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The Louisville Wharf - 40 Years Ago

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    The Louisville Wharf - 40 Years Ago

    My forays into filing cabinets have turned up some interesting finds -- and I thought some of you might be interested in seeing what the Louisville waterfront looked like back in 1968 when we still had a sloping cobblestone levee. These two views, of four decades ago, also show how the riverfront skyline has changed.

    In the image of the DELTA QUEEN and BELLE, the wharfboat was the former steam sternwheel towboat RENOWN, first named SARAH EDENBORN. She served as the Belle's wharfboat for many years until the old Coast Guard Lifesaving Station was converted to that use. The decrepit RENOWN was taken down below New Albany, where she was used by McBride's for a time. She was shoved out on the bank during high water in 1995, burned and scrapped.
    Attached Files


    That old cobblestone grade looks great! It is a shame we have lost such things in the face of modernizing things...cause that kind of landing works perfect for a riverboat...and these modern things are always problematic when the water comes up or goes down a little more than they were designed for.

    The few grades that are left are in pretty bad shape. St. Louis has fised the areas infront of the boats and paves a section for the Majestic boats...other than that, itis in horrible shape. Mariesst has left a area alone and it is not in too bad shape. Part of the Cape Girardeau grade is there...but in pretty bad shape (except for the portion they have decoratively put into cement (with the cobblestones flat rather than raised against the grade).

    Amazing something as simple as a landing at a city front has suffered at the hands of the modern architect...when what we needed was there all the time!

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could get Waterfront Park to add an authentic steamboat landing somewhere along their jursidiction and move the BELLE to it?

    Every since the modern esplanade landing, I have worried about the BELLE gettin hit in that spot.




      Indeed, I'd love to have the old cobblestone wharf back! Not only was it historic, but during periods of high water, the BELLE and wharfboat could easily be pulled in as the water rose higher. I seem to recall that the new "pier" extends some 23 feet further and holds the boats out there in a very UNsafe place. The recent run of accidents in the Louisville harbor points out that a new and safer landing for the BELLE needs to be addressed and soon. Tis by the grace of Almighty God that Louisville's grande old lady of the river has not been hit, crushed and/or sunk at her current landing by an out of control tow.

      WHY a new and SAFE landing was not created for the boat when the waterfront was "remodeled" is beyond comprehension!



        I have thought the same thing myself...what is it gonna take to get them to address the safety issue with the BELLE and her landing?

        You'd think last year when the BROADDUS got it, they'd have started the ball rolling.

        The area right infront of the new Tumbleweed diner would be the perfect place to put the BELLE. Good parking, food, safely tucked inbehind Towhead Island. Good utiltiies are located there, too...and all with in sight distance and calliope distance of the main drag downtown.

        Can you imagine the attention she'd get there infront of the childrens playground? Especially since one of the main attractions within is a replica of the BELLE which children can crawl all over!

        But then...what do I know?



          You'll have to ask "Hishonor" the mayor for life and David Karem, chairman of Waterfront Development, they are the ones who want to keep the BELLE at the public wharf during the winter. They want it so the public can see it.
          Its been a major concern of mine for a number of years that the BELLE is extrmely exposed where she sits during high water, high current times. To me it's not a matter of "if", but "when" a towboat will get out of shape trying to get into the canal and smack the BELLE.
          I along with many other people, have suggested the best winter lay-up spot would be the old Shell Oil Dock behind Towhead Island where the Louisville Rowing Club is located. There are 4 nice high pilings and little current there and people in the riverfront park could still see the boat.
          If the BELLE stays at 4th Street, they might as well paint an bulls eye on her side. It WILL happen one of these days.


            This sounds like a beginning of a campaign to SAVE THE BELLE OF LOUISVILLE. How do we write or email these two "public servants"?



              It is something that should have been done MANY years ago when they got control of her from the Operating Board who winterized her in the Portland Canal at an old Corps dock.

              The Mayors address is

              The Honorable Mayor Jerry Abramson
              Mayor's Office
              Metro Hall / 4th Floor
              527 W. Jefferson St.
              Louisville, KY 40202
              (502) 574-2003

              The Senator...

              David Karem, Director
              Waterfront Development Corporation
              129 East River Road
              Louisville, KY. 40202

              It would be a very good idea for many of you who are in the industry (and thus in the know) to write them and explain what could happen with the boat there in the place she is in. They need to know WHY she shouldn't be there. Please don't write them saying the many reasons we all have for her not being there (like no parking near the boat, extremely bad access to the boat, etc.). They need to hear the safety concern for the vessel!

              And don't expect it to be easy...because they have heard this before and have no concept of why it is so dangerous for her to be there. When they built the new landing it came several feet (I believe 50feet) into the channel...but, there was enough money behind it to make it happen. They need to be convinced (and last years mishap with the wharfboat MAYOR ANDREW BROADDUS should have done it for them...but didn't) of the reason the boat needs to be moved.

              And the idea of the old Shell Oil Dock...precicely what I had in mind....right next to the childrens play area which has a replica of the BELLE for children to play is like the idea was pre written for them! Great acces, parking (free) and a place to eat right there...what more could she ask for to survive?

              Go get em!