Whiskey and Window Panes: The Archaeological Investigation of a Side-Wheel Steamboat at Seminole, Alabama

Wayne Arlen Abrahamson

          During the fall of 2005, faculty from the University of West Florida (UWF) were notified of ship remains located in the Blackwater River where the Seminole Lumber Camp once operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After an initial visit by faculty and students, it was determined that the remains were that of an eastern coastal paddle-wheel steamboat. The hull was intact, and the vessel was equipped with a boiler and walking beam steam engine. By the late eighteenth century, steam power became prevalent in the maritime industry and helped bring about the development of the eastern coastal paddle-wheel steamboat with its distinctive walking beam engine. The information contained in this thesis is the result of several field schools conducted between 2006 and 2010 where students extensively recorded the hull and the machinery, including the walking beam engine which engineers built in New York City in 1870. The thesis is an all-embracing summary of the students' hard work and provides detailed information on the history of lumbering and steam navigation in the area and the development and construction of the eastern coastal paddle-wheel steamboat.