Delta Queen

photo by: Franz Neumeier

11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Delta Queen

  • Constructed: 1926
  • Architect: William Denny & Brothers Ltd.
  • Location: Houma, Louisiana

The Delta Queen, built in 1926, is the last remaining authentic link to our country’s 200-year tradition of passenger steamboat transportation. Listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1989, The Delta Queen’s original interior features include Tiffany-style stained glass windows, hardwood paneling, brass fittings, and a grand staircase crowned by a crystal chandelier. She also retains her original system of engines and boilers, though many have been upgraded or replaced to maintain the boat’s functionality.

Unfortunately, in 2008, the Delta Queen’s grandfathered status from a law that prohibits wooden boats from carrying overnight passengers expired. Her inability to provide overnight cruises posed a critical challenge.

Congress granted the Delta Queen a reprieve from this law from 1968 until 2008; without this protection, the ship’s financial viability and historic integrity was called into question. As one of the final legislative acts of the 115th Congress, the House and Senate passed and the President signed legislation in December 2018 that included language reinstating the Delta Queen’s longstanding grandfathered status, which will allow her the opportunity to return to overnight passenger service. After substantial repairs are complete, we look forward to seeing the Delta Queen ply America's great waterways once again.

The decade-long legislative effort to help return the Delta Queen to America's waterways culminated on December 4, 2018, when President Donald Trump signed into law a measure that renews the vessel's exemption from the 1966 Safety at Sea Act. The act enables the Delta Queen to return to overnight cruise service through 2028 after repairs to the 91-year-old steamboat are complete.

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Announcing the 2024 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

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