WSIU InFocus: A "Floating Cigar Box" found in Pulaski County Gives Us a Glimpse Of Our Past

Sep 16, 2015

Flatboats were homemade rectangular boats put together in the 1800s by pioneers looking to ship their products to markets on both the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  Tens of thousands of these boxy boats were made, but not a single one has ever been found.  Until September of 2000 when a local resident John Schwegman discovered one such flatboat on an exposed shoreline of the Ohio river in Pulaski County. 

This amazing discovery is featured in a book published by Southern Illinois University Press in August called "The Wreck of the America in Southern Illinois: A Flatboat on the Ohio River".  The author is Dr. Mark Wagner, the Director of the Center for Archaeological Investigations at SIU -Carbondale.

The University Museum at SIU Carbondale has an exhibit based on this discovery, running now through December 12th 2015.  For more information about the exhibit visit: