This photo and the following attribution are from the article, “STEAMBOATS ON THE CAPE FEAR” by Rev. Nash A. Odum, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Dublin, N.C. and President of the Bladen County Historical Society.
The State Magazine, Vol. 59, No. 18. Feb. 15, 1972 Issue, Pg. 17. Picture taken on the Cape Fear River, just above Elizabethtown, about 1917.
NOTE: I think I’ve seen this picture listed as being taken near Tar Heel, NC, which is above Elizabethtown, NC. *I cannot say for sure, but I’ve seen a picture of the A. P. HURT, which had a rounded pilot house as does the steamboat nearest the river bank in the photo. The THELMA was built in 1913 and was the only boat running on the Cape Fear at that time as the steamer C. W. LYON had burned in November 1913. I am making an “educated guess” that the THELMA is the boat next to the A. P. HURT.
Many times before the building of the three locks & dams on the Cape Fear River, the river would become low and even dry up in sections so that no river traffic was possible. A low river would also make it more possible for it to freeze over. After the building of the dams, the minimum river depth at each dam was 8 feet, as was the depth at Fayetteville, NC.
A note of correction from the article regarding the closing sentence, “Thus a glamorous chapter in Cape Fear history comes to an end when the last of the old steamboats, “The City of Fayetteville”, makes her last run in 1914.” *The CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE broke in two in September 1913 at her wharf in Wilmington. But, at that time, the C.W. LYON (formerly, and after her burning, named the A.P. HURT) was still running, for about another month when she burned in November 1913. The THELMA started running in early December 1913 and was finally tied up, and left to rot, on the river bank at Elizabethtown, NC in 1939. The A. P. HURT sank, in March of 1923 at her wharf in Wilmington, NC.