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The Haunted History of the Delta Queen

Updated on August 23, 2017

The History and Hauntings of the Delta Queen

Do you love a good ghost story? How about a ghost story aboard a ship? Perhaps you are in search of a unique place to spend your Halloween holiday. Maybe you just want to see if you can experience your own ghost story in person, instead of always reading about them.

Well, sit back and enjoy the ride as we visit the Delta Queen. It was the last active traditional steamboat to sail the rivers and take on overnight passengers. It is now moored in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is now a floating hotel.

Read the stories of it's history and hauntings, and then give me your opinion! You can even take a trip and stay overnight there yourself, if you dare!

The Delta Queen

In 1924, work was started to build the Delta Queen, and the ship was finished on May 20, 1927. It was put into service on June 1, 1927. She started her career in Northern California, offering overnight accommodations to passengers travelling between Sacramento and San Francisco.

When World War II began, the Delta Queen was commissioned as an auxiliary Navy ship. It was used as floating barracks, and also provided ferry service for sailors in the San Francisco Bay area.

After the war, Greene Line Steamers, run by Capt. Tom Greene, bought the Delta Queen. His mother Mary Becker Greene was the first person to move aboard the majestic ship.

The ship was moved from the west coast to Pittsburgh, and began cruising the waters of the Ohio and Mississippi, as well as a lot of their tributaries.

The Delta Queen History

First Woman Steamboat Captain

Mary Becker Greene was the first woman ever licensed to pilot a steamboat in America. She moved aboard the Delta Queen after it was purchased by her son, and she spent the last years of her life there. She died aboard the Delta Queen on April 22, 1949, and is said to still walk the halls of the great steamboat.


Stories from a Retired Delta Queen Captain

Captain Mike Williams was asleep aboard the ship one night, when he said someone whispered "Psst" in his ear. He even says he felt the person's breath. He didn't get up, and this happened twice more. He then decided to get up, but saw no one. He decided he better go check the cabins, and found all unlocked but one...Room 109, the room Capt. Mary Becker Greene died in. It was then he saw water coming in the lower level of the boat. A hole was found and quickly repaired. This hole was big enough to sink the ship if it hadn't been found in time. That was about 27 years ago, but even today Capt. Williams thinks it was Mary Greene who whispered in his ear to make him get up.

He also believes Capt. Mary Greene led him to his wife. At the time, Mary Fruge was a new employee on the Delta Queen. She received a call from a sick passenger in room 109, Capt. Mary Greene's former cabin. She knew nothing of the ghost stories, and she called Capt. Williams to go check on the passenger. When he got to the room, no one was there. This encounter led Mary Fruge and Capt. Williams to get better acquainted, and they were married less than a year later.

Above information paraphrased from Times Free Press online...

The Delta Queen Ghost on YouTube

These videos are of paranormal investigations to find the ghost of Mary Becker Greene, the spirit who is said to still walk the halls of the Delta Queen.

Are YOU Brave Enough?


Have you ever stayed, or would you stay, aboard the Delta Queen?

See results

Believe it or Not?

Is the Delta Queen really haunted? Tell me which side you are on, and if you have any stories or first hand accounts to prove your case, post them here. Thanks!

Do you believe the Delta Queen is really haunted?

Ghost Stories...


Whether on the Delta Queen or somewhere else, have you ever experienced the paranormal? Feel free to leave your comments about why you voted yes or no!

Have you ever experienced a ghost or a haunting yourself?

See results

Rescued Calliope

The calliope onboard the Delta Queen was installed there after it was rescued from a sunken showboat the "Water Queen."

The Delta Queen Calliope

The Delta Queen has a 100 year old calliope on board. Don't know how a calliope sounds? Well, look no further, you can hear it right here!

Save the Delta Queen!

A New Home

The exemption in 2008 didn't come, and the great Delta Queen ceased to carry overnight passengers. It was relocated, and on June 5, 2009, the Delta Queen opened in Chattanooga, TN as a floating hotel and restaurant.

See the Paddlewheel of the Delta Queen up close!

The Delta Queen still has it's original paddlewheel, which weighs over 36 tons! It was the only means of propelling the ship. Although the wheel is resting right now, there are hopes that the wheel will turn once again!

The Delta Queen Riverboat Photographic Print

Moored on the Tennessee River

You see the Tennessee Aquarium in the background, which is an easy walk across the bridge from the Delta Queen.

Delta Queen Accomodations

The Delta Queen has 88 cabins on board. It has no televisions, no phones, and no internet connections! With a restaurant on board, you never have to leave the ship if you don't want to. You can actually stay on the ship and get away from everything!

The Delta Queen Rag on YouTube

See the Delta Queen in action from this video. The song you hear was actually composed by Chattanooga, TN musician Lon Eldridge while sitting on the river bank by the Delta Queen. The second video shows Lon Eldridge himself performing the guitar piece himself.

Perhaps you have a firsthand experience to add, or maybe just comments on this lens. If so, feel free to share them here!

Do you have any stories about the Delta Queen?

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    • Cinnamonbite profile image


      6 years ago

      That's awesome!

    • waldenthreenet profile image


      6 years ago

      Interestning topoic. Love the era of River Boats on the Missippii R. Hello spirit of Mark Twain ! Congrads on your Squidoo level 61. Self help and mutual help via conversations. Thanks.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Interesting. Would love to see that old riverboat in person one day!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      The Delta Queen truly is a magnificent ship. She would have been so glorious in her early years to those who she passed by.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image


      7 years ago

      Congratulations on your lens being included on the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"


    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 

      7 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      What an intriguing story! Angel blessed and featured on The SquidAngel HAPPYHalloween Quest :

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Cool and fascinating stuff here. Thanks for sharing!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      7 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      The Delta Queen looks like a beautiful, historic place to visit and spend the night and possibly see a ghost!


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