Statement of Significance (as of designation - December 20, 1989):
Built in 1927 and originally christened SS THORPE, this is one of only three steam-powered towboats extant in the United States. She and her sister ships reopened barge freight service on the upper Mississippi, using modern equipment and management methods. The service was so successful that private investors copied the methods and equipment, building a huge new industry. Renamed GEORGE M. VERITY in 1940, she towed barges loaded with coal and scrap iron on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and several of their tributaries, serving a vital function to the American steel industry. Currently, she is a dry berth exhibit on the Mississippi riverfront in Keokuk.