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Keith Norrington 02-16-2010 10:25 AM

Kahlke Boatyard - Rock Island Illinois - 1954
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The Fall, 2009 issue of the [I]S&D REFLECTOR[/I] arrived in my mailbox last week and contains Jerry Canavit's wonderful chronicle of the Kahlke Boatyard at Rock Island, Illinois. Jerry compiled this about a decade or so ago and made available bound copies that have quite a number of fascinating photos which limited space did not permit using in the REFLECTOR.

Jerry lives in San Antonio, but grew up at Rock Island and, as a youngster, was lucky to sneak aboard and explore the derelict ferry W.J. QUINLAN, which had been high and dry in the Kahlke yard since 1945. Fred Kahlke always maintained that the ferry would run again, but this never came to pass and the old boat was the victim of arsonists in 1967. Judy Patsch has some dramatic, color images of the venerable sternwheeler engufled in flames.

The publication of Jerry's most interesting essay in the REFLECTOR reminded me that, when the DELTA QUEEN made her first Upper Mississippi foray in 1954, bound for St. Paul, she "ran through herself" at Rock Island, the end of the line for that cruise. Many have heard the saga many times and it's well documented in Mrs. Letha Greene's great book, [I]Long Live the Delta Queen[/I]. Capt. C.W. and Marijane Stoll were on that trip and amongst C.W.'s vast slide collection were these two views taken in the Kahlke boatyard when DQ passengers were permitted to visit. Look closely in the view of the QUINLAN and you'll see people in view, one of whom might be old Fred Kahlke, standing at far right, next to the man dressed in white. The other view shows the horsedrawn windlasses used on the marine ways, as well as some other deteriorating boats and equipment.

Also, herewith is a view of an envelope from my collection for the Eagle Boat Store at St. Louis, long operated by Capt. W.H. "Buck" Leyhe and his brother Capt. Henry Leyhe. The recipient was the Kahlke boatyard in 1903.

Many thanks to Jerry for his well written and fascinating article!

Judy Patsch 02-16-2010 11:05 AM

1950s Kahlke
Jerry is two years older than I and a bit more adventuresome. We both lived below the hill, each of us just a little over a mile from the Kahlke Yard. He often rode his bike down there and did some exploring. I only saw the yard from our car when my father would drive down along Mill St. on Sunday afternoons. In addition to the booklet on the Kahlke Boatyards, Jerry published one on ferryboats, especially about the WJ QUINLAN. In Keith's first picture, showing the WJQ, note that she still has her pilotwheel, whistle, and pilothouse acorns, this 9 years after being laid up. They removed her paddlewheel and stored it on the grounds. When it was dismantled, I don't know. Doc went to visit Kahlke when the AVALON was in town in 1954. He tried to buy the acorns for the AVALON, but Kahlke refused, saying that the boat would run again... That could be Fred K. in the picture, but he almost always wore a long brown coat, even in summertime. He looked like a homeless bum, but was really one of the wealthiest people in town, due to his almost miserly existence. His greatest expense was tips for his good looking waitresses. Those are great pictures CW took during the DQ layup. He also got out to the Hennepin Canal and photographed several local locks in that system. There were many local residents who gave the DQ passengers tours and rides around town during that 8 day layup. Luckily there was a photographer like CW around to document that experience. He has several slides of the activities on the levee and boat too. Jerry did a masterful job in researching material from many local sources, in addition to his firsthand knowledge of the Kahlke Yards.

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