The Delta Queen in Sacramento.

The Delta Queen in Sacramento.

Isn’t it incredible that the Delta Queen turns 82 today?! Wow! She made her first cruise from San Francisco to Sacramento on June 2, 1927 and continued in operation for more than 81 years until October 31, 2008.

Her keel was laid on May 18, 1925  and she remained on the ways ways for 7 months as her hull and superstructure were completed. She was launched at 3:40 p.m. Saturday, December 12, 1925. Her interior was finished out over the next year and a half until her debut cruise on June 2, 1927. Her final costs neared $1 million – an incredible expense in the 1920s. She is truly one of the great floating palaces.

The boat was designed as a packet boat, meaning it carried cargo on the main deck and passengers in the cabins on the upper decks. Fare and accommodation were sold separately. The fare was $1.80 one-way or $3 roundtrip. Accommodations ranged from $1 to $5. A five-course dinner was available for 75 cents.

Things were different in 1927…

• In May 1927, Charles Lindbergh made his historic first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He flew from New York to Paris.

• Walt Disney had not yet released the first Mickey Mouse film.

• Milk cost $.58/gallon  

• In 1927, “The Jazz Singer” became the first talking movie.

• Edwin E. Perkins of Hastings invented the powdered soft drink Kool-Aid in 1927.

• The 1st Academy Awards were presented in 1927.

• The first transatlantic telephone call was made from New York City to London.

• The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 affected 700,000 people in the greatest national disaster in U.S. history at that time. 

• Kern and Hammerstein’s musical play Show Boat, based on Edna Ferber’s novel, opened on Broadway.

Things are certainly different here in 2009, except that the Delta Queen is still cherished. We have planned a birthday party for her and invited the community to enjoy cake, punch, calliope concert, music samples from our mainstage shows, historical information, and a guided tour of the boat. I’ll take some pictures and post soon.