Forty-Nine (steamboat)

The Forty-Nine was a steamboat built in 1865 at Marcus, Washington Terr., just above Kettle Falls on the Columbia River to carry travellers and freight north up the Columbia River and the Arrow Lakes to the Big Bend Gold Rush in the Colony of British Columbia. The destination of its run was the boomtown of La Porte, one of the main centres of the rush, which was located at the foot of the Dalles des Morts or "Death Rapids", the head of river navigation on the route and which were located in the immediate vicinity of the goldfields, which were on the nearby Goldstream River and Downie Creek. The Forty-Nine was the first chartered vessel to serve on this portion of the Columbia.

The first attempted run, with Captain Leonard White at the helm,[1] was in December 1865 but failed to reach La Porte due to heavy ice in the Narrows between the Arrow Lakes (normally a strong, rapids-like current), and the first successful runs were not until the spring of 1866. When the gold rush ended, Forty-Nine was withdrawn for lack of clientele, and Captain White gave free passage out of the Big Bend area for those who could not afford passage. His last southbound run carried only three passengers.[1][2][3]

In 1871 the Forty-Nine was brought back into service for the Canadian Pacific Railway survey undertaken by Walter Moberly.[1]


  1. Steamships of the Columbia article in Trails in Time website by Walter Volovsek
  2. Mills, Randall V., Sternwheelers up Columbia, page 86, University of Nebraska, Lincoln 1947 ISBN 0-8032-5874-7
  3. Turner, Robert D., Sternwheelers and Steam Tugs, page 1, Sono Nis Press, Victoria, BC 1984 ISBN 0-919203-15-9

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