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River Reminiscences and Ramblings

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    River Reminiscences and Ramblings

    Excavations in photo files have dredged up some images from FORTY years ago this month! These faded photos were taken at St. Louis on Sunday, August 9, 1970. The BECKY THATCHER, formerly the Str. MISSISSIPPI, and the restaurant boat LT. ROBERT E. LEE (newly built on the hull of the snagboat CHARLES H. WEST) were doing brisk business as restaurants and tourist attactions on the waterfront. As previously posted, the BECKY sank at Pittsburgh this past February and was scrapped. Shortly thereafter, the LEE, under renovation at a St. Louis dock and destined for a new life at St. Charles, Missouri, was destroyed by fire.

    The best part of this summer day, now four decades past, was getting to visit with my beloved mentor and patron saint of steamboating, Miss Ruth Ferris. The picture was taken by my dad in Ruth's sparkling MIDSHIP MUSEUM, aboard the BECKY, on the main deck just forward of the engine room. Behind us are two mirrored stateroom doors and transoms from the GORDON C. GREENE and cabin arches from the ERASTUS WELLS, as well as an exhibit of relics from the Civil War gunboat USS CAIRO, an acorn from an Eagle Packet Company steamboat and an upholstered chair from the box seating on the GOLDENROD SHOWBOAT. In the shadow box to my left is a diecut card of a sidewheeler names MISSISSIPPI from an old scrapbook. I was but 16 years old and am wearing a big, orange SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN - KEEP STEAMBOATING ALIVE button, as the 1970 campaign to save the DQ was underway at the time and I was circulating petitions at the Howard Museum, school, church and elsewhere. I still have the handwritten thank you note I received from Betty Blake for my efforts.

    Ruth and the boats are gone, but their legacy and memories live on and I continually strive to keep my faithful promise to Ruth to always do whatever I can to preserve and promote our river heritage. One of those things is my RIVER RAMBLINGS program series at the Howard Steamboat Museum, the next one of which is but three weeks away, on Saturday, August 21st at 3:00 PM, featuring Capt. Carl Henry. Also, don't forget the "Riverboat Rummage Sale", offering a large selection of trinkets, t-shirts, books, magazines and other steamboat stuff. All proceeds benefit the museum operating fund. Visit the museum website by clicking on Howard Steamboat Museum - Home Page for more information.

    Hope to see y'all soon!

    "Curator Keith"
    Attached Files

    River Ramblings Rummage Sale

    I haven't gotten too far in gathering items for the sale, but as I told Bubba Dow a while back, I could outfit all of Pine Point NY in NATCHEZ gear! There are shirts from many boats which will be heading to Jeffersonville, and among the books I've found I have duplicates are Harland Hubbard's Shantyboat and Fred Way's Log of the Betsy Ann. No telling what else will emerge between now and the 21st, so inventory your steamboat memorabilia and books and see what missing pieces you might look for on the 21st... and of course refreshments after the program will include chocolate chip cookies...


      I have looked for the thread regarding the shindig at the Howard museum on the 21st but have been unable to find it. I am planning on attending, can you give me a brief rundown of events? I recall something about a cruise on the 22nd, is it on the Belle and how do you make reservations. I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of the people I feel like I sort of know already from reading here.

      Looking forward to 21st.



        River Ramblings weekend

        The only thing that is actually scheduled is the talk, which will be at 3PM Saturday in the carriage house at the Howard. However, here is what usually happens besides that:
        Friday night - overnighters dine at one of the many restaurants along the riverfront in Jeffersonville.
        Saturday - Tour the Howard Museum in the morning.
        12-2 ride the BELLE
        3 River Ramblings presentation by Capt. Carl Henry
        post talk at the Howard: river rummage sale, refreshments
        dinner at Kingfish Restaurant on the Jeffersonville levee, just a mile from the Howard. We usually get put in a back room - because of the size, not the behavior, of the group!
        after dinner gathering in my suite at the Towne Place Suites, 2 blocks from Kingfish
        Sunday Some of us ride the BELLE from 2-4 and then adjourn for another round at the Kingfish Restaurant, and possibly more socializing back at my suite

        No reservations are needed for anything, however in order to make sure I bake enough cookies, I'd like to know if you are planning to attend.
        We usually have some old pix or memorabilia to share at the gathering at my place, but it isn't required that you bring any.
        It has become quite a river-filled weekend, thanks to Keith's inspiration and work.
        Capt. John, check your Private Messages for more info...


          The information for RIVER RAMBLINGS is contained on our website at Howard Steamboat Museum - Home Page. Please remember that the 1880's carriage house is NOT air conditioned so please dress comfortably. Capt. Carl's presentation will last approximately two hours, with an intermission for lemonade, ice water and cookies.

          We just had a church school tour at the museum this morning, with some 60 youngsters in attendance. Very well behaved group, ranging in age from kindergarten through 6th grade. As always, they loved peering into the big model of the Str. INDIANA with flashlights to see the boilers, engines, etc. When I showed my group the 1937 flood mark of 7' 1" in the downstairs hallway, one little girl remarked that "we'd be treading water, but the fishin' would be easy!"

          Despite what the weatherman gives us, we ALWAYS have fun at our RIVER RAMBLINGS weekend each summer which is a great time for fellowship and sharing of river talk and history -- fulfilling the dreams of Capt. Jim and Loretta Howard for this "little museum that can and does", some 52 years after its opening.

          Y'all come!

          "Curator Keith"