Belle of Louisville Whistle
Listen to the whistle of the Belle of Louisville: MP 3
The origin of the Belle of Louisville’s whistle is unclear, while what’s clear is that it is a three-bells cast-iron whistle, that is the original whistle when the boat first came out as Idlewild, according to Fred Way jr.
But there is a story where the three bells of the whistles are said to be coming from. Capt. Ernest Wagner as well as Virginia Eifert have written that today’s Belle of Louisville whistle is a combination of whistles from three different boats: One is said to come from the excursion steamer Princess, one from the America and the third one from a Pittsburgh area boat around the turn of the century where nobody seams to remember the name of.
While this is a nice story, it seams unlikely that this story is true. As Alan Bates comments: “I think Captain Ernie was pulling some reporter's leg. Those three whistles are made exactly alike in every detail. The excursion Str. America burned on September 8, 1930. Cooley's America sank August 13, 1926, at New Orleans. The Princess burned in January, 1928. The Coney Island's Princess was crushed in January, 1918. Fred Way stated the Idlewild had this whistle when new in 1915. The whistle was probably new and more than likely made in one place at one time.”
Virginia Bennett most likely took her information from the article Capt. Wagner wrote.
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