Charles H. Spencer hulk

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Charles H. Spencer hulk
Charles H. Spencer hulk.jpg
Nearest cityLee's Ferry, Arizona
NRHP reference #89001593 [1]
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1989

The Charles H. Spencer was a stern-wheel steamboat that was briefly used on the Colorado River to transport coal for gold refining operations at Lee's Ferry, Arizona.

In 1910, Charles H. Spencer was a prospector who arrived at Lee's Ferry in search of gold hidden in shale of the Chinle Formation. His company, American Placer Corporation, processed the shale by creating a mud and then removing the gold deposits by mercury amalgamation, which required a steady source of power. Finding a coal seam up river, Spencer commissioned a San Francisco company, Robertson–Schultz Co., to build the stern-wheel paddle steamer, Charles H. Spencer, for the American Placer Corporation. James Robertson and Herman Rosenfelt built the ship.[2] It was 92.5 feet long, 25 feet abeam and had a draft of 18 to 20 inches.[3]:129 A 110 horse-power marine boiler powered a 12-foot stern paddle. The various parts were manufactured in San Francisco, shipped by rail to Marysvale, Utah, and conveyed by ox-cart to the mouth of Warm Creek, where the boat was assembled. The boat averaged 5–6 tons of coal on each trip. But by the end of the summer the operation was curtailed. The boat was docked and then abandoned in 1914. During a flood in 1921, the boat sank in shallow water. Later the superstructure was stripped of its lumber.[2] Its boiler remains in the river marking the site of its sinking and a historical marker is located above it on the bank, about 1/4 mile east of the end of Lees ferry road.[4]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b "Lees Ferry "Charles H. Spencer" Steamboat". List of Classified Structures. National Park Service. 2008-11-25.
  3. ^ Richard E. Lingenfelter, Steamboats on the Colorado River, 1852-1916, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1978 Archived January 18, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ THE HISTORICAL MARKER DATABASE, Charles H. Spencer “Paddlewheel” Steamboat from, accessed October 11, 2018.

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Coordinates: 36°51.945′N 111°34.825′W / 36.865750°N 111.580417°W / 36.865750; -111.580417