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Admiral ad.jpg
Name: SS Admiral
Route: Mississippi River
Launched: 1907
Acquired: 1937
In service: 1940
Out of service: 1979
Fate: 2011 sold as scrap
General characteristics
Length: 374 ft (114 m)
Beam: 92 ft (28 m)
Decks: 5
Capacity: 4400

SS Admiral was an excursion steamboat operating on the Mississippi River from the Port of St. Louis, Missouri. The vessel had a 1930s streamlined, Art Deco style, similar to the MV Kalakala and in contrast to the "gingerbread" ornamentation of more traditional Mississippi passenger and pleasure steamers. At 374 feet (114 m) long and 92 feet (28 m) wide, the Admiral was longer than a city block, and the first all-steel inland steamer. At the time of its construction, the Admiral was the largest passenger vessel on U.S. inland waterways.[citation needed]

The boat was disposed of, as scrap metal.


Throughout the 1920s, Streckfus Steamers[1] operated the J.S. Deluxe,[2] a palatial boat which cruised the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minnesota. It brought exquisite service and fine musical entertainment to the area, introducing jazz to St. Louis.[citation needed]


In 1933 Streckfus Steamers decided to construct a new flagship. The boat was designed by Maizie Krebs[3] for Captain Joe Streckfus. The young Krebs was a fashion illustrator for the St. Louis department store Famous-Barr, and neither she nor Streckfus originally took the design seriously, but she would also design another vessel for Streckfus, the S.S. President, in 1934.[4] The basis of the Admiral was a ship built in 1907 for the Louisiana & Mississippi Valley Transfer Co. and operated at Vicksburg, MS ALBATROS. She was sold to Streckfus Steamers in 1937. From 1938 to 1940 Steamers Service Company rebuilt for more than $1,000,000 a ship with five decks, two of which were air-conditioned, an unheard-of luxury. Her steel hull was divided into 74 compartments, of which up to 11 could be flooded with the ship still remaining afloat. The new steel framework was designed and fabricated by Banner Iron Works.[5]

Later history[edit]

The Admiral moored in the Mississippi River, just north of the St. Louis Arch

She had a capacity of 4400 passengers, and departed on her first excursion cruise from the St. Louis waterfront in June 1940. For decades she was a familiar sight on the river.

In summers throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Admiral would cruise up and down the Mississippi River from 10am-3pm, with many families among the passengers. Older children would play pinball games on the noisy bottom deck where the giant steam engines and paddlewheel could be heard and seen from protected viewing areas. Above that deck, the entire second and third level was an open ballroom with a balcony around it. Tables and booths were all around the ballroom, and a stage and wooden dance floor near the center of the deck served as a place for bands to play, parents and grandparents to waltz and polka, and once in awhile a dance school to perform its annual recital. The ballroom was air-conditioned, a real treat in July summers on the Mississippi, but upstairs, on the open air sitting deck or on the very top, one could watch the shoreline of the Mississippi and the huge barges go by, while listening to a steam calliope playing traditional music.

In the winter of 1973/74 she was converted to diesel-props, with a total of 2700 hp (three engines, one in each paddle box and one at the stern).

S.S. Admiral Partners bought the boat and completed a $30-million-plus renovation (The engines had been removed in 1979 and stripping the interior of much of its art deco trim and fittings). In the late 1980s, the boat was operated by Six Flags, which decided to shut the venture down due to high costs. Since the early 1990s it was operated from moorings near Eads Bridge as the President Casino Laclede's Landing. It boasted 1,230 slot machines, 59 gaming tables, 18 restrooms, and one restaurant.


The Admiral in 2006

About 7:50 pm on 4 April 1998, a tow of the M/V Anne Holly, comprising 12 loaded and 2 empty barges, which was traveling northbound on the Mississippi River through the St. Louis Harbor, struck the Missouri-side pier of the center span of the Eads Bridge. Eight barges broke away from the tow and drifted back through the Missouri span. Three of these barges drifted toward the Admiral. The drifting barges struck the Admiral, causing 8 of its 10 mooring lines to break. The Admiral then rotated clockwise downriver, away from the Missouri riverbank. The captain of the Anne Holly disengaged his vessel from the six remaining barges in the tow and placed the Anne Holly’s bow against the Admiral’s bow to hold it against the bank. About the time the Anne Holly began pushing against the Admiral, the Admiral’s next-to-last mooring line parted. The Anne Holly and the single mooring wire that remained attached to the Admiral’s stern anchor held the Admiral near the Missouri bank. No deaths resulted from the accident; 50 people were examined for minor injuries. Of those examined, 16 were sent to local hospitals for further treatment. Damages were estimated at $11 million.[6] The quick response of the tow captain and emergency services prevented what might have been one of the most deadly marine disasters in history. The Mississippi River was over flood stage at the time of the accident and the ship would not have cleared the I-64 bridge just downstream. There were over 3000 people on board at the time. If the Admiral had capsized when striking the bridge there would have been many people either trapped inside the flooding ship or in the frigid and turbulent river in the dark.[citation needed]

21st century history[edit]

The Admiral, minus her upper decks, is towed from St. Louis to be dismantled on July 19, 2011

In June 2005, it was reported that Columbia Sussex Corp. wanted to buy the President Casino on the Admiral and replace it with a new vessel.[7]

In August 2008, Pinnacle Entertainment, the owner, was considering moving the boat north to the area near the Chain of Rocks Bridge.[8] After the state refused to approve the deal, Pinnacle surrendered its gambling license and sold to St. Louis Marine in 2010. The top deck was removed. The complete dismantlement was delayed because the 2011 Mississippi River floods made it impossible to transport it downstream under the Eads Bridge. With the water dropping, St. Louis Marine announced plans on July 17, 2011 to move it to Columbia, Illinois where the hull will be dismantled and sold for scrap.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Virtual Online Steamboat Museum at". Steamboats.com. 1925-09-08. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  2. ^ http://www.steamboats.com/museum/jc8.html
  3. ^ http://groups.msn.com/RivermenRiverboats/maziekrebsinfo.msnw
  4. ^ http://www.steamboats.com/museum/jc10.html
  5. ^ http://collections.mohistory.org/photo/PHO:24609
  6. ^ Umbright, Emily (2005-05-25). "8th U.S. Circuit Court reverses ruling in runaway barge accident". The Daily Record. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  7. ^ Bernell Dorrough (27 June 2005). "Overheard Online: S.S. Admiral may meet its end". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  8. ^ St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 19 August 2008, p. C1
  9. ^ TIM BRYANT • tbryant@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8206 (2011-07-07). "Time to wave goodbye to the Admiral". Stltoday.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  10. ^ http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/article_c80bda4e-67a9-51c6-b80c-f967e79b196f.html

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Admiral — Please support Wikipedia.
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21 news items

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 22:01:27 -0700

With one bite of the excavator went a part of the SS Admiral's dance floor, where many had their first kiss. With another went where countless bets were won (and lost) at the President Casino. So it is that the Admiral is meeting its end at a Monroe ...
Tue, 19 Jul 2011 22:04:45 -0700

ST. LOUIS • The Admiral and the memories of its millions of passengers floated away Tuesday on the Mississippi River. Eased along by a 7,000-horsepower towboat, the engineless Admiral pulled away from its mooring, glided beneath the Eads Bridge and ...

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio
Tue, 30 Dec 2014 12:41:09 -0800

Schoemehl's administration also oversaw the initial development of riverboat casinos on the city's riverfront, which included the conversion of what was then a local riverboat landmark, the S. S.Admiral. Schoemehl was a major force in the 1980s ...
Thu, 30 Jun 2011 09:18:53 -0700

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A century-old riverboat-turned-casino that folded under withering competition from the St. Louis region's growing array of gambling sites is headed to a scrapyard, piece by piece. Crews are dismantling the S.S. Admiral along the ...
Riverfront Times (blog)
Tue, 26 Jan 2010 09:50:42 -0800

In 1940 she was transformed -- based on drawings from a female fashion illustrator named Mazie Krebs -- into a metal-encased, Art-Deco masterpiece. The $1-million makeover left only the boat's original steel hull and added five stories to its deck and ...
Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:00:00 -0800

Perhaps the gleaming silver sides of the SS Admiral bring back fond memories? Or the terra-cotta details gracing the Cherokee District's Cinderella Building? Artist Marilynne Bradley has spent half a century immortalizing treasures like these in ...

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Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:11:15 -0700

Decor includes mirrored ceilings, backlit crystal crown moldings and twinkle lights salvaged from the old S.S. Admiral in St. Louis, and tables and chairs from Comedy Etc. II. Each table has an LED light with a bouquet of fiber-optic strands that can ...
Thu, 07 Jul 2011 21:37:06 -0700

Reborn as the S.S. Admiral, the boat's first cruise from the St. Louis levee was on June 12, 1940. Cruising ended after a Coast Guard inspection in 1979 found hull corrosion that made the Admiral no longer river-worthy. Streckfus sold the Admiral in ...

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