|Sternwheeler CHESTER, left.|
Built in 1897 by Joseph Supple, Portland, OR.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
The 101-ft CHESTER was built for the Cowlitz River operations of Captains Orin, Ed, and Joseph Kellogg. Working upstream from Kelso she was able to navigate in a channel a foot deep. At many stops along the river, customers simply drove their wagons alongside the steamer to transfer freight and passengers.
The design of the CHESTER was subsequently widely copied in building light draft steamers for gold rush river service in the north.
According to Jim Faber in Steamer's Wake, the steamer was noted for her flexible hull, supported by hog chains and planked with cedar. Her planking constantly being replaced due to the fact she literally sand-papered her bottom as she slid over the Cowlitz River sandbars.
Owners liked to boast she "floated like a shingle on a pond."