From the earliest rudimentary conveyances to the floating palaces of the present day, a period of 200 years, steamboats have carved out a very special place in American history, especially along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, where they brought passengers, cargo, mail, entertainment, and newsboth good and badto the settlements of a still-developing nation. With paddle-wheels churning, tall smokestacks billowing, calliopes singing, and steam whistles sounding, the steamboats of the Mighty Mississippi proudly ruled the river. Some offered all the comforts of home (and more); others did the work for the industries that transformed the United States into the industrial giant it became. They carried presidents and kings, socialites and commoners, cotton and coal, lumber and steel. They enabled some of our nation’s major cities to grow and flourish. Told through historic photographs in these pages, the story of steamboats that plied the Mississippi and the glorious era they symbolized is vividly captured and enshrined for generations to come.