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Red River Wreck

The Steamboat Heroine

The Oklahoma Historical Society became aware of the wreck of a side-paddle wheel steamboat in the Red River in the fall of 1999. This find is recognized as one of incredible archaeological and historical significance reaching far beyond the region of its discovery.

The OHS participated in a multi-year archaeological research project on the wreck. This project was conducted with the assistance of the Texas A&M University’s Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Nautical Archaeology Program, and Conservation Research Laboratory.

The ship is approximately 140 feet in length. Portions of the drive machinery, main deck, and hull are preserved in the main channel of the Red River, with a substantial portion buried beneath the river floor. Analysis of the drive machinery on the wreck suggests that this vessel was constructed no later than 1840. Historical research also suggests that this steamboat was possibly bound for Fort Towson, Choctaw Nation, with military provisions, and that she was lost in 1838. Further research determined the wreck was the steamship Heroine, built in Indiana in 1832.

Funding for this project was through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation as provided in the Transportation Enhancement Program of PL 105-178, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21 program).

Visit The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture to find out more about the Heroine.