Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Early view of Str. IDLEWILD

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Early view of Str. IDLEWILD

    Herewith is an image that I acquired recently of the Steamer IDLEWILD, at Memphis, in her very early days.

    Happily, this steamboat chugs on, in 2010, as the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE!
    Attached Files

    #2
    Great Picture

    Keith,

    I have seen many pictures of the Idlewild when she was newer. Some photos she sports feathered tops on her stacks, others do not. I look at pictures of the Julia Belle Swain and look for the T in between the stacks. If it is there it was the Denny Trone era, if not it is its current owner. In the Idelwild's case it would help to determine when a picture was taken of the Idlewild if we knew when this small alteration was added or subtracted from the boat. No doubt about it, she was a beauty then and now.

    Also, she seems to be sitting higher in the water than she does now. Is that the case or is it just the angle of the picture?

    Thanks

    Mark

    Comment


      #3
      Mark: I, too, have quite a number of IDLEWILD images, some of them unprinted negatives, and it is most interesting to witness her evolution through the years. As Capt. Doc Hawley has stated, several times, the person who undoubtedly knows the history of the IDLEWILD-AVALON-BELLE inside and out is Dubuque's steamboat buff extraordinaire David Tschiggfrie, ably assisted by son Jonathan. Dave continues to dredge up fascinating photos, slides and other memorabilia from the boat's nine decades of operation.

      Dave will be presenting his wonderful two hour sight and sound program, Paddlin' Into the Past, which chronicles the history of the boat -- and which I'm proud to say was the first, and very well attended, offering in 2006 for my "River Ramblings" lecture series at the Howard Steamboat Museum --at the annual meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen in September.

      Comment


        #4
        Keith,

        Thanks for posting a "new" portrait of our favorite steamboat! It's always great to have yet another photo of the old girl turn up. Considering the number of years she has operated and the places she has run (it's probably simpler to list the Western Rivers on which she hasn't run!), there must be untold numbers of photos of the steamer as both the IDLEWILD and AVALON tucked away, forgotten, in trunks and cardboard boxes in attics and basements and bedroom closets in homes all over the inland rivers. In answer to Mark's question, this view was taken after 1922 when the boat's original texas cabin and texas roof had both been lengthened. Her freeboard seems to me to be the same as during most of her years as the IDLEWILD. Not until she gained considerable weight as the AVALON did she sit noticeably lower in the water.

        It's strange how photos sometimes surface. Several years ago, Doc mailed me an old faded photo of the AVALON snapped at Memphis which had turned up between the pages of an old book someone gave him. Turns out the picture had to be taken in 1948, the first time the IDLEWILD (now-AVALON) had run an excursion from Memphis since she left there in 1927! Talk about coincidences.

        Thanks, Keith, for your kind and gracious mention of the upcoming IDLEWILD/AVALON program in September. One of the rare, rare treats in that show will be a seldom seen photo of the boat from a relatively unknown and short-lived episode in her long history. I'd been hoping for decades to find a shot from this period, and finally one has surfaced.

        Looking forward to spending time aboard the BELLE again this August 21st prior to your next River Ramblings Program at the Howard Museum. Hope that all of our river friends will be there to enjoy Capt. Carl Henry's program, ride the BELLE, and share more good conversation and good food at the Kingfish and later on at the after-party party in Jeffersonville.

        Comment


          #5
          photos photos photos

          Hmmm... that new rare one that surfaced didn't happen to surface recently from 639, did it?

          Comment


            #6
            That's a roger, good buddy!

            Comment


              #7
              I've heard Capt. Hawley mention how rough the IDLEWILD was when the old ISLAND QUEEN crew went to bring her back into service-in much worse shape than when Louisville got her. Capt. Bill Ray once came across some of the IDLEWILD's inspections and found a report where the inspector found the engine room in such a mess as to write it in a report. Of course, who knows what the mood of the inspector was that day! Anyway, nice photo!

              Comment


                #8
                Dan,

                Not only the condition of the boat at that time, but also the conditions under which the crew worked, especially during the time that Gorsage managed her at Peoria. One example. Capt. Denny Trone told me this story as it was related to him by some old rivermen in Peoria when the boat ran out of there. As the boat lay at the city front between trips, some guy walked aboard, headed directly for the firebox, where he pulled out a knife and stabbed the black fireman in the stomach, turned, and walked back off before anyone knew what was happening! Denny said the fireman, doubled over, staggered out of the firebox and walked along the guard, across the stage, and up the hill, dripping blood all the way. Next day he was back at work, with no questions asked by anyone! Now, that's ROUGH!

                Comment


                  #9
                  An added bit

                  Thanks Dave for the that great story. Denny told me that one too, I repeated the story to several members of the Peoria Historical Society years ago and someone added that the black fireman walked up Main Street in Peoria and went to hospital "A" (I won't use the real name, it is still in business) and was told to go away and he walked farther up to St. Francis Hospital where he was immediately treated. Sometimes the history in Peoria can be pretty amazing.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Towboat days
                    In 1929 she came out of the Alta Slough and pushed some Contractors equipment up the Missouri River. She was a regular on the Missouri in the late 20's early 1930's. The Waterways Journal reported in the 30 March 1929 issue her master was William Mills and she was moving barges for Kansas City Bridge to Dover, Missouri. a River Rat from Omaha told me that on her last tramping on the Missouri she left many an unpaid coal and other bills as she steamed down the River.
                    I think the Nebraska State Historical Society has some photos of her.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Towboating on the IDLEWILD

                      Carl,

                      Your posting is a God-send!! Thank you, thank you. I have been fretting for the past several years (and especially the past several weeks) that I have scant information about her towboating career on the Missouri, and BAM!, here comes your message today. If you can provide me with any names, e-mail addresses, etc. for anyone at the Nebraska State Historical Society, I would be forever in your debt. This is one piece of her history that I am eager to learn about, especially before giving my slide and audio program about her days as the IDLEWILD and AVALON for S&D at their annual meeting on September 17-18. Those unpaid bills for coal and other supplies you mention undoubtedly date to the summer or fall of 1959 when she ran there as the AVALON, the one and only time she ran up the Missouri as far as Omaha. Even in her IDLEWILD days, she never ventured that far up the Big Muddy.

                      Talk about coincidences, your mention of her towing contractor's equipment may be documented in a photo of her I have taken landed at the St. Louis levee when she was towing a dredging fleet. I'd always assumed this was snapped in 1934-35, possibly to assist in the construction of Lock and Dam 26 at Alton. Now, your information may date that picture even earlier in 1929. I've just this past week been struggling to date another view of the old girl when she sported tow knees. The original photo which I'm desperately trying to date, was snapped by Rudy Gerber of St. Louis, and it is variously dated as 1932 or 1934, according to different persons. However, the information you posted today may back it up to 1929, which I suspected all along was a more accurate date for the picture.

                      Anyhow, your message board posting today couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Again, my deepest thanks for posting what you did. Any other information you have would be GREATLY appreciated, along with any contacts you might be able to provide at the Nebraska Historical Society. And I sincerely hope you might be able to attend my S&D program this coming September. It would be my great pleasure to meet you and thank you in person.

                      David

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I have been gone from the Nebraska State Historical Society too long to know who is in charge of the picture collection. Their address is PO Box 82554, Lincoln Nebraska 68501-2554. or try www.nebraskahistory,org. I think you are right it was as the Avalon that she run up the un paid bills. I believe that my source for that story was R Allen Coleman or Bob or Robert Allen Coleman. of Omaha. The last address I have for him is 6780 Franklin St., Omaha, NE 68104. It has been several years since I talked to him so am not sure he is still around.

                        I think it was Capt Raymond Holland who told me of a time he was riding her I think in her towing days and her Captain said that if the river got to shallow or the snags to thick or the channel too narrow he took a good swig of whiskey and the river just seemed to open up and was easier to navigate. Sorry Capt Holland passed away several years ago.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Carl,

                          Thank you for the contact information at the Nebraska State Historical Society and for Bob Coleman's address. I will definitely follow up on both these sources. The old boat has one of the most fascinating and far-flung histories of any Western Rivers steamer, and to think that she's still making excursions today at Louisville is nothing short of amazing! Thanks again, Carl, for your tremendous help in telling this part of her story.

                          David

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Carl,

                            Just an update on the continuing saga of tracking down more of the IDLEWILD's Missouri River history. The Nebraska State Historical History could not find any references or photos of the IDLEWILD in their indexes or files. As I mentioned to you already, Mr. Robert Coleman of Omaha passed away last year, and so I was not able to follow up on any information there. However, the librarian at Nebraska Historical Society is checking back issues of the Omaha World-Herald for Sept. 11-14, 1959, for any mention of the AVALON's one-and-only excursions there that year. The next contact I made was the University of Missouri-Kansas City, after noticing a steamboat photo they had provided in a book about the history of St. Louis Jazz on riverboats. Their reference librarian also scoured their files and indexes for word of the IDLEWILD. Again, nothing turned up. However, he suggested that I contact the Kansas City Public Library's Missouri Valley Room, where he thinks there may be some references to the boat in their local history collection. So, I'm still on the trail! Will let you know if anything new turns up in following the leads in this Sherlock Holme's mystery. Thanks again for opening the door on this relatively unknown chapter in her long and varied history with the tantalizing details that you already provided. And stay tuned for the next chapter . . .

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Latest Update in the continuing IDLEWILD Saga

                              Carl, and other IDLEWILD/AVALON devotees:

                              This past week brought the most recent updates on the IDLEWILD/AVALON's history from Lincoln, NE and from Kansas City, MO. No surprises here, since those who appreciate the old girl's history know that she went EVERYWHERE! No, she didn't run trips out of Lincoln, but she did from Omaha between Sept. 11-14, 1959, the one and only time the boat got that far up the Missouri River. The Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln tracked down a photo and story from the Sept. 12, 1959 Omaha "World Herald" on that historic first trip of the steamer. There was a B&W time exposure of the AVALON aglow from bow to stern just before her departure on her first Moonlite there, with details about the other four days of charters that Betty Blake had booked for the boat.

                              Also arriving via e-mail this past week was a note from the reference librarian in the Kansas City Public Library's Missouri Valley Room about the IDLEWILD's final season on the Missouri at Kansas City in 1941 -- a record year, according to owner Henry Meyer, in which she was booked by over 150 organizations for excursions before her Missouri River season ended in early August.

                              With these latest pieces of the puzzle in place, all that remains is an anticipated letter from Annie Blum, who is graciously searching microfilm for me at the Mercantile Library in St. Louis for a dandy shot of the AVALON landed at the St. Louis levee right after her famed Girl Scout trip and prior to her departure for her very last UMR excursion season in 1961.

                              There comes a point in any research where the researcher has to say "This far and no further." Or else this detective story will go on and on and on . . . Now it's time to edit all these new pieces of the puzzle into the new and improved slide and audio program for the Sept. 17-18 S&D Meeting. My deepest thanks to all of you who, over the past decades, have assisted in any way in telling the story of this matron of Western Rivers steamboating.

                              Comment

                              ADVERTISEMENT
                              Working...
                              X