A brief history: Steamer ships on Lake Coeur d’Alene

Steam ships play an important role in the rich history of Coeur d’Alene — and Idaho! These ships were used for logging, mining, passenger travel and even mail delivery. The steamer ships of the 1800s and early 1900s eventually gave way to the ships that Coeur d’Alene Cruises uses to take passengers out to see wildlife, holiday lights, and sunsets.
While the list of famous steamer ships on Lake Coeur d’Alene is long and illustrious, here’s a quick peak into our rich history with a few of the most famous ships:

The Amelia Wheaton:
This was one of the first steamboats on the lake, built in 1888. The boat was used to supply Fort Sherman with supplies and transport prospectors to the golf fields after the gold rush. The steamer ran mostly on local wood.

The Georgie Oaks:
This boat was in commission from 1881 to 1920 on Lake Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding water ways. The Georgie Oaks was 150 feet long, 24 feet wide and could carry up to 1,000 passengers.

Seeweewana:
This 65-passenger ship was built for Lake Coeur d’Alene in 1926, and captained by its owner Capt. John Finney. It was 63 feet long, 9 feet wide and started with a gas engine, and was eventually transferred to a diesel engine. The Seeweewana was eventually sunk in the 1980s in front of The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s boardwalk in about 85 feet of water, a common practice to retire boats at the time. It is now a destination for scuba divers who want to see the relic.

The Mish-an-nock:
It has been nearly 50 years since this famous boat first took to the waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Named for a word that means “morning star” according to a Kalispell Tribe book, the Mish-an-nock was the first passenger cruise boat on the lake in nearly 30 years. Before that, the last steam passenger boats — the 130-foot Flyer and the 90-foot Clipper — were deemed unsafe and dismantles in 1938. When built, the Mish-an-nock was 65 feed long.

In 1996, the Mish-an-nock was refinished by Fred Finney, who also built cruise boats including The Coeur d’Alene, The Spirit of Coeur d’Alene, The Osprey and Kootenai. The boat is now 107 feet long to accommodate even more passengers.
Which boat in our fleet is your favorite? Join us for a cruise to hear more about the history and to see the beautiful sights of North Idaho!

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