Potter and Prairie Du Rocher

While I was shooting the sunken barges (and trapped by a freight train – more about that later), the Army Corps of Engineers’ oldest dredge and one of its pushboats came by.

The Potter was built in 1931 or 1932, depending on which source you check, by Dravo Construction of Pittsburgh, Pa. She was originally a steam-powered paddlewheel, much like the Ste. Genevieve I photographed visiting Cape in the mid-1960s.

Potter’s job is to maintain a 300-foot-wide, nine-foot-deep channel on 300 miles of the Mississippi River between Saverton, Mo., to Cairo, Ill.

Prairie Du Rocher taking on crew

The Prairie Du Rocher headed to shore to drop its barge and to pick up two crew members before scurrying up the river to catch The Potter.

The small towboat or pushboat was built in 2002 by Main Builders of Utica Ind. It replaces an earlier Prairie Du Rocher built in 1970 and sold in 2005 under the name Lady Potasa.

Dredge Potter photo gallery

Here are more photos of The Potter and The Prairie Du Rocher. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.


5 Replies to “Potter and Prairie Du Rocher”

  1. I never thought I’d see those dredges again! Before my Dad was appointed Superintendent of the “new” Federal Building on Broadway by the GSA, he worked for the Corp of Engineers on the Potter AND the Ste. Genevieve!

    Thanks for the pictures~~~Jean

    1. You left out the dredge Kennedy It worked from Hannibal Mo to Cairo Ill It built by the Dravo Construction Co in 1932

  2. I was on the Potter when the Captain got removed from the boat. He was a drunk and womanizer. There was a big investigation and we all had to go to this hotel in St. Louis to make statements about the Captain. Work was hard on the Potter but everyone was expected to do their job. When I was on the Potter a shift got bent and we set in St. Louis while they dry docked the Potter to where it would still run so it made a trip to have the damage completely repaired. It was hot as Hell in the Summer and we froze our butts off in the Winter with ice and snow until the Mississippi got too deep due to snow and rain and ice. We couldn’t run if the water was too deep. I remember working 12 hour shifts for 7 days then going home for 2 days then coming back to the Potter and doing it all over again. One thing the food was excellent! Steak sometimes crab legs There was plenty of food and when we got off at midnight the cooks would fix us up with something. But most of the time I just went to bed too tired to eat. So life on the Potter was something I will never forget.

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