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Wake of the AMERICA trip Sunday 7/2/06

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  • Shipyard Sam
    replied
    The Old Swimming Hole

    Anyone who swam in the river in the '50's has many tales to tell of meeting certain floating objects sharing the same water space. Our swimming hole on the Licking River was below one of the largest sewer outlets that served the Latonia suburb. Right after a rain we had to be especially wary of "floaters", as we called them. After a while, we boys developed a unusual style of swimming whereby we pushed a wave of water away from us with each stroke. This proved very effective in warding off unwanted objects fresh from the huge concrete pipe above camp.

    Drs. Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, developers of the first polio vaccines, made it possible for kids, like us, to swim in the river without the fear of contracting that terrible water-borne disease. And that's the gospel truth. Before them, the Monday newspapers carried the names, in very small print as there were so many, of those unfortunates who had contracted polio over the weekend. The polio vaccines opened the door to one of the greatest enjoyments a kid could have. Swimming in the river!

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  • Jim Reising
    replied
    I thought perhaps a trifty hen was a Hebrew Pullet.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    Yes, Judy, that is true. Doc Hawley knows more about that than I. It had something to do with enclosed spaces and registered tonnage. . .let's not start THAT again. The Idlewild was allowed 1,600 when she was new. The Belle of Louisville's ultimate passenger allowance today is unknown to me. The operating board restricts the number of passengers by limiting the number of life jackets aboard to 800. It was 1,353 when I was mate and I know we carried more than 1,600 on a trip on Green River. I was told to stop counting at 1,353 and did so. A double line of patrons containing at least 300souls came on after that. It was the trip from Hell. We ran out of ice and the ambient temperature was above 100 degrees, Fahrenheit. The concession stand served hot drinks (Coca-cola, etc.) and soon ran out of that. The people loved it! We left Rockport with a bare boat, literally!

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  • Judy Patsch
    replied
    Alan, when they removed the extended Texas on the Belle, which gave more passenger room, didn't the CG actually reduce the capacity by a couple of hundred? As to the Natchez' capacity/loads: she's licensed for 1650. The most I've seen on her is 1300. I'd suspect the '82 Tell City trip might have been her highest, somewhere around 1400. As big as she is, there is only inside seating for 258, including the Texas and Magnolia. Add all the outdoor seating and she's probably got a total of 700-800 seats. A crowd of 1100 gets cozy on a regular public trip. 1100 on a charter with free food in the dining room gets REAL cozy. At 1300, its shoulder to shoulder everywhere. They rarely cap the limit, mainly in bad weather for charters or dinner trips to be able to get everyone inside, at least for a while. That cap is usually around 500. Hopefully they'll be having those problems again soon!

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    Jim, you neglected to mention the Cincinnati codfish that floated past Louisville.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    Jim, passenger capacity varied according to the whims of the inspectors. When the America came out in 1918 she was a "half-boat" with staterooms half the length of the cabin and a dance floor the rest of the way. This compromise did not last and the staterooms were later removed. She started out with 3,600 and was later increased to 4,000. Still later she was reduced to 3,600.
    As a sidelight, when I was in the Belle of Louisville's crew she was allowed 1,353 passengers and crew. On one occasion we carried more than 1,600 - this with the entire USCG contingent aboard! Today the boat is still allowed about 1,200 but the management chooses to restrict her to 800. At about 600 passewngers problems arise about tables. At about 900 seating becomes a problem. Above 1,000 everything goes wrong.
    As a result of that experience, I would say the America occasionally carried more than 4,000. No manager wants to turn away customers.

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  • Jim Herron
    replied
    In the 1950's, we used to wade and swim on the sand bar on the north end of 12 mile island. Also, my father once swam from 12 mile to 4th Street in Louisville, a feat I could never accomplish. The sea scouts used to swim at various locations on the river, diving off of the Zachary Taylor. I did that myself on one trip down river one weekend after we went through the locks and anchored for the night.

    And, as part of a Red Cross canoe course I took around 1956-57, we had to sink the canoe, right it, and get back in, all of which was done at the Louisville Boat Club. Just as my partner and I got out of our canoe, someone in one of the boats docked there flushed their head with the "remains" bobbing up right next to us. I think we set a record for getting back in that canoe. We also had to paddle across to 6 mile island and back. On that trip we were busy paddling and looked up to see a tow bearing down on us. We obviously got back ok but I never went canoeing in the river again.

    -Jim Herron

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  • Jim Herron
    replied
    Reading the description on the video page that was linked above, the author of the history wrote that the AMERICA was a "4,000 passenger" steamboat.
    Sounds like a fabrication to me. Does anyone know the real capacity of it?

    -Jim Herron

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    Rose Island was a small corner of the Charlestown ammunition and bag plant.

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  • Tom Schiffer
    replied
    Rose Island is of interest to me beyond the fact that it was an amusement park. One of the heros of my book, PETERS & KING was Milton Fletcher Lindsley. Milt was the Superintendent of the King Powder Company of Kings Mills Ohio...where Kings Island amusement park is located now. When King went out of the explosives business in 1958, Milt went to the Charles Town Ordnance Plant as plant manager, working for Olin. Said ordnance plant had to be very nearby Rose Island if not contiguous to it or part of it. When Milt retired to Florida, his employees are said to have supposed that he would go out in his yard and fuss at the orange trees to urge higher production! In 1998, I interviewed Noryl Hamilton who was Milt's boss at Olin (Milt had passed away). Noryl had the Chief Chemist at Kings in the 1930s and was recurited by the US Ordnance Dept to run all the TNT plants in the US (about 100 of them). I don't know if Charlestown was one of them, but the Pink Liquor by product of TNT production remains a pollution problem today where it had been run into lagoons at the time to languish.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    A thrifty hen is a Scottish Leghorn.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    Jim, the river was relatively clean in the 1920's. The general accptance and installation of flush commodes during the 1930's and 1940's did it in. I can recall "islands" of algae floating along in the 1940-50 era.

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  • Pat Traynor
    replied
    Thanks for the head's up, Jim - You got yourself a deal for a fish sandwich, and maybe even a couple of beers Friday night! They do have it at the Howard Museum, so if anyone really has to have it, buy it there to support the Museum.
    You're right----you only watch those videos once. The ones I really do watch a lot and treasure greatly, are the ones that my river friends have put together and shared with me----like Travis, Judy, John Mullins.

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  • Jim Reising
    replied
    Pat..save your money....the video isn't worth it. I have a copy which I will play while we are on our cruise and, believe me, one time is all you'll want to see.
    I'll be passing out xerox copies of a 32 page 1920's ROSE ISLAND brochure as our give away gift for this year. It has a lot more info and pictures than the vido does.
    Save your $20 and with your savings buy me a fish sandwich at Kingfish Friday evening. Hey, I like that idea!

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  • Keith Norrington
    replied
    Pat: Yes, the Howard Steamboat Museum gift shop has the Rose Island program in both VHS and DVD format.

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