Texas (steamboat)

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Cropped image of Chippewa, focusing on the texas which is located just aft of the pilothouse
In this c.1925 postcard of the Toronto waterfront, the Canada Steamship Lines steamboats Chippewa and Toronto show differences in the texas which is just aft of the pilothouse on the upper texas-deck

The texas is a structure or section of a steamboat that includes the pilothouse and the crew's quarters. It is located on the hurricane deck, which is also called the texas deck. This long, narrow cabin may be surmounted by the pilothouse.


A steamboat's texas is named in honor of the state of Texas. This innovation in steamboat construction was introduced about the same time that the state of Texas became part of the United States in 1845.[1]

In this period, steamboat cabins were conventionally named after states and the officers' quarters were the largest. This structure housing the largest cabins was identified with Texas, which was then the largest state.[2][3]


The term became widely known after the publication of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. In the section in which Huck and Jim encounter a wrecked steamboat:

"... there ain't nothing to watch but the texas and the pilot-house; and do you reckon anybody's going to resk his life for a texas and a pilot-house such a night as this, when it's likely to break up and wash off down the river any minute?" Jim couldn't say nothing to that, so he didn't try.

— Mark Twain, The Annotated Huckleberry Finn : Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade)[4]


  1. ^ "texas". Glossary of Steamboat Terms. Steamboats. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  2. ^ "texas". Your Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2005, retrieved 2008-05-05 
  4. ^ Clemens, Samuel (Mark Twain); Kemble, E. W. (2001). Hearn, Michael Patrick, ed. The Annotated Huckleberry Finn : Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade). New York: Norton. p. 124. ISBN 9780393020397. OCLC 464744065.