Artifact of the Month: Tintype of Steamboat Sultana Before the Tragedy

April 9, 2019 9:00 AM to April 30, 2019 5:00 PM

Delta Cultural Center - 141 Cherry Street, Helena-West Helena AR

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On a ship designed to carry only 376 passengers, the doomed steamboat Sultana was docked at Helena on April 26, 1865, bfore departing there early the next morning.  The tintype memorializes what was to be the most tragic water transportation event of the day.  It is now on exhibit at the Delta Cultural Center (DCC), 141 Cherry Street in historic downtown Helena.  It will be displayed until 5 p.m., on April 30.  The Center's hours of operation are Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free.

Overburdened with more than 2,100 Union POWs, the Sultana left Helena the next morning--April 27, to return the recently released soldiers back to their homes in the North, after imprisonment by the Confederate Army. At about 2 a.m. that day, a massive explosion ripped through the boat killing an estimated 1,800 troops (and other passengers on board) in what is still the deadliest incident in U.S. maritime history. This catastrophe happened 10 miles up river from Memphis!

The original tintype was photographed by Helena photographer Thomas W. Bankes before the boat left Helena's riverport that fateful day. In the case of this tintype, believed to be contemporaneous with Bankes image, it is a reversed image of Bankes.' Still the reproduction shows the overcrowded ship and its passengers before it departed Helena's port.  For more information contact Deb Smith, DCC manager of historic sites, at 870.338.4350, or email to:  [email protected]  Debra is the DCC team's staff curator of this month's artifact of the month. 


Add to Calendar 4/9/2019 9:00AM 4/30/2019 5:00 PM America/Chicago Artifact of the Month: Tintype of Steamboat Sultana Before the Tragedy Delta Cultural Center 141 Cherry Street Helena-West Helena, AR 72342 MM/DD/YYYY
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