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Thread: Str. George M. Verity Dedication Anniversary

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  1. #1
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    Default Str. George M. Verity Dedication Anniversary

    Today marks the 47th anniversary of the "christening" of the steam towboat GEO. M. VERITY as a museum at Keokuk, Iowa. The boat sits high and dry on a concrete pad, but has been "sunk" a few times over the years during Upper Mississippi River flooding. Any steamboat buffs and buffettes visiting in the Keokuk area should take time to visit the VERITY -- especially in these tumultous times when museums and boats are closing -- as it is well worth touring and gives a good idea as to life on a steam towboat. For historical information, photos and museum hours, click on Str. George M. Verity.

    When the VERITY was dedicated on June 2, 1962, Ruth Ferris, then curator of the River Room at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis, was invited as a special guest and spoke at the ceremony. She was flabbergasted that morning when, while having breakfast in the hotel dining room, someone came in and said, "Ruth, have you heard? The GOLDENROD SHOWBOAT burned last night?" Stay tuned for more about that anniversary too!
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  2. #2
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    Default

    The VERITY had a helical sternwheel and here's a view of what was often called her "lawnmower" wheel! Also a couple of images of her "high and dry" at Keokuk. Capt. Fred Way told me that, like the VERITY, the original plan for the W.P SNYDER, JR., when she was retired as a museum at Marietta in 1955, was to be out of the water, but it didn't happen.
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  3. #3
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    That helical wheel was the idea of Captain Phil Elsey, who had the reputation of being unable to let well enough alone. The primary idea was to reduce vibration. That worked fine. The buckets were expected to push better, but that was a very iffy result. When backing the boat tended to "wander" and pilots seldom knew which side she'd take. Those three monkey rudders were really needed when handling. The idea worked well enough that both this boat and the Weber W. Sebald had helical wheels until they were retired.

  4. #4
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    Default More VERITY photos

    Here are some photos I've taken at Midwest Buffs meetings in Keokuk.
    Note the rudder in the first photo.
    Over the years, the VERITY's pilothouse was a place of honor for viewing the QUEENS' passings and lockings... The boat is docked just downstream from the lower guidewall of L&D 19...
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  5. #5
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    Default Verity/thorpe

    The GEO. M. VERITY began as the S.S. THORPE, built in 1927 at Dubuque. 130 x 35 x 5. Nordberg condensing engines 15's, 30's/ 6 ft stroke. Foster-Wheeler watertube boilers. Owned by Federal Barge Lines until sold in 1940 to American Rolling Mill Co. and renamed GEO. M. VERITY (from Way's Towboat Directory)
    Note the normally configured paddlewheel in these photos.
    The third pix was taken in 1938 after the THORPE hit the Washington Ave. bridge in Minneapolis (from C.W.'s collection)
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  6. #6
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    Default

    In the early 1970's, our own David Tschiggfrie compiled an illustrated history of the boat entitled The George M. Verity Story. For years the booklet was sold in the boat's gift shop, but I don't know if it still is available. I did check BOOKFINDER.COM and eight copies are listed. I've also seen it show up on Ebay several times. Like it's author, it's a dandy -- and well worth having in your river library!

  7. #7
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    Wheel looks more like herringbone than helical to me but what do I know? The towboat has a Texas and I assume the crew slept there...what was in the main cabin...any "staterooms" there?

  8. #8
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    A video tour of the Verity is included in our DVD "American Queen St. Louis to St. Paul". We had time to tour it while waiting for the AQ to come out of the lock and shot the AQ from the Verity as it passed.
    -Jim Herron

  9. #9
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    Default

    Cap'n Walnut, I had always heard the term "herringbone" as well.

    As far as staterooms, there are/were none on the main deck. There is a large deck room aft of the boilers, which are set down in the hold. I can only hope that the docents there have gotten their facts straight, because when we were there 3 or 4 years ago, they were telling some real whoppers about various things. I realize they rely on volunteer help, but unfortunately, when inaccuracies are told many times over, they tend to become regarded as fact.

  10. #10
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    Default Verity's wheel

    helical = spiral
    In the aforementioned book by David Tschiggfrie, he mentions the "double helical (herringbone) wheel". If you take one side of the wheel, you can see the 'spiral', so its a double spiral or helix, or herringbone. So Keith, Alan, and David on the helical and Capns Walnut and Reynolds on the herringbone are all correct.
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