Week 3 Question: "What was the name of the first sternwheeler passenger boat on the Green River with service to Big Piney?" Winner was: Bonnie Whitley, Boulder, correct answer: "Sunbeam"
Sublette County History Contest
In June 1908, four men: J.F. Moerke, Frank Briggs, M.C. Peterson and C.W. Johnson, the owners of the amusement park on Island Park on the Green River at Green River, Wyoming, purchased two excursion boats to be used as pleasure boats for tourist rides on the Green River. The boats were the “Sunbeam” and the “Teddy R.” These were stern-wheeler, gasoline propelled motor launches. The boats were seven feet wide and twenty five feet in length and seated twenty adults. The "Sunbeam" carried pleasure seekers as far down the river as Buckboard and up the river as far as Big Piney. The island today is called Expedition Island, a 7-acre community park that marks the area where Major John Wesley Powell and Vitaly Develvis started an expedition down the Green River and Colorado River in 1871. The park is also believed to mark where Major Powell started a similar expedition down the two rivers in 1869. The local Green River Historic Preservation Commission has placed interpretive signs along a walking trail on the island, including two signs that specifically talk about the sternwheelers that were used on the Green River in the early 1900s. One of the signs shows a picture of the early Sunbeam.
An article in the June 24, 1908 Pinedale Roundup entitled, “Steamboats to Run up Green River” says “We understand that one boat is now being built in Green River City to ply between that city and the mouth of Boulder. This means that navigation of the Newfork is also contemplated as Boulder Creek is a tributary to that stream. These boats will carry about a foot of water, and will be easily handled. Gasoline launches are also being purchased and put on the Green river in the vicinity of the city of that name. It will not be long before the inhabitants of Pinedale put in most their time down on the levee waiting for the boats to come in. All aboard for Green River City and all points South.”
The Green River Star reported the Sunbeam made a trip upriver to Big Piney in July 1908. The June 11, 1909 Green River Star has an article reporting that “the boat of Johnson and Moerke was put in the river Sunday, and in a few days will be in shape to carry passengers. The boat has been remodeled and looks good.” It appears that it may have been at that time the Sunbeam was back in Green River and refitted from a stern-wheeler to a propeller-propulsion boat. On its last river trip upriver sometime around July 1909, the "Sunbeam" sheared its propeller at Big Piney and was disabled. It was reportedly left there at Big Piney.
In August 1909, the Pinedale Roundup reported that W.S. Peck purchased the Sunbeam for a reported consideration of $1,000. The boat was hauled overland to Fremont Lake to be used. It was later reported that Peck didn’t buy the boat, but instead bought interest in a firm called the “Fremont Boat Club.” In August, 1909, the Pinedale Roundup reported the company planned on making a number of improvements to the boat, including equipping it with a full cabin, and making it a “very comfortable, roomy and seaworthy cruiser, and the construction of a barge for transporting horses and pack outfits to the head of the lake. In consequence of these improvements they will not commence active operations until Oct. 5.” Sometime in this period, the Sunbeam was repaired and fitted with a 12 horse power engine. In another article in the August 1909 Pinedale Roundup reported that “Mr. Peck has been busy the past week building a walk and landing out over the water, and intends building a boat house soon.” Through June 2011 through December 2012, the Sunbeam was operational and there were regular display ads in the Pinedale Roundup advertising boat rides on Fremont Lake on the “Sunbeam” carrying 16 passengers making regular trips on Fremont Lake to Camp Headquarters every Sunday. The excursions were headquartered at Faler Hotel, Pinedale with V. E. Faler, Proprietor. Party trips 6 or less in party - $10. Special rates for more than 6 in a party. July 1912 was the last we could find references to the Sunbeam. We were unable to find any photos of the remodeled Sunbeam as it was used on Fremont Lake, and could not find further references to the Sunbeam after 1912.
history of Big Piney was written by Ann Chambers Noble and can
be found on the wyohistory.org website here: http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/big-piney-and-marbleton-wyoming.
9. The town of Marbleton, just 1 mile away from Big Piney, was created in late 1913 by Charles Budd, the oldest son of Big Piney founder Daniel B. Budd, to try to move Big Piney to higher ground and out of the boggy land of the Piney Creeks. Marbleton was incorporated in 1914. Over the years, efforts to merge the two towns have failed and each maintains their own town government, although share many other services.
Island Park was an early amusement park along the Green River
at Green River, Wyoming. It became an attraction for amusement
seekers and water enthusiasts. This island is now known as Expedition
Island Park, a 7.1 acre community park
located at 475 South Second East Street. It is a great family
gathering spot with a play area and numerous
recreational opportunities. This park has multiple picnic
areas and grills, playground, a large open space for relaxation
and games, access to the Greenbelt Pathway, and an interpretive
trail with several interesting and informative interpretive signs
put in by the Green River Historic Preservation Commission. More
The "Wind River Queen" on Half Moon Lake in 2004. Photos courtesy Half Moon Resort.
1 History Question:S
2 History Question:S
5 History Question & Clues:
Winner: Lisa Williams, Cora, Wyoming
Radio ad for Week 6
Meet Jean-Francois Lefebvre, your friendly Pinedale area delivery driver for Schwan's. Orders are placed online via www.schwans.com. Jean-Francois comes up to Pinedale from the Rock Springs Schwan's distribution center several days a week to deliver orders. He can be reached at 307-360-FOOD (3663).