Ship building was an important and flourishing business in the Maumee Valley as far up as the foot of the rapids. Up to 1846 almost 7,000 tons of shipping had been constructed at Maumee, Perrysburg, Toledo, and other points on the lower river. These ships ranged in size from the twenty five ton schooner, the MIAMI, built at Perrysburg in 1810, to the steamboats ST. LOUIS and SUPERIOR built in 1844 and 1845.
The SUPERIOR, a "floating palace" making her maiden voyage to Buffalo in September 1845, went "forth as a specimen of the Art, Mechanism and handicraft of Perrysburg." Her dimensions were as follows: Length of keel, 184 feet; length of deck, 196 feet; breadth of beam, 27 feet and 8 inches; extreme breadth, 48 feet; depth of hold, 12 feet and 4 inches; burden, 646 tons. The editor of the Blade described her in the columns of his paper:
She has two gentlemen's cabins, one 60 and the other 70 feet in length—the two containing 30 large State Rooms.
Two Ladies' cabins 33 feet each in length—the upper containing 6 State Room; the lower 10 State Rooms, together with 18 berths.
She has four Steerage cabins; two of them expressly fitted up for females, being well finished and furnished with mattresses, &c.
The SUPERIOR can accommodate in the most comfortable and superior style 200 cabin, and 500 steerage passengers....
Her upper cabins are finished in the finest style "no pains has been spared in her finishing, either in the wood work or in the painting; and to add still more to the magnificence of the cabins they are enlivened on either side with large Portraits of eminent men, Landscapes, and Historical pieces, in oil"24 in number....
With Captain Wilkinson as her commander and his noble crew to manage her, there is no danger but that she will meet with abundant success on the route she is going to take between Buffalo and Chicago.
(from article entitled "Navigation at the foot of the Maumee Rapids, 1815 - 1845 by Maurer Maurer, published in Morthwest Ohio Quarterly, July 1943, pp. 158-173)