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Keith Norrington 06-29-2011 07:08 PM

"By the River's Edge" Steamboating Exhibit to Open on Friday
In celebration of the Steamboat Bicentennial Year, an exhibition entitled [I][B]By the River's Edge[/B][/I] will open on Friday, July 1st in New Albany. Founded in 1813, New Albany was home to several boatbuilding firms, boiler works and numerous other industries related to the river. Many famous steamboats were built here, including the ECLIPSE (1852) and the ROBT. E. LEE (1866) famous for its race with the NATCHEZ in 1870 from New Orleans to St. Louis. The exhibit will include various and rarely seen artifacts lent by private collectors as well as area museums. The traveling display,[I] Steamboat A Comin',[/I] from the Rivers Institute of Hanover College, and which features 19 panels of photographs and historical information, will also be included.

[I]By the River's Edge [/I]opens with a reception on Friday evening from 6-8 PM. The public is invited and there will be wine and other refreshments. The exhibition will be open on Friday and Saturday from 11 AM until 4 PM and on Sundays from 1 until 4 PM. On Saturday, July 9th, during New Albany's CITY WIDE CELEBRATION of art, history and music, the exhibit will be open from 11 AM until 9 PM. The exhibition will close on July 31st. Admission is free.

It has been a pleasure to co-curate this exhibition in my hometown. Today it was great fun to walk down the street holding a large silver pitcher from the Str. ROBT. E. LEE, and an elaborately woven bell cord pull! Also brought in was a beautiful marble top table from the Str. BALTIC.

The display will be on the "second deck" of the historic United Gas and Electric building at 138 East Spring Street in downtown New Albany. On July 26th, the guest speaker for the Floyd County Historical Society meeting will be riverlorian Travis Vasconcelos, who will regale the audience with the story of the race of the LEE and NATCHEZ. The program, held at the exhibition site, is at 7 PM and the public is invited. A wine and cheese reception will follow the presentation. Please join us!

Judy Patsch 07-01-2011 09:38 AM

Newspaper article and photo
Here's an article from the New Albany paper about the exhibit, which includes a photo of Keith and a few quotes... this exhibit will be open when River Ramblings occurs, so we'll have an added attraction for the RR weekend this year (July 16).
[url=]Steamboat exhibit opens Friday in New Albany Floyd County News and Tribune[/url]

Keith Norrington 07-02-2011 08:39 AM

Steamboat Soiree Successful!
The grand opening reception for [I]By the River's Edge [/I]was well attended last evening and we were most appreciative of all the complimentary remarks about the exhibition. Seeing the crowd enjoying the displays made the back breaking work of the past week very worthwhile!

The "steamboat cabin" area drew much attention, with the silver water pitcher, chair, bell cord pull and portion of decorative wooden cabin arch from the ROBT. E. LEE (built here at New Albany in 1866 and famed for its 1870 race with the NATCHEZ from New Orleans and St. Louis) along with cutlery from the FRANK PARGOUD and a tureen from the ECLIPSE, also built at New Albany in 1852. Centerpiece of the exhibit is a marble top table from the Str. BALTIC, constructed here in 1857.

The exhibition gallery will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 until 4 PM (open until 9 PM on Saturday, July 9th) and on Sundays from 1 until 4. Admission is free. The display will close on July 31st.

Jo Ann Schoen 07-02-2011 07:56 PM

For whatever reason I can't see the stream of comments. But I do want to let every one know it's a fine exhibit. I visited today and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. Congrats for a job well done.

Keith Norrington 07-02-2011 08:30 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Thank you, Jo Ann, for your kind comments! I hope all steamboat buffs and buffettes who live in the area, or who are visitors, will take the opportunity to view the exhibition, which includes artifacts that are rarely displayed to the public. These relics will be returned to their owners after July 31st.

Attached herewith are several images from the past week:
(1) Floyd County historian and exhibition chair David Barksdale hangs a large photo of the New Albany-Portland ferry boat MUSIC.
(2) Co-Curators Dave and Keith display some of the steamboat treasures in the exhibit; a silver water pitcher and an elaborately braided bell cord pull from the Str. ROBT. E. LEE, built at New Albany in 1866. Painting (done on a door) in background of the Str. UNION, done by New Albany artist George Morrison in the 1860's -- and purchased at a yard sale by a local collector in 1937!
(3) The "steamboat cabin" display area of the exhibition. Suspended portion of cabin arch from ROBT. E. LEE, steamboat cabin tables, bell cord pull from the LEE.

Keith Norrington 07-13-2011 08:51 PM

Small World!
Yesterday afternoon, the co-curators of the "By the River's Edge" exhibit were interviewed on camera for an upcoming promotional video. The videographer, when viewing a small upholstered chair from the box seating on the SHOWBOAT GOLDENROD told me that he was a native of St. Louis and had attended many shows and ragtime festivals aboard the showboat in the 1960's and early 70's. He also knew about Ruth Ferris' Midship Museum aboard the Str. BECKY THATCHER. He asked about the other old boats at St. Louis and was, however, somewhat taken aback when I told him that the HUCK FINN is now here at Louisville as the SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON, the minesweeper INAUGURAL sank during the 1993 flood, the LT. ROBERT E. LEE was destroyed by fire last year and that the Str. ADMIRAL is currently being scrapped. That last one really floored him, as he said his family often rode the huge sidewheel steamer on both daytime and moonlight excursions.

Time rolls on, like the river, and brings many changes!

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