Dedicated:  May 13, 2004 
SPONSOR:  Ray Neilson and Family

"The Connection of East and West at Vicksburg"

Prior to the construction of a bridge in 1930 across the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, train cars crossed to Louisiana on "ferries for trains" called transfer boats.

The inclines at Kleinstown in Vicksburg and Delta Point in Louisiana were constructed from June to October 1885, with the first training crossing the Mississippi by transfer steamer on October 27, 1885.  These inclines were constructed with a "cradle" that could be raised or lowered with the rise and fall of the river.

The first two transfer boats, used until the turn of the century, were the "Northern Pacific" and the "Delta."  The Louisiana and Mississippi Valley Transfer Company later operated two vessels at Vicksburg, the "Pelican" and the "Albatross."  

The Pelican was built in 1902 by the Iowa Iron Works at a cost of $230,000.  It was followed by the Albatross which was built in 1907, also by the Iowa Iron Works, and was 308 feet long by 53.8 feet wide with a draft of 7 feet 6 inches and powered by six boilers.

Trains were ferried across the river night and day with these boats until the highway rail bridge was completed in 1930, making it faster and safer to cross the Mighty Mississippi.

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