Enterprise (sternwheeler 1863)

Enterprise was a sternwheel steamboat that operated on the Willamette River from 1863 to 1875. This vessel should not be confused with several other steamers named Enterprise which operated in the Pacific Northwest at about the some time.

Name: Enterprise
Owner: People's Transportation Company
Route: Willamette River
Builder: George A. Pease
In service: 1863
Out of service: 1875
Identification: US# 8141
Fate: Dismantled
General characteristics
Type: inland steamsboat
Length: 120 ft (36.6 m) or 125 ft (38.1 m), exclusive of fantail
Beam: 24 ft (7.3 m) or 26 ft (7.9 m)
Depth: 4 ft (1 m) depth of hold
Installed power: twin steam engines, single-cylinder, horizontally mounted, each with bore of 13 in (330.2 mm) and stroke of 4 ft (1.22 m), 13 nominal horsepower.
Propulsion: stern-wheel


In 1863, a new independent steamer, the Enterprise, was built at Canemah, Oregon by Capt. George A. Pease, backed by a company formed by Capt. Charles. W. Pope (1831-1871), Capt. Nat H. Lane, Sr. (1823-1878), C. Friendly, Judge Riley E. Stratton, C. Crawford, James Wilson, C.W. Rea, and S. Ellsworth.[1] Enterprise, the second steamer of this name to operate on the Willamette, was launched in November 1863, and ran independently for a short time under George Pease.


Enterprise was 120 or 125 feet long, exclusive of the extension of the main deck over the stern, called the fantail, on which the stern-wheel was mounted.[2] The beam (width) was 24 feet, and the depth of hold was four feet.[2] Gross tonnage was 194.[2]

The official merchant vessel registry number was 8141.[2]


Enterprise was equipped with twin steam engines, single-cylinder, horizontally mounted, each with bore of 13 in (330.2 mm) and stroke of 4 ft (1.22 m), 13 nominal horsepower.[2]


Soon after Enterprise was launched, an accommodation was reached with the dominant steamer line on the Willamette, the People's Transportation Company, after which Pease remained in command for over two years.[1] In 1866, the P.T. Company purchased Enterprise outright from its original owners.[1]

As of October 27, 1866, steamers of the People’s Transportation Company, Enterprise, Echo, and Active departed Oregon City every Monday and Thursday for Salem, Albany, and Corvallis.[3]

In March 1867, recent high water in the river had changed the channels leading to Eugene, and created a shallow bar about six miles south of Eugene, so that Enterprise, running under Capt. Sebastian Miller, was unable to reach either Eugene or Lancaster.[4]

In September 1867, the steamers Enterprise and Echo were reported to be able to make regular trips to Albany because navigation obstacles in the river had been removed.[5]

As of November 16, 1867, Enterprise was running on a winter schedule, from Oregon City to Harrisburg and Eugene every Wednesday.[6]

On December 21, 1867, it was reported that Enterprise had run aground a few miles downriver from Eugene, and that as a result of the water’s having receded with the boat still aground, it was doubted that the steamer could be refloated until the water would rise again.[7] However, the vessel was freed, and returned to Oregon City on Friday, December 27, 1867, with no apparent damage.[8]

In late January, 1868, ice coated the Willamette River.[9] Enterprise came downriver on January 25, 1868 and had to break a channel in the ice from Rock Island to the boat basin at Oregon City.[9]

Financial success

Enterprise was highly successful financially, earning a 33.3% profit in its first year of operations, and 66.6% in the second year, with a dividend of $50 a share,[1] When Enterprise was purchased by P.T. Co., the original owners received $280 in P.T. stock for every $100 of Enterprise stock.[1]


Enterprise was dismantled in 1875 at Canemah.[2]


  1. Wright, E.W., ed. (1895). "The Oregon Steam Navigation Company's Best Days, Many New Steamers on Puget Sound". Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Portland, OR: Lewis and Dryden Printing Co. p. 117. LCCN 28001147.
  2. Affleck, Edward L. (2000). "Part One: Chapter Two. Columbia River Waterways -- List of Vessels". A Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific Northwest, the Yukon, and Alaska. Vancouver, BC: Alexander Nicholls Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-920034-08-X.
  3. "People's Transportation Company NOTICE The Steamer Senator …". Oregon City Enterprise (advertisement). 1 (1). D.C. Ireland. Oct 27, 1866. p.3, col.6.
  4. "The River.— We learn by the Corvallis Gazette that during the late high water …". Oregon City Enterprise. 1 (19). D.C. Ireland. Mar 2, 1867. p.3, col.1.
  5. "Town and County … THE NEW STEAMER. — The model of the new steamboat building at Canemah by the P.T. Company …". Oregon City Enterprise. 1 (48). D.C. Ireland. Sep 21, 1867. p.3, col.1.
  6. "People's Transportation Company. NOTICE. Winter Arrangement". Oregon City Enterprise (advertisement). 2 (4). D.C. Ireland. Nov 16, 1867. p.2, col.7.
  7. "Hard Aground. — We learn that the steamer Enterprise ran aground …". Oregon City Enterprise. 2 (9). D.C. Ireland. Dec 21, 1867. p.2, col.4.
  8. "The steamer Enterprise which we left …". Oregon City Enterprise. 2 (11). 11: D.C. Ireland. Jan 4, 1868. p.2, col.3.
  9. "Better Prospects". Morning Oregonian. 8 (301). Portland, OR: Henry L. Pittock. Jan 25, 1868. p.3, col.1.



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