All branches will be closed Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, December 26. We wish you a happy & safe holiday!

Local Steamboat Tragedy Remembered

In 1873, a steamboat loaded with passengers, livestock and produce caught fire and sank on the Potomac River near Aquia Creek. Traveling from Washington, the overloaded vessel carried three times more people than allowed by its license, and the engulfing flames and churning waters claimed 76 passengers, most of them women and children. A new book, Disaster on the Potomac: The Last Run of the Steamboat Wawaset, by Alvin Oickle, gives the details of that terrible day.

Want to learn more?

On Sunday, December 6, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. the King George Historical Society will host a free lecture by John Villforth, who prepared the images for the book. The event will take place at Caledon Natural Area in King George County.

Futher details on the disaster and this new book may be found in a recent Free Lance-Star's article. To discover more about the steamboat age in our area, check out these books from the library:

Steamboats out of Baltimore by Robert H. Burgess and H. Graham Wood

Tidewater by Steamboat: A Saga of the Chesapeake: The Weems Line on the Patuxent, Potomac, and Rappahannock by David C. Holly