Monday, September 26, 2011

River Steamer Vallette -- September 26, 2011

From the 18-August-1901 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view.  Read Frank Norris' novel The Octopus to learn more about disputes between valley farmers and the Southern Pacific Railroad.  


First of a Fleet of River Steamers Which Will Carry Grain From
Upper Sacramento to Tidewater Almost Completed.

The farmers cf the upper Sacramento have thrown down the gauntlet to the Southern Pacific, and it now remains to be seen whether or not a cut in railroad rates on grain will result. The stern-wheel eteamer Vallette being built for the Farmers' Transportation Company is now so near to completion that her owners exp«ct to put her in commission this week. She is intended for the San Francisco and Colusa grain trade and is 176 feet long, 38 feet beam and 9 feet deep.  She will carry 7000 sacks of grain on a 3 foot 10 Inch draft, and will therefore be able to navigate the upper Sacramento at any time of the year. The Vallette came down from Benida yesterday and docked at Mission-street wharf. She is now receiving her finishing touches and will start on her maiden run about Saturday next. 

For many years the farmers around Colusa have protested at the rates charged by the railroad for transporting grain from the valley of the Sacramento to tide water. A few months ago a delegation from the Farmers' Association called upon the management of the railroad and received a most decided rebuff. Then an indignation meeting was held at Colusa and the Farmers' Transportation Company was formed. An order for a steamer was at once placed and the Vallette is now almost ready for the run.

Since then Hatch Bros., who ran the General Frisbie and the Monticello betvreen here and Vallejo, have been drawn irto the fight, and three steamers similar to the Vallette are to be built at once and will therefore be ready for next year's trade. The new steamers are not intended to carry passengers, but are specially designed to carry large loads of grain on a light draught.  With them the farmers »xpect to get their wheat to market for $1 a ten and at the same time receive a dividend each year from their investment in the steamers. The Vallette will have her trial trip during the week.  

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