Th - U.S. Snagboat Montgomery, AL - U.S. Snagboat Montgomery, AL
U.S. Snagboat Montgomery
One of the last steam-driven paddlewheelers used
on the rivers of the South, the Montgomery can be
seen today in Pickensville, Alabama.
U.S. Snagboat Montgomery
Built at Charleston in 1926,
the Montgomery is 178 feet
long and 34 feet wide. She
operated until 1982.
Paddlewheel Power
Made of steel and wood, the
paddlewheel is 18 feet in
diameter and 20 feet long. It
drove the boat for decades.
U.S. Snagboat Montgomery - Pickensville, Alabama
A National Historic Landmark
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: July 19, 2012
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Steamboat's Starring Role
The Montgomery played a key
role in the 1984 made for tv
Louisiana. The boat
"exploded" at the end.
Permanent Retirement
U.S. Snagboat Montgomery is
now in permanent retirement
at the Tom Bevill Visitor
Center in Alabama.
The U.S. Snagboat Montgomery, now on
permanent exhibit in Alabama, is one of the
last two sternwheel snagboats in the United

Once used by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to maintain navigation channels in
Southern rivers, the
Montgomery has been
restored and can be seen adjacent to the
Tom Bevill Visitor Center in Pickensville,
Alabama. It overlooks the famed Tennessee -
Tombigbee Waterway.

Built in 1926 by the Charleston Dry Dock and
Machine Company in South Carolina, the
boat was commissioned by the Montgomery
District Corps of Engineers and was based
in Montgomery for seven years. Her initial
mission was to maintain the navigation
channels on the Alabama and Coosa Rivers.

The Montgomery District was consolidated
into the Mobile District in 1933 and the
Montgomery was moved to a new home port
in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. From this new
location she continued to maintain the
Coosa River channel, but also assumed
responsibility for the Tombigbee and Black
Warrior Rivers.

The paddlewheel snagboat remained at
Tuscaloosa until 1959 when she was moved
to Panama City in Florida and assigned the
new mission of pulling snags from the
Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint
Rivers in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. The
vessel's home port was moved to White City,
Florida, in 1979, but she continued her job on
the Apalachicola and its tributaries until 1982.

One of the most remarkable and long-lived
vessels of its kind ever launched, the historic
Montgomery is 178 feet long and 34 feet
wide at her widest point. Although she has
three decks, the depth of her hold is only six
feet. This shallow draft allowed the boat to
successfully navigated the rivers of the South
even during times of low water.

The paddlewheel that powered the boat for
nearly sixty years is made from steel and
wood. It is 18 feet in diameter and 20 feet

Montgomery, in fact, was one of the last
original steam-driven paddlewheel boats to
operate on the rivers of the South. Her boiler
and high pressure engines are still in their
places on the boat and a telegraph system
still connects the engine room near the stern
with the pilot house atop the third deck. The
pilot used the telegraph to communicate with
the engineers.

When the
Montgomery was commissioned
in 1926, paddlewheel riverboats still churned
the rivers of Alabama, Florida and Georgia in
significant numbers. By the time she was
moved to the Apalachicola River in 1959, the
paddlewheel boats were gone. Towboats
and barges filled some of the tasks once
carried out by the "floating palaces," but their
services too were eventually phased out on
the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint.

By the time the
Montgomery was retired in
1982, the latest incarnation of commercial
water traffic on the "Tri-Rivers System" was
near its end. The mission of the boat was at
an end. Residents along the system still
remember the sternwheeler, but those
memories are fading with the passing years.
Tom Bevill VIsitor Center
The adjacent visitor center
features historical exhibits
housed in a reproduction of a
Greek Revival mansion.
Photos by Kristina Martin
During her time on the Tri-Rivers, however,
the Montgomery performed a notable feat. In
November of 1964 she helped bring the lost
Confederate gunboat CSS
Chattahoochee to
the surface for the first time in 99 years. The
vessel had been destroyed by her own crew
in 1865 to prevent its capture by Union forces.

The stern section of the
Chattahoochee was
lifted from the Chattahoochee River by the
Montgomery and can be seen today at the
National Civil War Naval Museum. Open to
the public daily, the museum is located at
1002 Victory Drive in
Columbus, Georgia.

Retired from active service in 1982, the
Montgomery doubled as a Mississippi River
steamboat two years later in the made for
television movie "Louisiana." Starring Margot
Kidder, the movie ended with a dramatic
steamboat race in which the boat portrayed
by the
Montgomery "exploded." ("Louisiana"
is not available on DVD, but can be ordered
on VHS:
1984 also marked the beginning of a major
restoration project for the
Montgomery. Once
the work was done, the boat was opened to
the public at the Tom Bevill Visitor Center in
Pickensville, Alabama.

Restoration was again required in 2003 as
the boat's stationary berth in the Tennessee -
Tombigbee Waterway let to deterioration and
rot. Lifted from the water by large cranes, she
was resettled into a dry mooring basin. Work
crews then began a painstaking restoration
of the vessel and new interpretive panels
were installed along with a touch-screen

The U.S. Snagboat
Montgomery can be seen
today at the Tom Bevill Visitor Center at 1382
Lock & Dam Road in Pickensville, Alabama.
Free to visit, the center is open 9 to 5 daily
during the summer and 8 to 4 weekdays only
during the winter.

Please click here for a great site on the boat.