Belle of Louisville Steamboat Named an ASME Mechanical Engineering Landmark

Apr 15, 2010

by Eric Butterman

NEW YORK, April 15, 2010 – The Belle of Louisville, the oldest continuously operating river-style steamboat in the world, will be designated an ASME Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark at a special ceremony this April 23, in Louisville.

At the ceremony set for 6:30 p.m. at the Belle of Louisville wharf, the New York-based American Society of Mechanical Engineers will present an award recognizing the mechanical attributes of the boat and the steamer’s contribution to the growth of Louisville and other river cities.

Built in 1914 in Pittsburgh and originally named the Idlewild, the Belle of Louisville features the flat-bottom hull and paddlewheel propulsion system that were characteristic of the hundreds of steamboats that plied the rivers of the American Midwest, enabling the transport of goods and settlement of cities and towns. While most of the early steamboats were removed from the inland waterways after World War II, the Belle of Louisville survived and today holds the distinction of the most traveled steamboat in the United States.

Named a National Historic Landmark in 1989, the Belle of Louisville operates public cruises as well as private charters on the Ohio River. About 65,000 people, including numerous tourists from outside the United States, ride on the majestic steamboat each year.

ASME landmarks – ranging from mills and steam engines to industrial processes and space rockets – represent progress in the evolution of mechanical engineering and significance to society in general. Through its Landmarks Program, ASME encourages the preservation of the physical remains of historically important works.

About ASME ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.

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ASME Contact: John Varrasi or 212.591.8158

Media contact: Regina Nisita or 212.398.9680 ext 145