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The Remnants Of The Sprague 2012

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    #16
    Thank you, Gary! Very interesting pics, and a few I had not seen before. Thanks for sharing.

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      #17
      Arson?

      Thanks Gary for posting these interesting photos. My recollection was that the fire was considered arson at the time. Is that correct and if so did anyone get accused or prosecuted?

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        #18
        I can not beleive how much good stuff Judy left behind.

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          #19
          The Sprague In 2012

          hi Everyone,

          I am still looking into the history of what happened, I plan to visit the old courthouse museum soon to see what they have. The talk of Arson was thrown around a few times and it was one of those things that was swept up under the rug and left alone. I do believe the VFD had an aerial ladder truck in 1974, I am almost sure of it. Why was there not a good water supply established, even if it meant drafting from the river, that truck put in service and could reach out over the top of the boat and more of her could have been saved.

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            #20
            ca. 1979-1980 Sprague Photos

            I am attempting to load some photos I took of the Sprague about 1979-1980. I am not exactly sure of the year. A couple of us went up to the Sprague to do some exploring when it was sitting high and dry. At that time there was still faint hopes that maybe they would restore her after the fire. Here are the first three of seven photos. Sorry for the quality of the scans. This is my first attempt at it.
            Attached Files

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              #21
              Sprague Photos

              More Sprague photos from ca. 1979-1980
              Attached Files

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                #22
                Spargue Photos

                More Sprague photos from ca. 1979-1980. The last photo show me standing UNDER the paddlewheel. It gives you some perspective of the size of the thing.
                Attached Files

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                  #23
                  I had only one suitcase!

                  Originally posted by Bill Judd View Post
                  I can not beleive how much good stuff Judy left behind.
                  When Lexie and I rowed up and visited the beached and broken wreck, we did acquire a couple of things. But since I had flown to the DQ, I was working with only one suitcase - do you know how big one of those stirrups is????????? By the way, Keith has been to Vicksburg more recently than I have, and by car!

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                    #24
                    Thanks very much, Gary, for sharing your collection of SPRAGUE images. WOW! You have some great ones! I enjoyed several visits to the big towboat, beginning in the summer of 1969, when I was 15 years old. After the 1974 fire, I visited the boat numerous times, including several pilgrimages to the field at the upper end of the Vicksburg harbor where she was high and dry. I remember once while I was intently focusing my camera I heard an unusual sound and looked up to see a herd of horses thundering at me. I quickly sought refuge UNDER the sternwheel!

                    One memorable visit was in the summer of 1983 in company of Judy, Capt. Lexie Palmore and Jeff Spear. The Mississippi was HIGH and rising, already well above flood stage, but we were determined to get as close as possible to the half submerged wheel shaft and other parts. We were walking briskly along Highway 61 in the torrid heat looking for parts of the boat when Jeff nearly stepped on a large snake. We all screamed and jumped HIGH in the air before we realized it was dead!

                    Over the years, many steamboat buffs and buffettes have paid their respects to the once MIGHTY steamer SPRAGUE! After visiting the new Catfish Row Park, I couldn't help but wonder what Capt. Eugene Hampton (longtime master of the SPRAGUE) would think of seeing his beloved boat's capstans and jackstaff (gallows) painted PINK!!!! Years before the park opened, the artifacts lay in weeds along the downtown riverfront, including the two smokestacks. Just for the unique distinction, I had my picture taken INSIDE one of the stacks and even crawled all the way through it!

                    Again, many thanks for sharing your pictures! Incidentally, was one of those views of the JULIUS C. WILKIE burning at Winona in 1981?

                    IMAGES: SPRAGUE at Vicksburg, June 16, 1969. Yes, I know it says DO NOT TOUCH on the pilotwheel, but the kindly and very genteel lady guide said it was perfectly fine to touch it while my grandfather took the picture -- since I was so "intah-rested in steeeeemboooats"!
                    Attached Files

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                      #25
                      Sprague In 1980

                      Hi Ted,
                      Thanks for posting the great photos. They were taken just before I was born, so I admit my age of 31. From those photos it would appear that she could have been salvaged. I understand from a guy in my MQ group that I have on Facebook that he was on the bow of the DQ when they landed beside The Sprague around 1970 and he said the hull was starting to get brittle by that point and I would imagine thats possible as the boat was about 60 years old then, but it survived the fire and being pushed on shore, so that leaves the question to beg, could she have been saved? My guess would have been yes, but it always down to the one major problem facing every boat that still exists.....Money, which I thoroughly believe brought forth the demise of the MQ.

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                        #26
                        Well, I declare! The nerve of you thinking any one of us would take something off the venerable Sprague. Is nothing sacred? And besides, research shows that the removal of almost anything from that colossal towboat would, indeed, require a crane, a cutting torch, come-alongs, a chain fall, and other such huge tools that most of us did not have. A simple screw driver would be an effort in futility. (See photo of Ted standing under paddlewheel.) The scale of that boat is overwhelming... So, there! (Otherwise, there would be nothing in the weeds to photograph, I'm told, but don't take my word for it.) I know nothing!

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                          #27
                          What goes around comes around...

                          Isn't it interesting that now Curator Keith is on the other end of the Do Not Touch signs??? Gary, you'll enjoy visiting the Old Courthouse Museum. Check the display of the SPRAGUE gauges, which were once 'acquired' by a steamboater (not any of us posters), who returned them upon the urging of the Sheriff and DQ Captain Ernie Wagner...

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                            #28
                            A Good Home

                            i would like to find a good home for my, ahem, memento, so maybe the Courthouse Museum would be a good prospect. One would not need an 18 wheeler to get it there. I used to enjoy visiting the Courthouse Museum. Have you been there lately?

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Old Court House Museum

                              The Old Courthouse Museum is alive and doing well. My good friend Gordon Cotton, who was the curator for many years, is now retired but he left the place in very good hands (the new curator's name is Bubba Bolm) and it continues as a wonderful repository for Vicksburg and Civil War history.

                              Just before he retired, Gordon was trying to find a place to exhibit a large model of the SPRAGUE that had been built by a Vicksburg police officer who had passed on and his family had donated the model to the museum. Gordon once took me on an tour of the attic of the old courthouse and that edifice, constructed in the 1850's, is WELL BUILT with huge timbers, much like a fortress! What a fabulous view there is of downtown Vicksburg and the river from UP there in the cupola!

                              As Judy mentioned, there is a fine exhibit here of artifacts salvaged from the SPRAGUE.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Hmm ! The picture of the pilothouse on the SPRAGUE and the words "DO NOT TOUCH",remind me of one of the many afternoons snooping around on the SNYDER. Someone. . . either Keith, Jeff ,or myself "nudged" one of the levers and seconds later came a booming voice "PLEASE DO NOT MOVE THE CONTROLS!!!!". The attandant down on the main deck could see the linkage moving up in the overhead,but to the uninitiated it could have been the ultimate reprimand from on high and the "chief pilot" himself!

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