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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Commercial Barge Traffic

Panel # 66

 
 
Commercial Barge Traffic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, May 18, 2010
1. Commercial Barge Traffic Marker
Inscription. Barges first appeared on the Mississippi River after the U. S. Civil War, as river interest tried to compete with the railroads’ growing domination. The railroads won this transportation duel and tows practically disappeared from the river until WWI revived the need for river traffic. The industry has continually evolved since then and today’s sophisticated towboats and massive barges make up on the nation’s most economical transportation systems.

The first wooden barges were towed behind steamboats, but crosswinds and currents made the almost impossible to control. Through the name is the same, modern towing is really … Towboats push its group of barges, all to form a rigid unit. In the 1930’s steamboats were replaced by diesel-powered propellers. This arrangement is coordinated with the pick-up and delivery schedule, and sometimes the tow must during the trip in an intricate jigsaw puzzle fashion. The bow is lashed into a rigid unit using “wire” (2-inch steel cable) and “iron” (chains and lockhooks stretched tight). This hardwired is often called “river jewelry”.

Modern towboats are well-equipped and powerful-an average boat provides 8.500 horsepower and some can develop up to 16,500 horsepower. Like their steamboat ancestors they unusually have four decks, but modern pilots sit in padded swivel chairs surrounded by sophistical monitoring equipment. The familiar spoke wheel is a gone-a system of levers control both steering and engine power. Deckhands work two 6 hour shifts every 24 hours and get every other month off River transportation has distinct economic advantages: its dramatically cheaper than rail or trucks transport, and uses far less energy. (Marker Number 66.)
 
Location. 35° 8.968′ N, 90° 3.507′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker is on Island Drive. Touch for map. Mud Island Mississippi Riverwalk. Marker is at or near this postal address: 125 N Front St, Memphis TN 38103, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Mississippi Riverwalk (here, next to this marker); Ohio River (here, next to this marker); Cairo, Illinois (here, next to this marker); Islands No. 2, 3, and 4/Fort Jefferson, Kentucky/Bird’s Point, Missouri (here, next to this marker); Island No. 5 (Wolf Island)/Belmont, Missouri/Columbus, Kentucky (here, next to this marker); Donaldson Point, Missouri/Island No. 8/Hickman, Kentucky/Dorena Crevasse (here, next to this marker); New Madrid, Missouri/Cates Casting Field/Island No. 10 (here, next to this marker); Tiptonville, Tennessee/Bixby Towhead (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 14, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 18, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on March 18, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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