From the bottom of the latest Shorpy’s. I’d say it was a tank of some kind, but it appears to have portholes and a door in the end.
Only a guess, but it resembles an Airstream trailer, probably for the same reason – a live in barge.
It’s hard to tell without seeing the hull, but it could be a commercial fishing tug. The rounded top is kind of unusual, but the little wheelhouse aft is pretty typical.
Here’s a more squared off but similar configuration: http://www.flickr.com/photos/upnorthmemories/96421378/
I was trying to see if there was a different view for that shot of the bridge, and I found this on Shorpy: http://www.shorpy.com/node/8963
Other side of the river, but the boat in question is just out of frame! D’oh!
Maybe someone took an old tank of some sort and turned it into a boat.
Here’s an old houseboat that was made out of an oil tank:
Looks to me to simply be a little river barge fitted with a semi-circular roof. Look at the boat just above it in the photo…then imagine that boat’s roof being rounded instead of flat. I doubt it is particularly unique or luxurious.
I don’t think it’s a Whaleback.
Here are Whalebacks
This contains some shots of the Christopher Columbus passenger steamer that hit a water tower. This is the first time I’ve managed to find good pictures of the damage. I always found it bizarre that the boat hit a water tower. It’s the only Whaleback passenger steamer ever constructed. Here is a good picture of it before the accident where you can see the unique construction of the ship.
Direct link to hi-res picture as it’s dropped off the bottom of the front page.
Interesting story. Apparently the Christopher Columbus was being towed to the lake by two tugs when turbulence caused it to spin, at which point it knocked out two legs of the water tower which crashed onto the ship, killing eighteen people.
Thanks for larger photo. Harmonious Discord was right, and I was wrong; that is not a whaleback barge or whaleback freighter. I was thinking it was something along the lines of http://www.shorpy.com/node/9273 but I was obviously wrong.
Here is the odd boat again on a postcard. Could the little boat belong to the bridge for some unknown function? It doesn’t have a deck but has two ladders and a handrail up top. Maybe the workers get on top and do … something? But the back appears to go straight down. There doesn’t appear to be access to the door at all. Very strange.
You would expect it to be perfectly round in that case. If you look closely, it’s squared off slightly indicating a desire for more headroom inside – i.e. it was made to be something people walk in.
After looking at the high res version and also at the second version that Fubaya posted, I have to agree with you. It’s not a tank converted into a boat. It certainly looks intentional, whatever it is.
Wonder if it is a landing craft from one of these http://img.chan4chan.com/img/2010-11-13/148182.jpg (top left corner of photo – click to enlarge)?
The Chicago Maritime Museum:
might help, but the “contact us” button won’t work for me.
Are you talking about the USS Oregon, the one with all the sailors and the boxing gloves in the foreground ?
This picture shows the cabin ends with a flat wall with a door. Thus ends my searching.
Just a WAG -
Could it be some kind of pressurized vessel that workers would use while building supports for bridges or doing some other kind of underwater work, so that they could depressurize without getting the bends?