St. Louis, MO Steamers CITY OF ALTON and CITY OF COLORADO on Fire, Jan 1884


ST. LOUIS, Mo., Jan. 2.---This morning the steamers City of Alton and Colorado, lying by in Winter quarters near the work-house, in South St. Louis, caught fire and were burned to the water's edge. Just before daylight the day watchman of the Colorado started to enter the cabin, but was met by a dense cloud of smoke. He called to a companion, and they endeavored to find out the origin of the fire, but were unable to do so. Finding it impossible to quench the fire, they tried to save the City of Alton by cutting her loose from her moorings, but before they could do so her stern caught the flames. The fire spread with such rapidity that both men were unable to reach the cabin that contained their clothing, and they were finally forced on shore, abandoning the steamers to their fate. A high wind from the south fanned the flames so vigorously that in half an hour both boats were ablaze from stem to stern. The Alton's hawswers were burned or broken, and she floated off down stream, lighting up the bluffs and bottom lands of the Illinois shore and attracting the attention of hundreds. She finally caught in the ice half a mile below, where she sunk in shallow water.

The Colorado remained securely moored at the scene of the disaster, burning fiercely until nearly 10 o'clock, when she broke her stern, going down in a cloud of smoke and the hissing of steam from her boilers, the water pouring in on the flames. The Colorado was worth $15,000, but carried only $6,000 insurance. The city of Alton carried $3,500 insurance, and was valued at $10,000. Both were owned by P. P. Manion, of South St. Louis. The City of Alton saw war service, and was in war days very well known. It was her commander that pulled the Confederate flag from a jack staff on the Baton Rouge levee while under fire.

The New York Times, New York, NY 3 Jan 1884