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Summertime on the Upper Mississippi 1966

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    Summertime on the Upper Mississippi 1966

    Thie attached photo, a composite of three snapshots, shows the Kahlke Boatyard at Rock Island, Illinois during the summer of 1966. Prominently in view is the old ferry W.J. QUINLAN, which ceased operation in 1945. Perched high and dry on the ways for years, the old steamboat didn't last much longer after this picture was taken, having been torched by arsonists in April, 1967.

    Perhaps Judy, Dave and other UMR experts can elucidate further on the other vessels in the image, taken 44 years ago by Ken Davie.
    Attached Files

    a real rare find

    Yes, that was the QUINLAN's last summer. She burned on April 8, 1967. But the real gem in this picture is the white boat to the right - that is the little diesel ferry TRANSIT which I rode every summer. I've never seen a picture of her in Kahlke's. We had a discussion on here a while back about her years of service. I seem to recall she quit running about the time we lost the AVALON, which would have been 1961-62. But this picture is 4 years later and her paint job looks pretty good. She obviously was out of service by '66 or she wouldn't have been in the boatyard in the summer. The structure behind her I believe is an old landing dock for the QUINLAN. The barge in front of the TRANSIT was one of her landing barges. It had a partial roof and backless bench seats. I believe the other barge in front of the QUINLAN is also a landing barge, just with the roof gone.The last major job Kahlke did was to build a new hull for the LONE STAR in 1957. When the yard actually closed, I'm not sure. But that is a great find.


      TRANSIT dates

      I just checked with the ultimate Kahlke scholar, Jerry Canavit. His booklet A Brief History of Ferry Service in the Quad Cities states that the TRANSIT started up in 1949 and discontinued service in 1963 when they started building the flood wall, which wiped out her landing space. The TRANSIT was 52 feet long, 36 tons, 115 horsepower. An interesting thing: her pilot was a former QUINLAN engineer, John Kerkering. I can remember hearing him coughing and hacking as he ascended the ladder to the pilothouse(sounded a lot like Howard Tate).
      Dad and my sister and I rode for pleasure. We'd get off in Davenport, have a root beer at the stand at the foot of Main Street, and then catch the next return trip. But most passengers were actually using the TRANSIT for transportation. We had a big department store in Rock Island, McCabes, and there were two in Davenport: Petersens and Parkers. I remember seeing their big shopping bags resting at the ladies' feet as we made our way across the 5/8 mile wide stretch of river...
      Jerry lists the existence of the Kahlke Yard as 1868-1971. The demise was due to two major things: Kahlkes refused to go to steel hulls, and the flood wall divided the property up in 1963.