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Decatur County Historical Markers


  • Source: David Seibert
  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Steamboats
  • Location: Cheney Griffin Park, Bainbridge

(Side 1)


In 1827 the Fanny was the first of more than 220 steamboats to visit Bainbridge and ply the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system. These boats docked at the city’s landings below the high bluff on the Flint River. Boatyards on both sides of the river built craft for individuals and the U.S. Government. Several steamboat lines operated here including the Oak City Navigation Co. (later known as the Bainbridge Navigation Co.), which was organized in 1901 and the Callahan Line, which was formed in 1906. The last working steamboat on the Flint River was the Elberta, which went out of service in the late 1930’s. (Continued on other side)

(Side 2) (Continued from other side) Between Columbus, Georgia and Apalachicola, Florida many steamboat landings dotted the riverbanks. Smaller boats navigated Spring Creek, the Chipola River and the Flint River to Newton and Albany. In addition to passengers, the boats hauled cotton, rosin, turpentine, fertilizer, lumber, oysters, catfish, honey, bricks and shingles. The river system was one of the most dangerous in the United States and many boats met misfortune by hitting rocks, snags and ferry cables. Other boats ran aground on sandbars or sank due to boiler explosions. It is said that there are more sunken boats per mile on this river system than any other system in the country.

Erected by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Decatur County Historical Society 2002