Saturday, August 27, 2011
American Roadtrip: Day 5 - Meeting a Grand Old Lady, That's Right Jack!
Jack Daniel's is a brand of sour mash Tennessee whiskey that is among the world's best-selling liquors. It is known for its square bottles and black label. As of November, 2007, it was reportedly the best-selling whiskey in the world. Despite being the location of a major operational distillery, Jack Daniel's home county of Moore is a dry county, so the product is not available for consumption at stores or restaurants within the county, although the distillery does sell commemorative bottles of whiskey. Although the product generally meets the regulatory criteria for classification as a straight bourbon, the company disavows this classification and markets it simply as Tennessee whiskey rather than as Tennessee bourbon.
After a very scenic drive down to Chattanooga, I came to the whole reason for this trip, the Delta Queen and my home for the next two nights.
The Delta Queen is an American sternwheel steamboat that is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Historically, she has been used for cruising the major rivers that constitute the drainage of the Mississippi River, particularly in the American South. As of June 2009, she is docked in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has been converted into a hotel. It is possible that she will come back on the rivers.
The Delta Queen is 285 feet long (86.9 m), 58 feet (17.7m) wide, and draws 11.5 feet (3.5m). She weighs 1,650 tons (1,676 metric tons), with a capacity of 176 passengers. Her cross-compounded steam engines generate 2,000 indicated horsepower (1,500 kW), powering a stern-mounted paddlewheel.
The hull, first two decks and steam engines were ordered in 1924 from the William Denny & Brothers shipyard on the River Leven adjoining the River Clyde at Dumbarton, Scotland. The Delta Queen and her sister boat, the Delta King, were shipped in pieces to Stockton, California in 1926. There the California Transportation Company assembled the two vessels for their regular Sacramento River service between San Francisco and Sacramento, and excursions to Stockton, on the San Joaquin River. At the time, they were the most lavishly appointed and expensive sternwheel passenger boats ever commissioned. Driven out of service by a new highway linking Sacramento with San Francisco in 1940, the two vessels were laid up and then purchased by Isbrandtsen Steamship Lines for service out of New Orleans. During World War II, they were requisitioned by the U.S. Navy for duty in San Francisco Bay as USS Delta Queen (YFB-56).