From the Washington Times, 7/9/1911, p. 16, c. 3

Destruction of Docks Threatened by Flames Enveloping Old Steamer.

A large crowd of men, women, and children journeyed down to the foot of Seventh street southwest this morning to view the blackened hulk of the famous old side-wheel steamer River Queen, which was destroyed by fire shortly before last midnight. The wharves in the immediate neighborhood were charred and burned through in many places.

For several hours last night the Fire Department had difficulty in preventing the destruction of the wharves and buildings adjacent to the Independent Steamboat and Barge Company’s pier, where the River Queen was anchored.

Hundreds of excursionists returning from down the river viewed the fire from the decks of various steamers, while great crowds on shore witnessed the boat’s burning. The flames at times shot nearly 200 feet in the air, and could be seen from the tops of houses and office buildings throughout the city.

Only three persons were aboard the old vessel when fire was discovered in her boiler room. They were Babe Woods, J. L. Adams, quartermaster, and George Jones, deck hand. They turned in the alarm from the Harbor Police precinct, which adjoins the wharf. The Fire Fighter was immediately put into action, but despite efforts of firemen the steamer soon was wrapped in a sheet of flame. The vessel had to be moved from her moorings before the Fire Department engines could do effective work.

The River Queen, one of the historic Potomac river boats, was built in 1864, shortly afterward being used as a special yacht by President Lincoln on trips to Richmond and Norfolk. She has been used as an excursion boat for years without a single accident being charged against her.

The vessel had just returned to Washington at 6:30 o’clock, and was scheduled to go out again, but because of the small crowd Capt. Peter Boggett changed his plans.

The loss is estimated by Samuel Bensinger, president of the company, in the neighborhood of $50,000. No insurance was carried.

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