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Old 04-02-2014, 01:31 PM
Judy Patsch Judy Patsch is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,869
Default AVALON 1952

I saw the AVALON and GORDON C. GREENE together in Davenport in 1951, according to my father, but I don't remember that. In 1952 she started playing from Rock Island rather than Davenport and my family went down to our levee each of the nights to listen to her calliope concert, which was almost an hour long. We sat on our campstools under the old FERRY sign and watched her go out on her moonlight trip. Then we would ride the Sunday afternoon trip, sitting up on the Texas stern. Of course that calliope player was none other than Clarke C. Hawley, who noted that only in RI and Muscatine did we applaud his playing by honking our car horns. On my first trip on the NATCHEZ in June 1980 I was standing out on the roof as that same calliope player serenaded the NOLA passengers. I have pictures of the RI levee days, which I'll post when I find them.
As to a BELLE memory, in June 1977 Jim Blum was DQ Captain and there were a number of steamboaters aboard. He announced that our stop in Louisville would be extended to 4:30 so passengers (and he) could go over and ride the BELLE. I couldn't help but cry when I came up those stairs and saw the beautiful ballroom and overall great shape of a boat I hadn't seen in 16 years, when she was in need of a facelift. As we were making our approach to turn for the landing, the DQ was blowing her 20 minute warning whistle, but we had no fear of missing the boat since her Captain was with us.
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