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    Cruising season(s)

    R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline

    Join Date: May 2006
    Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
    Posts: 1,426
    Default
    *ISLAND QUEEN cruising season*
    Steamboating colleagues:
    Judy, good question RE: the last ISLAND QUEEN's seasonal crusing dates and I don't know the exact dates. CONEY ISLAND CO. laid the boat up in the winter just east of their wharfboat foot of Broadway, Cincinnati behind the ice piers where present day Sawyer Point Park is now. Other times at the wharfboat or, if a flood, up along Eastern Ave. I've old B/W photos showing the IQ on her first spring trips to CONEY when they were still painting the boat with the lettering on her wheelhouses only half painted.

    Like the AVALON here then, the IQ was brought to life on/around early April for cleaning, repairs, painting etc. They did some tramping but the real season opened for the boat and CONEY ISLAND on Memorial Day. Fred Way wrote about the "excursion boat business going dormant when the September school bells rang." The IQ did tramp in September but I've no idea how late in the month or even to October. Capt. Bill Judd may recall. Times different then laying up a boat of that size for five to nearly six months. This today would be financial disaster. The GREENE LINE laid the DELTA QUEEN up here after Thanksgiving to when she came out for Mardi Gras, which dates could vary. This to clean, repair the boat, rest the crew--those not still on the tic to work on her. The GL learned not to run a passenger steamboat on the rivers in the winter even out of New Orleans. Well,what do I know?

    R. Dale Flick
    Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

    #2
    I decided to "transfer" this discussion (as best I could) to a new thread since we had gotten pretty far afield from the original "hunt for a bell" thread which deserves its own thread.

    Yes Dale, you mention school bells being the death knell for the tramping excursion boat business. Yet, excursion boats have and still do a pretty good business with school field trips. While many students view it as a "day off", some do get something out of those trips, education-wise, and they are good for excursion boats from both a fare standpoint as well as snack and souvenir sales. Did the AVALON ever run any school trips? They might have been even more successful on the ISLAND QUEEN, based in a major city with plenty of schools/students to draw from. Dale, do you recall if the IQ ever did this? Was the running commentary on sights being passed that is now popular on excursion boats used back then?

    Comment


      #3
      I did some research on the IQ trips for S&D Dave (I won't attempt to spell his last name) when he ask me if the IQ ever made special trips to the Ky Derby. I could find no evidence that it did, but it was in Louisville on Derby day at least once. It stopped here northbound returning on its annual spring tramp trip headed for Cincy so it could be there for the Memorial day opening of Coney Island.
      Seems like the boat would start in April head south then works its way north to Cincy. They would advertise trips to Louisville with people returning via rail (who can remember Bruce Edington when he would show up on the boat at some strange place and when asked how he got there he would shout (Bruce was deaf as a post) I CAME BY RAIL.) The boat would stop in Louisville for a week or so of trips......high school proms, Shriners, churches, etc.
      After Labor Day when Coney shut down the boat would go tramping until about early November.
      Here's a question I have...how fast was the Island Queen? When she took passengers from Cincy to Louisville how long did it take.....couldn't have been much over 12 hrs., I wouldn't think, which meant she did better than 10 mph.

      Comment


        #4
        *IQ 'cruising season'/Logistics*
        Steamboating colleagues:
        WOW! Bob, you and Jim have made some great points on the IQ cruising season and I for sure don't know all the answers. Jim has done some great research on his end. Sure, I remember riding the IQ, seeing her tooling up and down the river back then but no knowledge of the extent of her operating season. Capt. Bill Judd may know with more memories, information. The late Virginia Bennett could nail it for us in the blink of an eye. "ISLAND QUEEN steaming speed" another question. She was one big boat with huge engines for sure. I wonder if Frank Prudent would know as his dad was on her back then? I know/remember underway, she did glide like a swan but, steel superstructure/hull, she did 'shimmy' with that certain steamboat undulation you could feel with each of her big sidewheels rolling. No, she was not a motionless boat underway. You could even feel her 'working' touching the deck railings.

        Bob right on about early and late seasonal cruising and tramping. Remember, Capt. Fred Way wrote/spoke about "excursion boats in general" and the ringing of school bells. Times different then with the summer season, kids in school, family economics of the day. This why Betty Blake, as 'headman' or 'drummer' for the AVALON worked her fingers to the bone driving all over to promote/sell the cruises. She called it "grueling" but I know Betty also received a 'commission' in the end on AVALON corporate sales. She and Ernie Myers had 'words' over her commission. Jim nailed for us the IQ still working up to November. With CONEY's famed 'Moonlite Gardens' for dancing, many high school senior groups had their final year proms and dances on the boat well before even Memorial Day. Today many high schools stage senior proms early as April. Not sure about companies/corporations chartering the boat then but churches, fraternal organizations did. Any wedding parties on her another big [?] but I doubt it as 'destination weddings' only a recent phenomenon. And people did 'dress' on the IQ even for day excursions along with dress for dancing at night. Some stayed on the boat not going ashore at CONEY to dance on the return trip. The last boat at night out of CONEY had people also dancing at 'Moonlite' and running for the last boat down as they blew a number of warning whistles.

        And what a sight the IQ was at night steaming up and down here with thousands of lights glinting on the dark water, sound of her big band from those speakers on the top deck. Veteran Homer Denny on her calliope. But, as written here, CONEY's Ed Schott threw in the towel after she exploded. Already after World War II into 1945, '46,'47 after gas ratoning went out, the figues on her ridership showed a decline due to suburbs, family autos etc. More people drove to CONEY or took the boat just one-way with more busses in operation, expanded big parking lots at CONEY. The handwriting was on the wall in part. IF the IQ could have survied more years a good question similar to the ADMIRAL or PRESIDENT [?]. C'mon, Bill Judd, you tell us even more. Heck, what do I know?

        R. Dale Flick
        Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

        Comment


          #5
          Weddings on boats....I once met a lady who's parents chartered the CINCINNATI and took the whole wedding party and guests on a trip to Louisville and back. Someone on here might know who I'm talking about because she was frequent passenger on Her Majesty back in the day.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks Bob for transferring this good topic to its own thread! And thanks Bill for that great info on the IQ. I am trying to find my source for my comment that the IQ went against the Streckfus boats down south, but only for a brief period. Unlike Keith, who is so organized and can come up with something pronto, I have to look and look, and generally don't find it until after I've given up!

            Comment


              #7
              *Steamboat wedding trip/Lady in question*
              Steamboating colleagues:
              Jim, now you've really got my curiosity up with me tingling all over RE: the family who "chartered the CINCINNATI." Let me see...ummm...errr...I have a couple of families I know in mind here but won't mention any names here. That was big money chartering the CINCINNATI back in those days converting it to present day dollar values. Yet, Cincinnati always has been a very big bucks town with fortunes in brewing, railroad, river, coal, oil, cothing/fabrics, printing, shipping, chemicals, soap, banking etc. I do remember that older lady who traveled on the DQ who was one of the Lamberts and an heiress of 'Lambert Parmaceuticals' manufacturers of LISTERINE. What a character she was! Cheers!

              R. Dale Flick
              Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

              Comment


                #8
                Well Dale you asked for it, your as bad as S &D's David T.

                As to speed, the boats designer,Tom Dunbar, in his spec's stated the Cincinnati and Louisville must acheive the speed of 15 mph upstream and 20 mph downstream. The Cincinnati made those marks. The Island Queen with its huge superstructure and greatly added weight I would doubt. However Capt. Ben Pattison was qouted as to the Coney Island run as running easy and still making an honest 10 mph. Don't forget the IQ had really big engines, only exceeded by those on the Sprague.

                Now Coney was only open Memorial Day through Labor Day, the IQ made 5 trips each day except Monday. Coney closed on Mondays and the IQ ran afternoon and evening charter trips.

                Right after Labor Day the boat headed south, going as far as New Orleans till 1937, after '37 she only went as far as Memphis and always returned to Cincinnati to lay up.

                Another thing seldom mentioned was the boat had full living quarters for her crew of 70.

                I rode the boat many times as a youngster, after all I was only 12 when she went up in ball of flames. My Dad was a friend with Pattison, Doss and Denny and I met the all.

                Comment


                  #9
                  *Bill Judd's 'Rest of the story'/Last IQ*
                  Steamboating colleagues:
                  Thank you Capt. Bill Judd for stepping up to the microphone here and 'the rest of the strory' I knew you could provide RE: the last ISLAND QUEEN. Watch out here as you're giving away your age. At 12 then you were older than me but apparently we both had pretty good powers of observation and memory. My dad always took me pointing things out, explaining with "don't forget this in years to come." "Five trips each day" figures out to an hour or more one-way up to CONEY to unload, reload passengers. How long she laid at CONEY I can't remember but the morning trips would have many getting off for her to head back down for another load. So, about 10 plus hours running with layup had her working on/around 16 hours a day in season basically as a human ferry boat. Right about CONEY and big SUNLITE POOL closed on Monday, boat running "afternoon and evening charter trips." In later years the economics of closing CONEY were ditched to open 7 days a week in season. Bill, remember the IQ wharfboat foot of Broadway here? Not as big as the GREENE LINE wharfboat. There was a big clock on the wharboat door and stage so people could run down Broadway from street cars or some cars to get aboard. Underway, the IQ's huge engines were awesome seeing, hearing the steam with the pitmans sliding in and out on an angle if I recall. Observers could watch standing behind iron tube railings back in there.

                  I never met Capt. Ben Pattison, Doss; but did know Homer Denny as his relatives lived next door to us. Some Sundays Homer rode the Cincinnati trolley bus out for dinner and big music fests with the family. Homer on piano, family members on violin, wind instruments, drums. They were all a very musical family with creative minds. One older nephew way back invented his own electrical lawn mower made from a vacuum cleaner, steel garbage can lid mounted on roller skates with a long electrical cord. Dexter, my age, went on to attend University of Cincinnati/College Conservatory of Music as a very talented violinist. I never recalled Mrs. Denny personally but know they lived over in Norwood. Ben Pattison's daughter lived just across Burney Lane from me here with Mr. Hoebel her husband and a stock broker. Many a story she told me along with some river souvenirs, photos, relics she gave me. Ben Pattison also was in the Coast Guard and, I think,' with the then 'Steamboat Inspection Service.' She and her husband knew Capt. Fred Way, Capt. Jesse Hughes well along with many of the older generation of the Greene family. Dad knew one of the Halls working on the IQ then and I know you remember them. Bill, for what it's worth, we were lucky to have been there then and where we are now.

                  As mentioned, the question of the ISLAND QUEEN surviving, running if she hadn't gone up KERBANG! in a "ball of flames" as you mention a good question. I mentioned the hard, cold financial facts on her docket records of quickly declining ridership after 1945--and even a gradual decline not good financially for a boat and operation her size. Lots of "maybe, could, ifs, possibly, shoulda' been" and we don't know. When CONEY did close when KINGS ISLAND was built meant the park scalled back from its former glory. CONEY is running again on a smaller scale but doing well. That alone with autos and busses probably would have done her in. As a big excursion boat here again more big IFS [????]. The AVALON came in and, perhaps, she was just the right size, economics for the excursion trade along with JOHNSON PARTY BOATS. There was for a time talk of a "new boat for CONEY" and that's another story as I saw, heard about it in a meeting.

                  Bill, the old boat landing at CONEY survives with the stone entry gate and all, but what condition is the old revetment dike and landing place behind? Hasn't that silted it and has the revement been dug out or blasted out? Sorry to write so much here. Heck, what do I know?

                  R. Dale Flick
                  Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati

                  Comment


                    #10
                    re: The old river ain't what it used to be .....

                    Morning Bil and Dale and all,

                    "... the old boat landing at CONEY survives with the stone entry gate and all, but what condition is the old revetment dike and landing place behind? Hasn't that silted it and has the revetment been dug out or blasted out? .."

                    If my info is correct the "pool stage" of the river at Coney rose about eight feet with the advent of the big dams in the 1960's.

                    Bill, would have or should have or could have department note. CBS Sunday morning just ran a piece on B 29 "Doc" a junk target plane from China Lake CA that was saved and restored and flew again November 5 last. Videos available on line.

                    Everyone, keep the faith about the DQ.

                    Keep your steam up!

                    Russ Ryle

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Dale: The Coney Island dike was removed as part of the demolition of old Lock #36. The big concrete walkway is still there. We used it in 1988 for the Str. President at Tall Stacks.
                      Occasionally BB or Queen City Riverboats make use of it. Some times the IQ used a barge on her upper side so as to load and unload passengers off by small ramps in addition to the stage in order to speed up the process. According to her schedule she laid at Coney for just a half hour.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        *CONEY's IQ landing/River entry gate/Demolished dike*
                        Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
                        Thanks, Bill, for words on the CONEY dike, concrete ramp with your details and memory. I remember demolition of old Lock #36 but didn't remember blasting out the dike at CONEY. The stone river entry gate at CONEY has been restored, maintained. "Laid at CONEY...half an hour" sounds right. Early trips up in the day usually had the IQ deadheading back to foot of Broadway for another load. Later day trips had people both ways going up, coming back. The last night boat down usually jammed with the park closing.

                        I remember several trips up and back. Returning once, dad boosted me up to look over the window sills way down to the front bow seeing those guys swinging that big steel stage around, securing it. The boat had rounded out, headed down when a big summer thunderstorm with rain broke. You could feel the IQs big engines coming ahead with that unmistakable surge with her engine strokes. I've not been able to nail down with people remembering the boat back then about the clown face painted on the IQ's one engine crank and I know I saw it. That weird clown face would rotate as the shaft and crank rolled over. I thought it a bit sinister and forbidding. Dad had me with him talking to one of the guys in the engine department he knew. I 'thought' it was one of the Hall boys but after all these years how would I know?

                        When the IQ went KERBANG! that September day, 1947 in Pittsburgh, it hit Cincinnati like a bomb on the radio and in the papers. Neighbors ran knocking on doors, phoning with the news. The paper boy in our neighborhood had the latest news on the street with, "EXTRA! EXTRA! ISLAND QUEEN blows up in Pittsburgh, many killed! READ ALL ABOUT IT!" That's the way it was back then. That day in September was beautiful and sunny here with blue sky. This I know I remember.

                        R. Dale Flick
                        Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks for such vivid memories, everybody. Dale, I can remember paperboys in New Orleans shouting, hawking newspapers with sensational news on the streets of downtown New Orleans in the mid-1970's. New Orleans was the largest metropolitan city I had ever visited up to that point and always seemed to me then (and even now) like a small-scale New York City with a really bustling downtown and many nationalities present. I can imagine the "big news" in Cinci when the IQ blew up with many rushing around, telling friends of the news. Certainly a different era as far as news and communication go. We're fast approaching the time when no one will remember a time without cell phones, instant news, etc.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            *News hawkers/City neighborhoods then*
                            Morning again Steamboating colleagues:
                            Bob, you got that right in your above posting RE: memories of NOLA, life then, newspapers. I also sort of hounded Capt. Bill Judd to chime in here as he knew/remembered more of the ISLAND QUEEN at age 12. We lived in Cincinnati's East End known also as Coal Haven as earlier some of my relatives worked at Coal Haven or aboard the MARMET steamboat tows with coal. It was a respectable neighborhood then before it ran downhill and got trashy. A number of local residents there and down over the hill here in California, Ohio worked for CONEY ISLAND in season and on the IQ. The day of and after, people stood on sidewalks talking about the IQ explosion. The Dignan family had two ladies who worked aboard and I remember standing with mom hearing them talk of where they were when the boat exploded--many up in Pittsburgh shopping, stretching their legs, visiting local dentists or movie theaters. People later stood around them in a circle in stores, on the sidewalk with them telling their stories of the day the boat exploded, being pumped with questions.

                            My grandfather was in both the wholesale and retail food/grocery business [John Beatty and his dad, other boat companies bought from him]. People stood buzzing in his store talking about the IQ and those they knew aboard. I don't recall now [I'll ask my now near 100 year old mother] if any of the residents we knew were killed aboard--but doubt it. Many of the IQ's big orchestra members were killed out-right with the first big BOOM! And not to mention the poor guy with the welding torch and others down in that area on the deck. No doubt Bill Judd has other related memories. Capt. Ernie Wagner was aboard suffering burns, along with guys later working on the AVALON and DELTA QUEEN. Doc Hawley has a number of fascinating IQ stories he heard from them. Calliopist Homer Denny was ashore from the boat touring Pittsburgh. He happened to be taking pictures across the river up on the hill the instant the boat exploded getting a series of it. Buildings close on the shore had windows blown out and even a telephone booth. What do I know?

                            R. Dale Flick
                            Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

                            Comment

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