Boat Photo Museum

I grew up in East Liverpool, Ohio, within a stone's throw of the Ohio River. Between my paper route and tormenting my younger brothers and sister, I became interested in the towboats pushing their tows up and down the river. I bought my first camera in 1955, and from the lookout tower I built on a small island near my house, began photographing and documenting the movement of many of the area's towboats.

In 1958, I became a deckhand on the Cornell, then owned by Union Barge Line. My goal was to become a steersman and then a pilot, but I later learned my eyesight was not good enough. I would have to settle being a licensed "mate of steam and motor vessels of all gross tons upon rivers." After a brief stint in Germany with the Army, I returned to the river. In 1968, I moved my family (wife, Jeannette, and two daughters, Dani and Beth) to St. Louis to become an editor of The Waterways Journal. I recently retired from there after 33 years.

In 1945, Capt. Frederick Way began the Inland River Record. I helped him with the book from 1956 until I became its editor in 1977, and continue even though I am retired. The book has been published since 1945 and has had only two editors in all those years.

My hobby of photography and collecting boat photos developed into a part-time business as I began supplying photos to other hobbyists and co-workers. My collection now includes more than 37,000 black and white photographs of over 13,500 different inland towboats and Gulf area coastal tugs. Over the years, several thousand individuals, companies and hobbyists have contributed boat photos, which I have incorporated into my collection, while others have willed their entire collections to me. I like to think of Boat Photo Museum as a central collection point to perpetuate the photos for future years.

If you are seeking information on a former or presently operating towboat or Gulf coast tug, I probably have some data available. If you are looking for photos of early gas or diesel sternwheelers, early prop boats, or existing inland river towboats and Gulf coast tugs, please send me a list of what you need. I will respond to your inquiries, stating if it is in my collection, and the charge for the photograph.

Many old time rivermen have sent me long lists of boats and were amazed when they learned I could supply photos of practically every boat they ever worked on. Boat modelers also order photos from me, as I can often provide several views of the same boat. Whatever your purpose for acquiring boat photos, I will do my best to fill your order.

Usually, I print new photographs from my large collection of negatives. I am a hobbyist, and charge only nominal fees for my photographs. Please contact me for prices and availability.


Thanks to my daughter Beth Owen for creating this website for me.

Dan and Jeff on the island
Me and my younger brother Jeff, 1955

The first boat I worked on, the Cornell

The sternwheeler Prosperity

The 10,500 horsepower Argonaut

Capt. Black
The tugboat Capt. Black

anchor US Inland Waterways Site Ring
Navigate on thru the ring!
This site owned by Jack Simpson at Little River Books.