Wide West

Wide West

The Wide West was a steamboat that served in the Pacific Northwest. She had a reputation as a luxury boat for the day.

Wide West was built in 1877 in Portland, Oregon, by the Oregon Steam Navigation Company. She was built entirely of wood. Wide West was a sternwheeler, 218 feet long and rated at 1200 tons. On the Columbia River, unlike the Mississippi and other rivers in the eastern part of the country, there were very few sidewheel steamboats. Wide West was placed on the run from Portland to the Cascades of the Columbia, which at that time, were the head of navigation. Passengers would have to disembark and ride a short railway around the Cascades to board another steamboat to travel further upriver. Cargo similarly would have to be unloaded and reloaded again.

In 1888 she was deconstructed and her upper works and machinery were used to build another steamboat, the T. J. Potter. This was very typical of the time, as the wooden-hulls would become waterlogged and worn, and it was simpler simply to rebuild a new boat. The upper works and machinery would be reused, as it was more durable and would still have economic value after only ten years of operation.


  • Timmen, Fritz (1973). Blow for the Landing - A Hundred Years of Steam Navigation on the Waters of the West. Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers.
  • Mills, Randall V. (1947). Stern-Wheelers up Columbia - A Century of Steamboating in the Oregon Country. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

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