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    RIP BECKY THATCHER

    I just hate to open this thread. However I have just become aware of some sad news that has happened today, we have lost a wonderful old riverboat.

    The Marietta Register Online - Web Extra: Becky Thatcher Sinks

    The pictures and sparse newsposting n the Marietta Register website tell the gory details better than I can.

    Travis

    #2
    Travis,

    I´ve just opened my email and found these sad pix attached sent by a friend.

    What a sad look!

    Carmen

    Comment


      #3
      My email this morning revealed the same. I remember pointing out her new location in Pittsburgh last fall as the Belle of Cincinnati cruised past. I did not know that would be the last time I saw her afloat. What a crime! She joins so many others, lost to what seems to be deliberate carelessness. It makes me thankful even more to see the Delta Queen in Chattanooga.

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        #4
        Tragic news. Too sad for words.

        Comment


          #5
          Sad, but not surprising news, considering that the BECKY has been in peril for some years now. Yet another fine old riverboat gone. Once the Str. MISSISSIPPI (No, 3) and the proud flagship of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she had become but a shell, her engines, boilers, and other steamboat haberdashery gone, save for the capstan and the lazy bench from the pilothouse being about the only original items remaining on board. Her pilotwheel now resides at the River Museum in Point Pleasant, WV. The steel hull of the BECKY was a product of the Howard Shipyard at Jeffersonville, built in 1926 and taken to Paducah, where the upper works of the second Str. MISSISSIPPI were "scooted" over onto the new hull, an amazing operation with the only casualty being one broken pane of door glass! The MISSISSIPPI operated until decommissioned on April 19, 1961 and later was a tourist attraction at Hannibal MO, before being sold to the late Frank C. Pierson, moved to St. Louis in March, 1966 and renamed BECKY THATCHER, where she remained until sold and moved to Marietta in August, 1975.

          As many know from previous discussions on this forum, I have a special place in my heart for the BECKY, owing to my longtime friendship with the late Miss Ruth Ferris, my mentor and patron saint of steamboating, who was designer and curator of the Midship Museum aboard the BECKY at St. Louis. Besides numerous visits at St. Louis (my first one in 1968 when I was 14 years old) I, and many other steamboat fanatics, have enjoyed festive dinner parties in the cabin of the BECKY, during S&D meeting weekends at Marietta, with dear friends, many of whom have since departed from us. Thank goodness for our memories and memorabilia!

          The Marietta Times reports today that the boat is a total loss and slated for demolition as quickly as possible. Access the article by clicking on R.I.P Becky Thatcher - MariettaTimes.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Ohio, Community Information - The Marietta Times

          As it states in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15, To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. This applies to old steamboats and the BECKY has earned her rest. A long and loud whistle salute to her memory and in tribute to all the fine people who served as her officers and crew throughout her decades of dedicated service, especially the late Capt. David M. Cook, her longtime master, who always saw to it that she was kept in pristine condition, befitting a fine southern lady.

          Herewith are a few images of the MISSISSIPPI in her operating days. Farewell to a Grande Dame of the Great River.
          Attached Files

          Comment


            #6
            And is it not true that the superstructure was the last surviving part of a Mississippi style riverboat built in the 1800's? The BT was not the first and hopefully not the last old riverboat that some of us have "trespassed". Said transgression was made in order to visit the pilot house, which prompted someone to post a "Reward" in order to capture and punish the perps. Repeat offenders that they were, no old boat was safe. It would be nice if someone could rescue that pilot house, at the very least.

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              #7
              Lex, I've been sitting here in my office thinking that very thing. Inasmuch as the hull of the MISSISSIPPI came from the Howard Shipyard, it surely would be appropriate to have that pilothouse for the museum yard!

              By the way -- I believe this is one of the photos I took when a couple of miscreants, later dudded "Pilothouse Palmore" & "Callyope Keith", trespassed and ascended to the pilothouse of the BECKY way back in 1977.
              Attached Files

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                #8
                Smokestack Display

                What about displaying the smokestacks at the Howard Museum? Seems like it would be cheaper than most things to display and would be appropriate.

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                  #9
                  I just read the news about the Becky in another email group I belong to. Very sad. I wonder if she had some leaks that required automatic bilge pumps when she was still at Marietta(?). At Neville Island it would be easy for someone to forget to check those. Just a guess.. I hate to removed another boat from my short list of remaining Howard boats, but I guess that's the way it is...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    There has to be a way to get something off of her for the Howard Museum. Perhaps the paddlewheel shaft, stacks, or Pilothouse? All seem to be available. Time is of the essence...the river is on the rise up there and the owner seems in a hurry to get rid of her. The newspaper article mentions he is willing to sell parts of her...perhaps he needs to be reminded the tax write-off for a museum could be MUCH more valuable? Wish I had a crane, I'd head up there towards her now! Who do we know up there with a crane?

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                      #11
                      Bobbie Harrison (owner of the diesel sternwheel towboat SEWICKLEY) is up in that area, and had a crane barge. Not sure what he is up to these days. Of course, Jim Zubik's River Salvage dock is right next door to the Becky, at the old Dravo facility. I'd bet he will be doing the salvage due to his proximity and equipment.

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                        #12
                        Lets hope some "River Minded" person gets there and first saves the stuff we need! If something is saved there will be time added to the clock to negotiate!

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                          #13
                          BECKY over the years in pictures

                          Here are some BECKY pictures taken over the years at S&D meetings in Marietta.
                          1) 1978 Ruth Ferris and Keith Norrington
                          2) 1979 night view
                          3) 1982 from RR pedestrian bridge
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                            #14
                            More BECKY pix

                            all 2003
                            1)Keith on the VALLEY GEM posing in front of his favorite boat.
                            2)Barbara Huffman and Pat Traynor enjoying dining out on deck...that silverware was one fork short of a full set by the end of our meal, oops...
                            3) The BECKY from the Harmar shore.
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by Judy Patsch; 02-22-2010, 05:30 PM. Reason: finding a lost decade...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              one final BECKY

                              this final BECKY picture was taken on Dec. 3, 1995, after Capt. Roddy Hammett's funeral. It was strange to be in Marietta and on the BECKY at a time other than September S&D, and even stranger by the festive Christmas decorations and the reason for our being there...
                              From bottom left counterclockwise: Jeff, Joan, and John Spear; Keith Norrington Joann and Robert Kyle, Doc Hawley, Judy Patsch, Gary Frommelt, David Link, Lee Lanier, and Joy Manthey. Roddy would have approved of this place for this occasion...
                              Attached Files

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