HUNTINGTON -- Huntington was founded as a railroad
town, but over the years it was a busy river town as well.
Many of the freight-carrying steamboats that once plied the Ohio River routinely included a stop
at Huntington as part of their schedules.
In 1904, the city leased to Dr. R. E. Vickers, as the Huntington Wharf
Storage Co., a plot of land at the foot of 10th Street
for use as a public wharf. In 1926, the company turned over its wharf lease to the Greene Line of Cincinnati.
About the same time, the company bought an adjacent parcel of property from J.C. Carter.
Today, the Cincinnati-based Greene Line is best remembered as the operator
of the famed Delta Queen excursion boat.
But for many years the company owned a number of boats that carried cargo to and from towns all along the Ohio River.
From 1932 to 1943, the Greene Line steamer Evergreene traveled between
Huntington and Cincinnati three times a week,
carrying a mixed load of cargo. When the Evergreene made its last trip from Huntington on Feb. 2, 1943,
the company said there was no longer enough business to justify continuing the service.
The city of Huntington unsuccessfully went to court, seeking an injunction
ordering that the boat be kept in service.
And it even turned to the federal government, asking the Office of Defense Transportation to intervene and order the
river company to continue serving Huntington as part of the war effort. No such order was issued.
It might be noted that the steamboat Gordon C. Greene continued to operate
seven-day trips from
Cincinnati to New Martinsville, Charleston and back to Cincinnati until 1948 but mention
of Huntington in the schedule was conspicuously absent.
(Thanks to river historian Jerry Sutphin of Huntington for his assistance with this article.)