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Old 08-29-2016, 02:49 PM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,551
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*J.M.WHITE stairs ''hanging free"*
Steamboating colleagues,
Jim, thanks for the above classic photo of the great "main stairway" of the J.M. WHITE. This photo shot well-known to some of us; possibly new to others. Again writer Will S. Hayes commented on the magnificent staircase in his big 'blow' article when the WHITE was finished. Capt. Fred Way, as mentioned earlier, also picked up the Hayes text in his 'blow' on the WHITE in his WAY'S PACKET DIRECTORY known to many. Though my copy sleeping down in Cincinnati, I recall the description of the staircase as being done in fine black walnut wood. Do you know how expensive $$ that much black walnut wood would command today even if you could get it? I may no doubt be mistaken, but I thought somebody years ago in the know [Fred Way?] made reference to the figure standing at the bottom of the stairs to the right in this field of view. Who out there remembers possibly hearing this and 'was' the male figure possibly one of Howard family members? Yes, the WHITE, and others like her, were one huge pile of lumber for sure. Way and Hayes both extolled in detail the many fine kinds of wood used in her construction from the best pine, oak, walnut, mahogany, rose wood, ebony etc.

Indeed, as you write, the main staircase was constructed, suspended to hang 'free' of the deck. Those big sidewheelers when 'working ahead' in shallow waters at times often not only "vibrated" but rose and fell in the hull with the working of the wheels. Wasn't this heaving called 'grasshoppering?' I'd assume the staircase no doubt 'suspended' by unseen metal rods. [?] But that just an idle speculation on my part. Fred Way and others commented on this.

My own late grandmother, born in 1874, rode later many of the sidewheelers on the Ohio River. She commented to me how "the decks rose and fell with a cracking sound in shallow waters." The boat she referred to was the classic MORNING STAR. She never mentioned the same experience on the last KATE ADAMS as the "ever lovin' KATE" had a metal hull. Yet, the big L&C LINE Str. CINCINNATI of 1924 did "rattle, shimmy, shake underway" at times. Well, what do I know? Great photo. This really makes Steamboats.org jump. Are there more? Cheers!

R. Dale Flick
Summer: northern shores of might Lake Michigan until end of this week.
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