The famous General Jackson Showboat in Nashville goes up and down the Cumberland River on a regular basis. It has long represented Music City and is somewhat a museum piece. The riverboat has a full stage and auditorium inside with shows that are sometimes scheduled three times a day.
The views from the massive boat are none other than amazing if you love water and the picturesque shores of Nashville. But, how much do you know about the boat?
The name “General Jackson” came from a riverboat that was built in 1817 and named after Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States (1829-1837).
Jackson was born in the South Carolina area in 1767. By the age of 13, Jackson was captured by British troops during the American Revolutionary War. At the time of capture, Jackson was a courier. The capturing of the young boy likely gave him perspective later in life as he was said to have been mistreated by the British before being let go. Not much has been written about that mistreatment so the extent is unknown.
Jackson went on to become a lawyer and elected to hold a Congressional Office in the House of Representatives and twice holding office in the U.S. Senate.
In 1801 he called Tennessee home and was appointed as Colonel of the Tennessee militia. He was quite wealthy at the time and owned what we call today, the Hermitage Plantation. Hundreds of slaves were owned by Jackson.
He became famous during the War of 1812, which was a time where he defeated the men who troubled him as a youth… The British. During the Battle of New Orleans Jackson and his troops had an overwhelming victory over the main British Invasion Army.
Jackson later ran for president in 1824 and won.
Back to the boat named General Jackson that travels up and down the Cumberland River today (2016)… The boat was built for Opryland Theme Park in 1985. When the theme park closed in 1997, the boat remained active and is still an attraction today.
The boat is 77 feet tall and has a 7 foot deep draft. It is 274 feet long and 63 feet wide. It can hold 1200 passengers and has a crew of 157 men and women. Its top speed is 13 miles per hour. All of those numbers are quite impressive for a riverboat.
The massive riverboat is powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines and two General Electric 600 horsepower electric motors that push a 36 foot wide paddlewheel.
The boat is docked outside of Opry Mills. The river is about 15 to 25 feet deep where the Jackson is moored. The average roundtrip for tourist in the boat is only 14 miles. However, the Cumberland River has 381 miles of navigable waters from Kentucky to the Ohio River.
"I was born for a storm, and a calm does not suit me." – Andrew Jackson