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NATCHEZ IX bell, my trip report, etc.

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Old 06-25-2009, 04:21 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,865
Default NATCHEZ IX bell, my trip report, etc.

Here are some photos of the roofbell of the current NATCHEZ:
1) The bell was cast in 1929 for the towboat J.D. AYERS. At the top: BUCKEYE BELL FOUNDRY. Fred Way noted in the 1975 Reflector article about the new NATCHEZ that the original frame and mounting was used also.
2) on the back side: THE E.W. VANDUZEN CO. CINCINNATI The acorn was made by Larry Walker. When Doc was Captain, the acorn he received from F. Way which had been on the QUEEN CITY adorned this bell, as it did on all the boats Doc served as Master. Buckeye Bell Foundry was the name of the company from 1894-1950 and was owned by the VanDuzens. It had several previous names and co-owners prior to that era. Verdin Co. bought the assets of the VanDuzen Co. after it closed in 1950.
3) at the Toulouse St. wharf. Forward of the bell is the canopy which was installed in 1985 ( a similar one is on the stern). Note the brass back of the old searchlight on the port wingbridge and the lack of brass on the new searchlight purchased for the Ohio River run in 2006. The Union Jack flag is on the jackstaff, and the Moonwalk and buildings of the French Market and French Quarter are in the background. The green structure to the far right is the Gov. Nicholls St. Wharf, currently a battleground because the city wants to move a frozen chicken exporter from the Industrial Canal to this site.
The NATCHEZ roofbell is used regularly as part of the departure sequence:
On the day trips, the narrator begins the introductory spiel at 25 past. At :30, a 5 minute warning whistle is sounded. When the Captain is ready to go, the pilot sounds the bell 3 times as the notice for the ticket office to quit selling for that trip, and for the deck crew to go to their posts for the departure. On the dinner trip, the 5 minute whistle is sounded at the end of the Dukes of Dixieland's first set, the bell sounds for breakup, and the narrator does a brief spiel once the boat is underway.
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