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Keith Norrington 08-28-2007 08:10 AM

"River Ramblings" Program Series at Howard Steamboat Museum
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Many thanks to ALL who braved the heat and humidity this past Saturday to attend Pat Carr's "Footlights Afloat", the third offering in the River Ramblings program series at the Howard Steamboat Museum. Despite the "typhoon" which blew up in the middle of the program and a brief power outage, everybody seemed to enjoy the afternoon, especially Mr. Tom Weatherston, retired drama teacher at New Albany High School, whom I had personally invited, knowing that he graduated from Hiram College and spent three summers on the SHOWBOAT MAJESTIC in 1948, '49 and '50. He exclaimed, "There's 'Aunt Pearl', when one of Pat's slides showed the elderly and longtime cook on the sternwheel towboat ATTABOY which pushed the MAJESTIC from town to town.

My appreciation to Pat for agreeing to do the unique program, to James Hall for being the Power Point technology man, to the usual museum stalwarts for their help and to Judy Patsch for her able assistance in all ways -- and for bringing a cargo of cookies 400 miles! Thanks also to Dr. Gerald Ruth and to Dr. Pete Striegel for lending several paintings of the MAJESTIC to display for the weekend.

The very LONG table set up for the gang of river people at Kingfish Restaurant on Saturday evening looked like something right out of a steamboat cabin! Lots of great conversations and fellowship, although there never seems to be adequate time to visit!

2008 will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Howard Steamboat Museum. Various celebratory events are in the works, including the next River Ramblings (date to be announced) which will feature [B]"Rise and Shine for the Streckfus Line -- A Journey on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers with An Excursion Steamboating Dynasty"[/B]. Judy Patsch (aka "Miss Streckfus") will be the presenter. Capt. Fred Way once told me that when he was running pilot on the excursion steamers WASHINGTON and SENATOR, the cabin steward, when awakening officers at watch time, would gently say, "Rise and Shine for the Streckfus Line", hence the title for this upcoming program.

Photos by Mike Molnar (three here attached) from the event are posted on the museum website at [url][/url]. As always, it was great to see everybody! Thanks again and keep up steam!

Curator Keith

P.S. "Fall Into Art" show featuring works by Harlan Hubbard, with opening reception on November 4th and the Christmas Open House at the museum is Sunday, December 9th.

Jim Reising 08-28-2007 08:42 AM

For those who missed the program at Howard's, what Keith didn't mention was the work he did on the showboat displays. They are very impressive. I never cease to be amazed at the wealth of material Keith comes up with. Good job Keith both on the wonderful displays and the excellent program.

Keith Norrington 08-31-2007 08:02 AM

Thank you Jim, for your kind words and for your faithful support of the programs. Also much appreciation for your gift to the museum on Saturday of a wooden life float from the old Louisville ferry boat ANDREW CHRISTY, complete with a framed photo of her. I'll find a prominent place to display them. THANKS!

Jim Reising 08-31-2007 09:21 AM

Keith, Doc Hawley presented that life float to me about 1960, it came from the AVALON after the CG ruled that wooden life floats were no longer accepted life saving devices. It was covered with layer upon layer of paint. I got some Streep Eze and got to the layers of paint came off, different boat names began to appear...AVALON, IDLEWILD, HENRY WATTERSON, and finally ANDREW CHRISTY. If you'll notice one side is painted white, I did that in the style of the AVALON. They stored the life floats up under the skylite roof and each spring rather than take out all the floats and paint them entirely, they would just paint the side the public could see.

Keith Norrington 08-31-2007 09:32 AM

When I first was on the BELLE in the early 1970's, Capt. Roddy Hammett did the same thing in painting the stacks of wooden life floats that were still aboard. He painted the top one in diagonal red, white and blue, with a fouled anchor between the hand holes. Some of them were thrown overboard during teen dances and after the Coast Guard decreed these could no longer be used, they all were stored over on the wharfboat RENOWN. Little by little they disappeared, being used for things like planks to walk across during high water in the days when the boat was at Cox Park. During the flood in the spring of '72, the planks stretched all the way out to River Road so the crew didn't have to wade in the mud that covered the parking area.

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