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Str. George M. Verity Dedication Anniversary

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    Str. George M. Verity Dedication Anniversary

    Today marks the 47th anniversary of the "christening" of the steam towboat GEO. M. VERITY as a museum at Keokuk, Iowa. The boat sits high and dry on a concrete pad, but has been "sunk" a few times over the years during Upper Mississippi River flooding. Any steamboat buffs and buffettes visiting in the Keokuk area should take time to visit the VERITY -- especially in these tumultous times when museums and boats are closing -- as it is well worth touring and gives a good idea as to life on a steam towboat. For historical information, photos and museum hours, click on Str. George M. Verity.

    When the VERITY was dedicated on June 2, 1962, Ruth Ferris, then curator of the River Room at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis, was invited as a special guest and spoke at the ceremony. She was flabbergasted that morning when, while having breakfast in the hotel dining room, someone came in and said, "Ruth, have you heard? The GOLDENROD SHOWBOAT burned last night?" Stay tuned for more about that anniversary too!
    Attached Files

    #2
    The VERITY had a helical sternwheel and here's a view of what was often called her "lawnmower" wheel! Also a couple of images of her "high and dry" at Keokuk. Capt. Fred Way told me that, like the VERITY, the original plan for the W.P SNYDER, JR., when she was retired as a museum at Marietta in 1955, was to be out of the water, but it didn't happen.
    Attached Files

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      #3
      That helical wheel was the idea of Captain Phil Elsey, who had the reputation of being unable to let well enough alone. The primary idea was to reduce vibration. That worked fine. The buckets were expected to push better, but that was a very iffy result. When backing the boat tended to "wander" and pilots seldom knew which side she'd take. Those three monkey rudders were really needed when handling. The idea worked well enough that both this boat and the Weber W. Sebald had helical wheels until they were retired.

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        #4
        More VERITY photos

        Here are some photos I've taken at Midwest Buffs meetings in Keokuk.
        Note the rudder in the first photo.
        Over the years, the VERITY's pilothouse was a place of honor for viewing the QUEENS' passings and lockings... The boat is docked just downstream from the lower guidewall of L&D 19...
        Attached Files

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          #5
          Verity/thorpe

          The GEO. M. VERITY began as the S.S. THORPE, built in 1927 at Dubuque. 130 x 35 x 5. Nordberg condensing engines 15's, 30's/ 6 ft stroke. Foster-Wheeler watertube boilers. Owned by Federal Barge Lines until sold in 1940 to American Rolling Mill Co. and renamed GEO. M. VERITY (from Way's Towboat Directory)
          Note the normally configured paddlewheel in these photos.
          The third pix was taken in 1938 after the THORPE hit the Washington Ave. bridge in Minneapolis (from C.W.'s collection)
          Attached Files

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            #6
            In the early 1970's, our own David Tschiggfrie compiled an illustrated history of the boat entitled The George M. Verity Story. For years the booklet was sold in the boat's gift shop, but I don't know if it still is available. I did check BOOKFINDER.COM and eight copies are listed. I've also seen it show up on Ebay several times. Like it's author, it's a dandy -- and well worth having in your river library!

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              #7
              Wheel looks more like herringbone than helical to me but what do I know? The towboat has a Texas and I assume the crew slept there...what was in the main cabin...any "staterooms" there?

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                #8
                A video tour of the Verity is included in our DVD "American Queen St. Louis to St. Paul". We had time to tour it while waiting for the AQ to come out of the lock and shot the AQ from the Verity as it passed.
                -Jim Herron

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                  #9
                  Cap'n Walnut, I had always heard the term "herringbone" as well.

                  As far as staterooms, there are/were none on the main deck. There is a large deck room aft of the boilers, which are set down in the hold. I can only hope that the docents there have gotten their facts straight, because when we were there 3 or 4 years ago, they were telling some real whoppers about various things. I realize they rely on volunteer help, but unfortunately, when inaccuracies are told many times over, they tend to become regarded as fact.

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                    #10
                    Verity's wheel

                    helical = spiral
                    In the aforementioned book by David Tschiggfrie, he mentions the "double helical (herringbone) wheel". If you take one side of the wheel, you can see the 'spiral', so its a double spiral or helix, or herringbone. So Keith, Alan, and David on the helical and Capns Walnut and Reynolds on the herringbone are all correct.
                    Attached Files

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                      #11
                      VERITY interior

                      Originally posted by Tom Schiffer View Post
                      Wheel looks more like herringbone than helical to me but what do I know? The towboat has a Texas and I assume the crew slept there...what was in the main cabin...any "staterooms" there?
                      The crew quarters were on the boiler deck, and the Texas was added later for more crew quarters and a guest's room.
                      We held our Friday night Midwest Buffs gatherings on the boiler deck in the hallway and galley for many years.

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                        #12
                        As a professional riverman, that would have been a golden opportunity for you to provide some EDUCATION for those docents who just might have appreciated it -- and those erroneous facts wouldn't continue in perpetuity!

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                          #13
                          Tom's inquiry about the Texas is important in that there were at least three different configurations of the Texas. In Judy's photos of the S.S. THORPE there is a very small Texas. In 1941 Armco added two rooms aft, then in 1945 the hull was made wider and Armco decided to add more guest quarters aft, along with a lounge to the Texas. It's interesting to compare photos taken over the 20 years of Armco ownership as to various changes made.

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                            #14
                            Keith, I tried, but must tell you the info. was not well-received. I didn't want to push. The most glaring error was them telling about the deckroom being used as a passenger dining room as though pax were carried for hire.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well, at least you tried! Nowadays it seems that some visitors actually want to hear MIS-information and nonsense! At the Howard Museum, I can't count the times people ask me to tell about ghosts, secret passageways in the house, etc. They get really disappointed when I tell them we have NONE! I know it's the "vogue" for museum houses now to have a resident ghost but the Howard Museum doesn't have one and we don't want one! One lady got rather insistent and finally said, "Well, can't you make something up?" She stomped off in a huff when I told her I deal strictly in HISTORICAL FACTS and refuse to fabricate history for the sake of hype! Several of us have been asked, numerous times, where the Howard's kept their slaves! I wonder where these people went to school!!! Or IF they even went to school! Another visitor asked, "WHERE would there have been a shipyard?" Well, still across the street in the SAME place it's been since 1834!

                              One of the WORST things I ever heard a tour guide say was aboard the SPRAGUE during my first visit to her in 1969, in company of my parents and maternal grandparents. The genteel southern lady was very kind (she told me that "because I was so" intah-rested" in steamboats it was OK to touch the big pilotwheel despite the sign that said DO NOT TOUCH!) but she told the group that the sheer of the boat was due to the moisture on the river and that the hull was warped! Well, that nearly "tumped me over", but I was barely 15 years old at the time, and even though I knew better from having continually pored over Alan's recently published Western Rivers Steamboat Cyclopoedium, I said nothing, lest I get into trouble with my mama and grandmama for being impolite!

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