As far as the eye can reach it extends, a heaving, swelling sea of green . . . . the whole landscape showed design, like man's nobelist sculptures. How wonderful the power of its beauty! Gazing awestricken, I might have left everything for it.

~ John Muir, 1867

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The Voyage of the J.R. McDonald

J.R. McDonald and barge at Skaggs Bridge with crowds of people, June 16, 1911

This digital exhibit explores a unique voyage of the steamer J. R. McDonald through photographs and the shipping manifest of the J.R. McDonaldwhich documents the stops and deliveries made between Stockton and Fresno. In 1911, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce created a Navigation Committee to mobilize government and commercial support for restoring navigation to California’s San Joaquin River. They used a well-publicized riverboat journey of the steamer J. R. McDonald from Stockton to Skaggs Bridge at Kerman to build public interest in the project. The Committee hoped the novelty of a paddlewheel steamboat on the San Joaquin River for the first time in over twenty years would excite public and government interest in their efforts to restore navigation to the river. Although they ultimately failed, their efforts highlight railroad and water conflicts at the turn-of-the-century. Click here to explore The Voyage of the J. R. McDonald.


This exhibit was made possible through the research and writing of Fresno State graduate intern Katy Hogue. 

Last Updated Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 11:22 AM.