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    Str. WILLOW

    Morning All,

    Starting some preliminary research of the USCOE Str. WILLOW. I have not consulted Way's or the Reflector indexes but will search there once time allows. I know my steamboats.org friends will have some information, possible photos. I understand the boat was built at Dravo around the same time as the Greenbrier and the Wakerobin. I've also learned the boat may have hung around at least into the early 80's in Florida. Appreciate any information.

    Aaron

    #2
    Aaron,

    The US Lighthouse Tender WILLOW was built right here by Dubuque Boat and Boiler Co. in 1927. In fact, while construction on the boat was being completed, the company was also building three sternwheel steam towboats for the the Inland Waterways Corp. (forerunner to Federal Barge Line): S.S. THORPE, C.C. WEBBER and JOHN W. WEEKS. The boatyard was very busy in the late twenties! Somewhere in my photo archives there's a great aerial view of the Ice Harbor in late 1927 or early 1928 showing the WILLOW nearly finshed, with the other boats under construction. And there is also a dandy side view of the steamer being outfitted. Let me know if you are interested in any of these views, and I will dig around here and see what I can come up with. In fact, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that aerial view of the boatyard didn't appear in the REFLECTOR one of these years.

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      #3
      Arron, I have the plans for the Willow which I purchased from the National Archives at least 15 years ago. Also, I saw her in Panama City, FL in 1974 and visited with her then new owner, Paul Jennings, who had intended to make her into a marine museum. The photo and my write-up appeared on P.15 of the June, '74 Reflector. Jennings and his wife had joined S & D and planned to live aboard after their museum project was completed. Obviously, it never happened and I lost track of both him and the boat after that. At some point she might have been scrapped. If you want a copy of the Reflector page I can scan and send to you. The late Capt. Bill Tippitt was her master for a while and had some colorful stories to tell about her. She wasn't very fast.

      Comment


        #4
        Hey Dave,

        Thanks for the info on the WILLOW. I thought for sure she was Dravo built because of how much her forward cabins and stacks look like the WAKEROBIN. I will search the Reflectors and see what else I can turn up. I checked UofW LaCrosse and there's a bunch of good photos there. And I now know she is still around, somewhere in Spain of all places. A google image search "Mississippi Willow Benalmadena" should bring up recent photos of her. Hoping to get into more history of the US Lighthouse Service and their duties on the Mississippi River system before being absorbed into the Coast Guard and the history of their fleet. Thanks for your response.

        Aaron

        Comment


          #5
          Hey John,

          Thanks, more interesting information. I will certainly pull out the 74 Reflector and read up. Shoot me an e-mail if you would on how much for the plans. I'd love to have copies of them.

          Aaron

          Comment


            #6
            PS. The Willow's career was summarized in the Dec. '73 Reflector, P.45. along with a more detailed description of Jenning's plans for her.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by AJ Richardson View Post
              Hey Dave,

              Thanks for the info on the WILLOW. I thought for sure she was Dravo built because of how much her forward cabins and stacks look like the WAKEROBIN. Thanks for your response.

              Aaron
              Aaron,

              The reason that her cabin and stacks, etc. bear so much resemblance to steamers built at other shipyards (like WAKEROBIN) is probably due to the fact that the government provided the blueprints to boatyards when soliciting bids for their construction. Perhaps the government engineer who drew up those plans was also employed in the design of the WAKEROBIN. All of the FBL sternwheel towboats built 1927-30 at Dubuque were from plans supplied by the Inland Waterways Corp. (The designer of those boats was the famous Thomas Rees Tarn, who also designed the IDLEWILD and possibly the W.P. SNYDER JR. too.) The only other shipyard to build any of these towboats besides DBBCo was Howard. And their steamer MARK TWAIN was a dead ringer for the PATRICK J. HURLEY and JAMES W. GOOD, undoubtedly all built from the same set of plans. A small yard like DBBCo rarely had its own marine architects, but would bid on projects where the blueprints were already provided. Another example of that is the famous Dubuque-built SPRAGUE. In her case, there were no architects or draftsmen at the yard involved in drawing up those plans. They were provided by the Combine who were contracting to have her built. I think one notable exception to all of this, at least in the case of DBBCo, was in the design of the packet BETSY ANN in 1899. I believe that Dubuque did draw up the plans for R. F. Learned's proposed steamboat. Other than that, precious few designs came from the yard. So . . . there's a little background on the design of government steamboats. And Dubuque built the lion's share of iron/steel-hulled vessels for the government between 1890-1932, a special niche they held for years in the inland rivers boatbuilding trade. One of these days, I wouldn't be surprised if the REFLECTOR runs a feature story on this famous but rather unknown boatyard.

              Comment


                #8
                Dave,

                As usual, fascinating stuff. Yes, the story of DBB really needs to be told in more detail. Too many famous boats built there for more of a formal history to be written. Appreciate all your insight.

                Aaron

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                  #9
                  Bring it, please! We await with bated breath...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Aaron, herewith is a photo of the WILLOW from my collection that I hope will be helpful to you.
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks Keith,

                      She may not have been fast but she could throw water with those big sidewheels. And I'm also fascinated by her Union Water Meter gong steam whistle. Not many boats wore those whistles and I always enjoy seeing the ED J. HOWARD's smaller Union Water Meter gong at Howard's.

                      Thanks for sharing the photo!

                      Aaron

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Arron, will you PM me with your email address?

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