Maine’s Little Steamer Katahdin
By James Donahue
Thanks to the Moosehead Marine Museum at Greenville, Maine, the century-old steamer Katahdin is still
operating on the waters of Moosehead Lake as a cruise ship for summer tourists.
The 115-foot-long vessel was a gift to the museum in 1977 after a faithful career of hauling lumber
and passengers on the long lake waters since the day it was launched in 1914.
The Katahdin was built by the Bath Iron Works located on the Kennebec River in Bath, to replace a
wooden hulled steamer by the same name that burned in 1913. The owners, Coburn Steamship Company, had the parts shipped in
sections by railroad and then assembled the hull on Moosehead Lake.
During its years of service, the "Kate" hauled booms of logs in the spring then served as a passenger
boat during the summer months. After Scott Paper Company bought the Katahdin, its engines were replaced and the vessel was
put to work hauling pulpwood. The ship was still working during the historic "Last Log Drive" on Moosehead Lake in July, 1975.
After receiving the Katahdin as a gift, the museum conducted a restoration campaign and opened a $500,000
campaign to completely restore the ship. The Kate has been used as a cruise ship for summer tourists since 1985.