Message Boards

Message Boards (
-   River Talk & Cruises (
-   -   Gasboat at Tell City (

Luke Moore 08-16-2006 10:29 PM

Gasboat at Tell City
Can anyone tell me which gas boat hull is laying in the weeds at the
Tell City riverfront? I've seen this hull with paddlewheel intact over the
years but never knew anything about it. Looks to be about 80' to 100'
in length with an appx. 12' to 14' dia wheel with chain guard in place.
The trees have impaled her rusted hull but it is still visible in the winter
months when foliage thins out. The cabin has been washed away by past
flooding no doubt.

Pondering in Paducah...Luke

Ted Guillaum 08-17-2006 08:59 AM

I will venture a guess as to the name of the boat. It has been more years than I can remember since I saw the boat down there in the weeds. The last time I saw it the cabins were still intact and the wooden pilot wheel was in the pilot house. Iíll admit way back then I was tempted to try to "liberate" the wheel but never got up the nerve to go aboard since I did not know who owned the thing. The Chickasaw was a paddle wheeler that moved stone from the Mulzer stone quarry at Derby, Indiana. I remember seeing her in operation when I was a kid back in the 50í-60ís while fishing on the riverbank. So my vote is for the Chickasaw.

Shipyard Sam 08-17-2006 10:53 AM

I remember a large steel hull on the TC riverbank as early as 1959 or '60 that was lying faced "up the hill" at a right angle to the river. There was no cabin; just the rusting metal hull. Are we talking about the same thing?

Luke Moore 08-17-2006 12:11 PM

The hull that is visible is fore and aft with the shore some 20' above pool stage...trees cover most of the remains during the summer months but you can make out the hull lines and bracing at stern with the wheel in place still sitting in the journals with a chain guard slumped over the shaft sprocket. It is located some 200' above the T.C. riverfront access park. It looks to be an old gasboat towboat long forgotten...Luke

Keith Norrington 08-17-2006 12:21 PM

The hull of the steam towboat EDITH NUGENT was on the bank at Tell City into the 1960's. When the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE stopped there while on a tramp trip, chief engineer Dave Crecelius "liberated" some Van Duzen syphons from the beached hull for use on the BELLE. The EDITH NUGENT (of Nugent Sand Company here in Louisville) was not a large sternwheel steamboat and was dismantled at Tell City. Bert Fenn had her pilotwheel which is now at the historical society's museum there, courtesy of Mary Fenn. I remember a rather dilapidated diesel sternwheel towboat tied up at the Tell City waterfront in the fall of 1976 that belonged to Morris Carlock. I don't recall any nameboards on it, but will check some slides I took at the time. It could well be that this is the hull to which you are referring.

Shipyard Sam 08-17-2006 12:59 PM

The hull of the EDITH NUGENT must have been the one I saw, away back when. On a cold, wet autumn day in 1960, the AVALON, heading upbound, was scheduled to "play" TC, but when we arrived, no one was on shore awaiting us although when we got there it was the time specified for boarding. To everyone's great joy, Captain Wagner decided to keep a'going, as we were running behind time on a rising river. That particular hull was quite prominent on the bank, and I spent several minutes studying it as we steamed by.

Talking of steamboat hulls... There was a small one on the riverbank in Ludlow, Kentucky, near where Southern Ohio Marine had their fleet. Micky Frye and Virginia Bennett are both SOM vets. Anyone know if that hull still exists?

Tom Schiffer 08-17-2006 01:15 PM

Ted: I'll not be of any help in determining if that is the CHICASAW on the bank at Tell City, but I DO remember seeing a small stern wheeler upbound light at the Cincinnati West End Power Plant (just downstream from the C&O bridge. That would have been in the early-to-mid 1950s. I assumed at the time she was steam and wondered why I din't find her in either Way directory. In retrospect, I assumed that she was a Corps of Engineers tender due to the Indian name. But being a gas boat, she would have escaped Fred's scrutiny. Anyway, it appears that you have cleared up a long-standing mystery to me. I don't remember if she had towing knees or not. Probably did.

Ted Guillaum 08-17-2006 02:02 PM

Tom-My earliest recollection of seeing a sternwheel boat was the Chickasaw as I mentioned in the earlier posting. I was too young to know the difference between steam, gas or Shinola in those days. The boat was always pushing gravel barges so I would assume that it had tow knees. The last time I saw the boat was when it was in the weeds on the bank at Tell City. There was still a marina operating there that was owned by the Fischer family. My interest in steamboats was not all that strong until the early 1970ís so I figure the boat was there with a cabin and pilot wheel intact around 1973-74. I thought to myself at the time that it was just going to rot away completely but I was afraid the Fischer family may have had a purpose for it since it sat on the bank in front of their marina. I left it alone and did not go to jail.

Bill Judd 08-17-2006 02:27 PM

I doubt if that hull at Tell City was the Chickasaw. In the 50's and early 60's she towed petroluem barges ( red flags) for Triangle Towing at Maysville. Then she towed for T & S towing out of Tobinsport in the Mulzer trade. In 1965 she went to Capt. Harry White of Belle, WV. He used her up on Kanawha till 1971. Hull became a work barge. The Chickasaw was a big boat, 120'l x 30'w with 1000 h.p. by Cats to a split wheel. Superstructure was all steel, so not likely to have seperated due to high water. One of the real fine early Nabrico boats built in 1926.

Ted Guillaum 08-17-2006 02:47 PM

Mystery Boat
Thanks Bill-That helps clear up some of the story for me. You are exactly right about T & S Towing and the Mulzer trade. I guess that it was later than I thought when we would watch it going by. The boat that I saw on the bank above the Fischer Marina in the early 1970's had a wooden superstructure as best that I can recall and it had a sternwheel. It was already in very bad shape at the time which made me think that it was not going to last much longer there. I guess the search goes on for the name of the ghost boat.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:14 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
All content on this site is copyright protected and may not be re-used without written permission.