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SS Alberta at Galena Bay

The SS Alberta, in 1909 once it was tied up near Riondel to be used as a summer home. Image courtesy of Touchstones Nelson Archives

Quick Facts


Year Built: 1893 - as State of Idaho, renamed 1895

Location: Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Company: Bonners Ferry & Kaslo Transportation Company, sold to the Alberta and BC Exploration Company, 1893

Year Withdrawn: 1902

Notes: Was built as the State of Idaho, renamed the Alberta after it ran aground months after its launch and sold to the Alberta and BC Exploration Company.

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The SS Alberta

Sternwheeler SS Alberta in Kaslo, 1897

The SS Alberta was originally launched in May 1893 as the SS State of Idaho when it was built for the Bonners Ferry & Kaslo Transportation Company a Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The ship was 43 metres (140 feet) long and 7 metres (23 feet) wide and worked from Bonners Ferry Idaho across the Canada - US border to Kaslo and Nelson. It was licensed to carry 200 passengers and had staterooms for the comforts of its occupants.

On November 10, 1893 the SS State of Idaho was south of Ainsworth when the bow hooked on a shallow narrow shelf, leaving the stern floating in 90 metres (300 feet) of water. The crash occurred early in the morning when passengers were in their staterooms, which may have contributed to the lack of injuries with the exception of a bruised shoulder suffered by one passenger. That same day, it was sold to the Alberta and BC Exploration Company for $350 and towed to Kaslo. It was repaired and renamed the SS Alberta.

The SS Alberta returned to the Bonners Ferry, Idaho - Kaslo - Nelson run on May 16, 1895. It worked steadily until 1900, when it was put on relief duty after the launch of the SS Kaslo. It was laid up in 1901 in Kaslo, sprung a leak in the spring of 1905, raised, then the machinery removed. In 1907, the hull was purchased by Gus Matthews for $150 and towed to Galena Bay near Riondel for use as a houseboat. It was destroyed by fire in 1922.

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