American Queen bringing nostalgia, jobs to Memphis

The American Queen riverboat pulled into her homeport at Beale Street Landing around 8 o'clock Thursday morning.
The American Queen riverboat pulled into her homeport at Beale Street Landing around 8 o'clock Thursday morning.

(WMC-TV) – The American Queen riverboat pulled into her homeport at Beale Street Landing around 8 o'clock Thursday morning.

In addition to making Memphis the ship's homeport, the Great American Steamboat Company also made Memphis its headquarters.

The new Great American Steamboat Company brought their headquarters to Memphis,

The era of the American steamboat began in the 1700's and, centuries later, the tradition is continuing.

"It's a dream come true," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. "What is a river city without a riverboat?"

The massive steamboat docked before sunrise and by daybreak all hands were on deck as passengers took in the Memphis skyline.

The steamboat could mean a boost in the Memphis economy.

The boat has enough room to hold 436 passengers is longer than a football field and taller than an 8 story building.

Many of the boat's workers are Mid-Southerners who were unemployed just a few months ago. Now, they get the chance to take care of their families and ensure the ship's passengers have enjoyable cruises.

Priscilla Presley will christen the American Queen in her role as the vessel's godmother Friday.

Afterwards, the ship will begin its maiden voyage out of Memphis and up the Ohio River to Cincinnati.

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