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R. Dale Flick 09-23-2006 02:51 PM

'Tall Stacks' in Oct. issue of CINCINNATI Magazine.
Dear Steamboating colleagues:
My October issue of CINCINNATI Magazine arrived and I draw your attention to Kathleen Doan's article Pgs. 108-111 titled 'Pack the Stacks.' Her piece is filled with much information on the event and the current thinking in marketing and promotion leading into the 2006 event. Her lead is "If organizers learned one thing in '03, it was that mixing music and riverboats brings out the crowds." This year's event will feature "Steamboat city, a new attraction on the Kentucky side of the river." The financial issues stemming from the 2003 event are concisely covered. I note large ad signs around town touting Tall Stacks as "Music, Arts, Tradition." The kicker paragraph at the end states, "There has been talk of spinning off the music portion of Tall Stacks into an annual event. Also, "The target audience--adults 55 and older who were drawn to the riverboats because of their childhood memories o riding the ISLAND QUEEN to Coney Island--was aging and getting smaller with each event...little to lure teens, young adults and the African-American population." readers/posters may be able to access CINCINNATI Magazine and read for themselves at: [url][/url]

R. Dale Flick

R. Dale Flick 09-23-2006 06:54 PM

Steamboating colleagues:
Two interesting E=Mails here for additional information on the first 'Tall Stacks' as we know it now. Sorry CINCINNATI Magazine as posted above can't be accessed for the article I mentioned. The year 1988 was the Bicentennial Celebration of the City of Cincinnati. Committees were formed from the public and private sector to meet, offer ideas, suggestions, plans beginning in the spring/summer of 1984. I joined what was then known as 'Rivers Festivities Committee' to pull together a plan including focusing on the Ohio River history, boats, traditions. My first meeting was July 2, 1984 and by mid July I had been requested to serve as secretary for the event. Basically we were ideas people familiar with the rivers and boats both old and new. In short here are some of the names I just pulled from my notes/reports from in my 'dusty boxes.'
Chairman: Dan Pinger of Dan Pinger Public Relations
Co-Chair: Sharon Haus, Sales, B/B RIVERBOATS
Gordon C. Greene II, lawyer.
Richard Griewe: Executive Director, Cincinnati Bicentennial
Frank Mayfield, VP. Marsh & McLennen
Alan Bernstein, B/B RIVERBOATS
Dave Imbrogno, Museum of Natural History - curator
Vic Nolting, Gen. Manager of CONEY ISLAND
Tom Gaylon, Pres. N. Kentucky Convention/Visitor's Bureau
Mike Rozow, Cinti. Convention Bureau
Ed Rider, P&G Co.
Donald Deming, 'Riverlorian' and speaker
Yeatman Anderson III, Rare Books/Inland Rivers Library, curator
Virginia Bennett, river historian formerly with GREENE LINE STEAMERS
Ted Gardner, Covington Ky.
Bob Limle, Newport, Ky. boat operator/historian
Capt. Ken Vaughn
Steve Brandt, Mayerson & Co.
Fred Clough, business entrepreneur
R. Dale Flick, S&D of Pioneer Rivermen/Cinti. Public Schools - Secretary of committee. I'm sure Betty Blake, if alive, would have played a major part in the first event.

Now, people would 'come and go' with these committee efforts from 1984 to 1988. Our own Frank Prudent of S&D was a committee member and we all ran the course from the top business honchos to average working men and women. I look back now on those original notes and the typed report and see the same ideas being articulated then as we have now. Nothing new is under the sun. In time everybody wanted to jump on the circus wagon to claim a share of 'who really originated Tall Stacks.' Capt. Fred Way and I worked on and proposed a recreation of the Str. QUEEN CITY pilothouse sponsored in part by the J. Mack Gamble Fund and S&D of Pioneer Rivermen. It was turned down when Fred and I set strict limits that it could not be used as a vending or ticket booth and 'should stand alone.' Tall Stacks honchos had other ideas. When their verdict came in both Fred Way and I breathed a sigh of relief that the project would not be completed. Looking back Fred and I realized a full replica of the QUEEN CITY pilothouse would have meant providing for secutiry, fire/vandalism systems, continuing repairs and maintenance. Keith Norrington also wisely dropped a shoe on the need for 'handicapped access ramp' to the historical recreation.

After the close of the 1988 Cincinnati Bicentennial the rivers portion, by then known as 'Tall Stacks,' was spun off as a venue of it's own. Who named it 'Tall Stacks?' I entered a meeting at the Convention Bureau one warm sunny afternoon. Mike Rozow had a collection of posters from the 1976 American Bicentennial picturing various ships in New York--vessels under sail, liners etc. There was a pause, we looked each other in the eye, and Mike said, "Why don't we call this Tall Stacks?" I have personal diary notes, reports here in my files while the final typed proposal for the event I sent to the Inland Rivers Library. I was on vacation at a rented beach house in South Carolina and banged the proposal out on my portable Olympia typewriter. I did not rejoin the committee for the 1992 event but have attended all since then. Once was enough. I can't begin to tell you all of how meetings I attended, how many pages I typed. We'd attend meetings to present our thinking to the high pooh bahs and then sit back to hear them ask for even more details. Money always was and is the binding glue of these events. This, in shortened form, is how I saw it.

R. Dale Flick

Elaine Santangelo 09-24-2006 08:28 AM

Nice info Dale. . . wish I could be there but certainly not this year.


Shipyard Sam 09-24-2006 12:03 PM

Star of the '88 Tall Stacks?
Thanks for the background on the origin of Tall Stacks. Once the '88 event became operational, it is little known to most people, but one of the most exciting boats there was [I]Cap'n Bela "Flatboat" Berty's[/I] SPIRIT OF KANAWHA. The SPIRIT became the focal place for boatmen to meet and hangout around an actual campfire on a wooden boat. The flatboat saw the likes of John Hartford, John Beatty, Doc Hawley, and many others who found the SPIRIT to be a refuge from the crowds and a cozy place to be. The evening news often had Bela's flatboat in their background shots on many nights instead of the famous steamboats BoL, DQ, and even the PRESIDENT. The City of Cincinnati was so taken with the flatboat that Bela and boat were invited to stay on the Public Landing for several months more, and he gave tours to thousands of school kids until January of the following year.


Bill Judd 09-24-2006 12:51 PM

As of now about 50 plus persons are the star or personally invented Tall Stacks.

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