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Old 02-22-2010, 09:50 AM
Keith Norrington Keith Norrington is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On the "Beautiful Ohio" at New Albany, Indiana, opposite Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 2,078

Sad, but not surprising news, considering that the BECKY has been in peril for some years now. Yet another fine old riverboat gone. Once the Str. MISSISSIPPI (No, 3) and the proud flagship of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she had become but a shell, her engines, boilers, and other steamboat haberdashery gone, save for the capstan and the lazy bench from the pilothouse being about the only original items remaining on board. Her pilotwheel now resides at the River Museum in Point Pleasant, WV. The steel hull of the BECKY was a product of the Howard Shipyard at Jeffersonville, built in 1926 and taken to Paducah, where the upper works of the second Str. MISSISSIPPI were "scooted" over onto the new hull, an amazing operation with the only casualty being one broken pane of door glass! The MISSISSIPPI operated until decommissioned on April 19, 1961 and later was a tourist attraction at Hannibal MO, before being sold to the late Frank C. Pierson, moved to St. Louis in March, 1966 and renamed BECKY THATCHER, where she remained until sold and moved to Marietta in August, 1975.

As many know from previous discussions on this forum, I have a special place in my heart for the BECKY, owing to my longtime friendship with the late Miss Ruth Ferris, my mentor and patron saint of steamboating, who was designer and curator of the Midship Museum aboard the BECKY at St. Louis. Besides numerous visits at St. Louis (my first one in 1968 when I was 14 years old) I, and many other steamboat fanatics, have enjoyed festive dinner parties in the cabin of the BECKY, during S&D meeting weekends at Marietta, with dear friends, many of whom have since departed from us. Thank goodness for our memories and memorabilia!

The Marietta Times reports today that the boat is a total loss and slated for demolition as quickly as possible. Access the article by clicking on R.I.P Becky Thatcher - | News, Sports, Jobs, Ohio, Community Information - The Marietta Times

As it states in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15, To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. This applies to old steamboats and the BECKY has earned her rest. A long and loud whistle salute to her memory and in tribute to all the fine people who served as her officers and crew throughout her decades of dedicated service, especially the late Capt. David M. Cook, her longtime master, who always saw to it that she was kept in pristine condition, befitting a fine southern lady.

Herewith are a few images of the MISSISSIPPI in her operating days. Farewell to a Grande Dame of the Great River.
Attached Thumbnails
RIP BECKY THATCHER-mississippi-four-mile-bayou-light-lmr.jpg   RIP BECKY THATCHER-mississippi-stern-view.jpg   RIP BECKY THATCHER-mississippi-starboard-side-view.jpg  

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