the watercooler.


The truly patalial cabin of the J.M.White, which was 275 ft. long, 30 ft. wide and 18 ft. high. The cabin was constructed of solid bird’s-eye maple, hand-carved and inlaid with woods of contrasting colors. The skylight window panes were stained-glass. All hardware in the White’s cabin was gold-plated. The staterooms were as large as 12 by 14 ft., fully furnished with beds, and arranged so that they could be converted into suites.

J.M.WHITE Cabin View

A view along one side of the J.M.White’s cabin. The stove, just visible to the left, is also suitably ornate and polished.

J.M.WHITE “Ladies Cabin”

The “Ladies Cabin” was in the rear of the main cabin, which is reflected in the huge mirror. The inlays and carvings are especially ornate. At the time, no other steamboat could rival the White in luxuriousness and appointments.

J.M.WHITE Office

The skylights in the office of the J.M.White were an unusual shape and stained-glass. Again, fine inlays are present, especially above and below the windows. The sign reads: “Bills Taken For Collection ~ Not C.O.D.”

J.M.WHITE “Promenade” Deck

Outside the main cabin we find the spacious “promenade” deck. There are, apparently, ample spitoons positioned for the convenience of passengers, probably intended more for smokers wishing to dispose of cigar butts, since throwing a live butt over the rail would risk it landing on the lower deck where a fire could easily start amongst freight.

J.M.WHITE Pilot-House

Climbing up onto the forward end of the “Texas” we can look back at the White’s pilot-house, with a pilot at the wheel ~ extending below the floor. There are also two other men in the pilot-house. Unfortunately, this is as close as we can come to the interior of the White’s pilot-house as no photograph was taken detailing within.

We seem to be out on the river. The “‘scape” pipes are visible either side, with their feathered tops, akin to the much larger stacks.