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Thread: Visit to the Steamer 'Lone Star,' Valuable to Future Generations.

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Visit to the Steamer 'Lone Star,' Valuable to Future Generations.

    This weekend, my family and I visited the steamer 'Lone Star' at the Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire, IA. The new glass sided building over the boat is beautiful, but more importantly is keeping the decrepit vessel out of the elements. There were clear signs of recent restoration work, but there is still a lot to be done. From what I understand and experienced, the 'Lone Star' is already in a much better state than just a few years ago. The pilothouse, cabins, and part of the upper deck are all open for viewing. For someone who was visiting the 'Lone Star' for the first time, I must say that I am astounded by the wealth of information and insight the boat is capable of giving all us steamboaters! This information can range from simple things, such as what types of wood were used in different areas of the boat, to more complex subjects such as the mathematics of the machinery and even how the boat was operated! It is a shame that the little steamer seems so overlooked in the river community. Now, it is preserved for the inquisitive brains of the next generation( such as mine) and perhaps one day will aid in the research and reconstruction of replica steamers. The condition of the boat is, however, still a bit shaky. At least now it can't get worse since it is under cover. It is interesting to note that the 'PS Adelaide' in Echuca, Australia is older than the 'Lone Star' by several years, is of wooden construction, but is still operational. From what I have jsut seen, though, I am fairly certain that an operational preservation of the 'Lone Star' would be next to impossible to obtain. With that said, I still believe that the boat is an invaluable resource for marine archaeologists, shipwrights, and the likes. It is only possible to obtain a certain amount of information by studying pictures and reading books, but having a boat such as the 'Lone Star' helps to bring life to the photos and meaning to the words. I feel now that I have a much better grasp on the construction of wooden river steamers of the early 20th century! Has there ever been an all encompassing survey of the 'Lone Star?' Have her blueprints been recreated with mathematical detail, or are the 1920's prints still in existance? Please help quench my thirst for information! Thanks in advance!

    W.R. Dancey
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