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Mississippi Queen Bell Update

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    Mississippi Queen Bell Update

    With much gratitude to George Childers (Director of Maintenance at Jeffboat) and his fine crew, here is a photo of the MQ bell in the Jeffboat shop. The stand was to be painted today and a few more finishing touches are to be added before it is transported across the street to the Howard Steamboat Museum later this week. The historic bell was saved, courtesy of friends in New Orleans at Boland Marine (Scott Fassler) Great American Steamboat Company (Capt. John Sutton) American Commercial Lines (Mark Knoy) and Jeffboat (Patrick Sutton). Our heartfelt THANKS to ALL who have made this generous gift possible.

    Don't forget: Pilothouse Replica and MQ Bell Dedication is Saturday, June 9th at 2:00 PM EDT.

    River music by Capt. Bill and Becky Ray, formerly of "The Big Muddy String Band"!

    Hope to see y'all on deck!

    "Curator Keith"
    Attached Files

    MQ bell

    Great news Keith and thanks for the update. I am sure you guys are excited to see it arrive on the grounds after this long wait.

    It is a very fitting tradition for the bell to reside at the museum, across from the shipyard where the MQ was originally built.



      Indeed, it is an EXCITING time at the museum! The concrete pad has been poured and we anxiously await the delivery of the bell on Friday!

      Looking forward to Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM!

      Y'all Come!


        If it was Sunday instead of Saturday, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I already have to be in Milwaukee for an Air Force gathering on Saturday afternoon. Once I make the drive to southeast Wisconsin, I know I can make it anywhere from here.


          MQ bell

          Ditto for me as we are out of town Saturday. I saw the freshly poured pad last night and hope you guys and girls have a wonderful ceremony. The looks darn near perfect and it should be a great time for all.


            Midwest Riverboat Buffs

            Likewise I'll not make it as the Midwest Riverboat Buffs are meeting in Hannibal Mo. this weekend. This was planned back in January...


              The MQ Bell has Landed!

              An enthusiastic crew from Jeffboat delivered the historic bell from the Str. MISSISSIPPI QUEEN to its final resting place at the Howard Steamboat Museum this morning! Yvonne and I were practically dancing with delight! Placed just in front of our new pilothouse, the bell looks fabulous, glisteningly polished, and rings beautifully - and LOUDLY. Wow!

              George & Kim Burch (owners of the MQ mermaids) were driving down Market Street and pulled over just in time to hear the first reverberating ring! Lucy Belle (their faithful dog) was watching from the back seat and seemed to enjoy it too!

              THANKS to ALL who played a part in the acquisition of this fabulous steamboat artifact!

              "Curator Keith"


                "Be There When the Band Starts Playin"!

                Just a friendly reminder that the program to dedicate the pilothouse replica and the bell from the Str. Mississippi Queen begins at 2:00 PM today on the rear lawn of the Howard Steamboat Museum. Capt. Bill and Becky Ray will be providing the river music, and that "prelude" begins at 1:30.

                Following the program, we'll have cold lemonade and cookies, served from the recently restored laundry house.

                Looking forward to a fun afternoon and hope to see you! Oh, how I wish my mentor and patron saint of steamboating Ruth Ferris could be here, but I know she'll be smiling down from Heaven!

                "Curator Keith"


                  After the Ball is Over

                  Had a fine turnout for the bell and pilothouse dedication. Capt. Bill and Becky Ray played and sang some great river tunes and everybody seemed to enjoy the afternoon very much. Just before the program started, the BELLE of LOUISVILLE passed by and blew a salute!

                  Following the program, refreshments were served in the newly restored laundry house. Ice cold lemonade and a variety of cookies were enjoyed by all and many lingered for conversation in the shade near the pilothouse.

                  Children REALLY enjoyed getting to pull the braided cord and ring the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN bell!

                  Pictures later!


                    It was a very lovely afternoon. I'm glad I left the office long enough to attend. And the cold lemonade tasted mighty fine on a pleasant afternoon on the museum grounds. The pilothouse and bell are great additions. So good to see and hear Capt. Bill and Becky Ray again. Thanks Yvonne and Keith for another well executed event.


                      MQ bell

                      A huge congrats to Keith and the whole crew at the museum. As I drove in to work this morning I could not help but steal a glance at the MQ bell, sitting there very proudly, looking over the grounds and towards Jeffboat.

                      I will share a couple of pictures we took late yesterday.

                      1. MQ bell and pilothouse.
                      2. MQ bell up-close
                      3. MQ Belle and Lucy Belle
                      Attached Files


                        MQ 101 (again, please?)

                        Might someone help with a brief re-retelling of the history of the MQ bell?


                        from the back of the class in SB 101. :-)


                          The Magnificent MQ Bell

                          The MQ bell was cast in 1874 by the Buckeye Bell Foundry (also known as Van Duzen & Tift) at Cincinnati for the Holy Cross Monastery there. When that religious institution closed in 1975, the MQ was under construction at Jeffboat and it was decided to donate the bell to the new boat as a gift from the people of Cincinnati. This is inscribed on the bell.

                          When scrapping operations began, the bell was offered to the Howard Steamboat Museum through the courtesy of Boland Marine (Scott Fassler) Great American Steamboat Company (Capt. John Sutton) American Commercial Lines (Mark Knoy) and Jeffboat (Patrick Sutton). George Childers, director of maintenance for Jeffboat, supervised the construction of the new stand in consultation with Kenny Howe (HSM board member and chief engineer who put the MQ engine room together) and Curator Keith. Our heartfelt THANKS to ALL who made this possible!

                          The bell was delivered to Jeffboat aboard the AMERICAN QUEEN on her first trip up the Ohio in May for the Great Steamboat Race. The concrete pad was prepared by Derek Paprocki, skilled builder of our new pilothouse replica. The enthusiastic gang from Jeffboat polished the bell before and after its delivery.

                          When locations were considered for the bell, I requested that it be placed in front of the pilothouse, facing Jeffboat, where the MQ began her life 35 years ago, and where the famed Howard Shipyards were in business from 1834 until 1941, constructing some 1300 vessels. Aside from its operation by the Navy during the war years when over 100 LST's were built there, the shipyard, now operated by Jeffboat, enjoys the distinction of being the nation's oldest continuously operated shipyard in the United States.

                          At the Howard Steamboat Museum we are very pleased, proud and privileged to be the caretakers of the bell and are honored to share it with the community and all steamboat buffs and buffettes who loved the MQ. Do come and enjoy it with us!

                          "Curator Keith"


                            *MQ's bell/'signal cannons on steamboats*
                            Steamboating colleagues:
                            Thanks to Keith, George and Wesley for posting the history and pictures of the MQ's bell now mounted at the Howard Steamboat Museum. Looks terrific and placing it 'forward' of the pilothouse just the right spot.

                            QUESTION: Keith, I uncovered an old monograph in the Literary Club archives here giving detailed information on the 1825 visit/tour of the Marquis de Layafette in 1824/1825 to America. Not only did Lafayette survive the sinking of his steamboat on the Ohio, but further details of cities, towns he visited. His final departure from Cincinnati upriver mentions the great parades, ceremonies with, "...cannons being fired from the Newport, KY battlement, steamboats illuminated...steamboat bells ringing, signal cannons being fired." Did the Howard family ever own one of these steamboat signal cannons? They're rare as hen's teeth today and I recall seeing one dating from either the 1840s or 1950s owned by a now long deceased neighbor. 'Dud shot' for such a cannon difficult to obtain and our neighbor resorted to cutting apart shotgun shells for the powder, repacking for loading. Tom Schiffer [AKA Cap n' Walnut] no doubt has seen such cannon along with knowing how to load, fire them.

                            Seems I posibly heard once that Capt. Tom Greene sought such a cannon for the DELTA QUEEN. Even Betty Blake put out feelers for a cannon when the MQ was finished, arrived here in great triumph. She settled on fireworks from a big barge. Any memories of this from any of you with long memories? Cheers!

                            R. Dale Flick - Librarian/Archivist, Literary Club of Cincinnati founded in 1849.
                            Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.


                              *A 'typo' addition*
                              I meant to type RE: the steamboat signal cannon, "1840s or 1850s." DUH!

                              R. Dale Flick