Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 30, 1989):
The sternwheel river steamboat BELLE OF LOUISVILLE, an operating vessel on the Ohio River, is one of only two sternwheel river passenger boasts operating under steam and is the sole remaining Western Rivers day packet boat. Day packets performed a variety of different tasks to earn a livelihood. When she was built in 1914 as IDLEWILD, the boat served primarily as a ferry. In later years she served as a day packet carrying freight and passengers, an excursion boat carrying tourists, a towboat during the Second World War and later went tramping on nearly the entire Western Rivers system seeking excursion business.