Delta Queen Steamboat Company

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The Delta Queen at the start of the 2004 Great Steamboat Race

The Greene Line was a line of river steamships along the Ohio River. The name was later changed to Delta Queen Steamboat Company.


The company was started in 1890 by Gordon C. Greene with Henry K. Bedford. When Gordon died in 1927 his sons: Christopher Becker Greene, Henry Wilkins Greene, and Thomas R. Greene ran the company.[1][2]

In 1973 the company's name was changed to the Delta Queen Steamboat Company as the Greene family was no longer involved.[3] In April 1976, the Delta Queen was sold to the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York. Soon after that the Prudential Lines Inc. of San Francisco, California, became involved. In the early 1980s Sam Zell and Bob Lurie of Chicago, Illinois, acquired control of the outstanding stock. (Compensation to stockholders also included lifetime membership in the "Mark Twain Association," which grants half-price discounts on all Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen excursions.)

On October 19, 2001, American Classical Voyages, the parental company of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company and still under control of Sam Zell, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. All boats finished their cruises except the Delta Queen which finished the season on January 5, 2002. Fortunately, the Delta Queen Steamboat Company was bought by Delaware North Companies, Inc., and the Delta Queen went back in service on August 26, 2002, the year of her 75th birthday.

In 2006 the Delta Queen Steamboat Company was sold again, this time to Ambassadors International, who formed a new cruise line called Majestic America Line, running now also the Empress of the North, the Columbia Queen, the Queen of the West and other ships.

Since the exemption for the Delta Queen from the Safety at Sea Act expired at the end of October 2008 she is no longer allowed to carry overnight passengers. As of February 2009 she is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Delta Queen fans are still working on getting a renewal of the exemption from Congress.



  1. ^ "Marker #10-84 Captain Gordon C. Greene / Captain Mary Becker Greene". Remarkable Ohio. Retrieved 2011-02-25. ... Mary Becker Greene (1867-1949) married Gordon C. Greene in 1890 and raised three sons - Captain Chris, Captain Tom, and Henry Wilkins. She learned navigation and earned a pilot and masters license, becoming one of the most noted figures on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for more than a half century. The "Greene Line" fleet continued to expand with additions of the Gordon C. Greene and the Delta Queen. Captain Mary Greene served as hostess on these steamboats. She died at the age of 81 on the renowned Delta Queen, a National Historic Landmark. 
  2. ^ "Greene Line Steamboats". Retrieved 2011-02-25. After Gordon died in 1927 Mary and her two sons, Chris and Tom (both Captains) ran the company. Captain Chris Greene died in 1944 leaving Mary and Tom to run the Greene Line. Mary died shortly after Tom Greene had brought the Delta Queen to Cincinnati in 1949. There is a life-size bronze statue of Captain Mary Becker Greene on the Covington-Newport Kentucky riverwalk overlooking the Cincinnati riverfront. Captain Tom Greene then died in 1950. It was now up to his widow Letha Greene to take over the reins of the Company. The Greene line was in financial difficulties due to the purchase and renovations of the Delta Queen so Letha was forced to sell all the Greene line boats except the Delta Queen. 
  3. ^ To see a corporate history timeline, go to [1].
  4. ^ "H. K Bedford". Newport Ohio History. Retrieved 2011-02-25. The H K Bedford, the beginning of the famous Greene Line of today was built in 1886 at Jeffersonville, Ind. for the upper Cumberland River trade; 149 1-2 ft long, 26 ft beam, tonnage 139. In 1890 she was purchased by Capt. Gordon C Greene from Tim Armstrong and George M Greene and brought to Newport, Ohio, Capt. Greene's home. On June 20, H. E. Bevan, known as "Sandy," went aboard of her on this date and remained with Capt. Greene until Sept. 1896. ... 
  5. ^ "Steamer Tom Greene Wins Race Upon Ohio River. Thousands Line Banks As The Betsy Ann Goes To Defeat By Small Margin". The Baltimore Sun. July 17, 1929. Retrieved 2011-02-26. Commander Tom R. Greene, pilot of the winner, received from Commander Frederick Way, 28, of the Betsy Ann, a set of historic antlers as a symbol of victory ...