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Keith Norrington 04-15-2009 07:51 AM

Str. SPRAGUE - Fire Anniversary
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Today marks the 35th anniversary of the fire which virtually destroyed the mighty Str. SPRAGUE, largest steam towboat ever built, at Vicksburg, Mississippi on the night of April 15, 1974. Capt. Charley Brasher phoned me from the BELLE office the next day with the shocking news, which he had just received via "The Sternline Telegraph". My first look at "Big Mama" was in June of 1969, when I was barely 15 years old and "on fire" with the steamboat bug, devouring every book and article on the topic I could find. I cringed when the lady guide explained that the sheer of the boat was due to the moisture of being on the river and that the big steamboat was "warped"!

The SPRAGUE, built at Dubuque, Iowa in 1901, has been the topic of discussion in previous threads on this forum, now archived but still available for viewing, with many sharing photos and memories. Bits and pieces of the huge sternwheeler can be seen in Vicksburg at The Old Court House Museum, Catfish Row Park, and scattered along the Yazoo, where the stacks, engines and other discarded parts reside in the Mississippi mud.

Rest in pieces, Str. Sprague! You were an AWESOME lady!

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