Isabella McCormack

Isabella McCormack (sometimes known as Isabel, Isabell or Isabelle) was a sternwheel steamboat that operated in British Columbia on the Columbia River from 1908 to 1910. This vessel should not be confused with others with similar names.

Isabella McCormack entering Windermere Lake ca 1909

Isabella McCormack, later known as Isabel[1] (CAN #122399[2])

or Isabelle
Owner: Columbia River Lumber Company
Port of registry: Golden, BC
Route: Inland British Columbia on the Columbia River in the Columbia Valley
Builder: Alexander Blakely
Launched: 1908 at Golden, BC
Out of service: 1910
Fate: Converted to floating houseboat and hotel.
Status: Unknown after 1914
General characteristics
Type: inland passenger/freighter
Tonnage: 178 gross tons; 112 registered tons
Length: 94.9 ft (29 m)
Beam: 18.8 ft (6 m)
Depth: 3.5 ft (1 m) depth of hold
Installed power: twin steam engines, horizontally mounted, 7" bore by 42" stroke, 3 nominal horsepower, manufactured 1896 by Albion Iron Works
Propulsion: sternwheel
Notes: Engines installed in steamer Klahowya

Design and Construction

Isabella McCormack was built at Golden, BC by Alexander Blakely for the Columbia River Lumber Company, and was intended to be a replacement for Ptarmigan.[2][3]


Isabelle McCormack was placed on the Columbia River route that began at Golden and ran south, at least during high water, to Columbia Lake, the ultimate source of the Columbia River. While the vessel was the fastest steamboat on the route, she was not a success.[3]

Conversion to houseboat

In 1910 Isabella McCormack was converted into a floating houseboat and hotel. Her engines were removed and installed in a new sternwheeler, 'Klahowya. The vessel remained in houseboat use until 1914.[3]


  1. McCurdy, H.W., ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, at 149, Superior Publishing, Seattle, WA 1966
  2. Affleck, Edward L., A Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific Northwest, the Yukon, and Alaska, at 53, Alexander Nicholls Press, Vancouver, BC 2000 ISBN 0-920034-08-X
  3. Downs, Art, Paddlewheels on the Frontier -- The Story of British Columbia and Yukon Sternwheel Steamers, at 108 and 112, Superior Publishing, Seattle WA 1972

Further reading

  • Faber, Jim, Steamer's Wake -- Voyaging down the old marine highways of Puget Sound, British Columbia, and the Columbia River, Enetai Press, Seattle, WA 1985 ISBN 0-9615811-0-7
  • Timmen, Fritz, Blow for the Landing, 75-78, 134, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID 1972 ISBN 0-87004-221-1
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