For 50 years one of the most popular ways to travel up and down the mighty Mississippi River has been aboard the authentic paddlewheel steamboat Delta Queen. To ride on this boat is to step back in time — in fact, the Delta Queen has been declared a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
But true riverboat buffs will tell you that the Delta Queen was not originally built to travel on the Mississippi River. It’s a California boat, built in Stockton in the late 1920’s for service on the Sacramento River. The Delta Queen spent the first 20 years of her life as a night-boat taking passengers back and forth from Sacramento to San Francisco and becoming a familiar and much-loved part of the California landscape.
In 1947, the proud paddlewheeler left California, was towed through the Panama Canal and began her service on the Mississippi River.
Now, 50 years later, producer/host Huell Howser travels over 2,000 miles east to rediscover the Delta Queen’s California history and roots. Also, along for the rid are several Californians who remember her “good ole days” and have great stories to tell about her time on the Sacramento River.