The steamboat “Suwanee”

The steamer “Suwanee” is one of The Menge Brothers Steamboat Line had eight steamers.  For 22 years, the steamers plied up the Caloosahatchee River past the landings of pioneer settlers, such as the ones on Pine Island.

Sternwheeled steamboat built in 1888 at Branford on the Suwannee River for T.A. Wallace. It was 70′ long, 16.5′ wide and drew 4′ of water. Brought to Fort Myers in 1902/3 by Captain Prince, who sold her to Captains Fred and Conrad Menge who rebuilt her, adding staterooms to make an excursion and passenger boat for the Gulf and Calooashatchee.

The boat sank in the canal at Moore Haven after the 1926 storm. Henry Ford wished to preserve her because she had been the favorite of his friend Thomas Edison. Some of the timbers of the sunken boat were rescued and under Conrad Menge’s guidance the Suwanee was rebuilt.

Described as the only steamer operating through the heart of the Everglades, the Suwanee made regular trips between Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale, traveling through the Caloosahatchee, Lake Okeechobee, and the North New River Canal.

Thomas Edison chartered the Suwanee for his honeymoon.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/26634

Steamboat “Suwanee” on the Caloosahatchee River

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/29001

Steamboat “Suwanee” after being rebuilt by Henry Ford.  As she first appeared when built in 1876 [1889?] and when first rebuilt in 1929 by Henry Ford.  In 1935 the second deck was removed.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/30050

Dining room of the steamer “Suwanee”.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/149007

The “Suwanee” on New River – Broward County, Florida.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/149006

Steamboat “Suwanee” in the 3 mile canal to Lake Okeechobee.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/26083

Steamboat “Suwanee” being rebuilt by Henry Ford.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/41221

Postcard showing Koreshans aboard the “Suwanee” paddle steamer.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/256382

“Suwanee” steamboat

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/8507

Steamboat “Suwanee” in Greenfield Village – Dearborn, Michigan.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/41220

The “Suwanee” on the canal at Bolles Hotel – Ritta, Florida.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/149009

“Suwanee”, drawn by Philip Ayers Sawyer.

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Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/155277  Artist Sawyer, Philip Ayers.

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