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SPRAGUE Roof Bell

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    SPRAGUE Roof Bell

    I had a call from Vicksburg this morning seeking the whereabouts of the roof bell from the mighty steam towboat SPRAGUE. Hard to believe that next spring will mark the 40th anniversary of the 1974 fire that all but destroyed the mighty sternwheeler, leaving the hull, main deck and paddlewheel.

    While I remember seeing the roof bell during visits on board prior to the blaze, it sticks in my mind that I heard the bell fell down through the decks and melted in the fire. There was a smaller bell on display in the cabin ("River Hall of Fame") that survived the fire and is now exhibited at the Old Courthouse Museum, but the search is for the BIG bell that was forward of the pilothouse.

    Anybody have any information???

    #2
    Aboard the Mighty Steamer SPRAGUE - 41 years ago!

    I dug into my archives and came up with two faded color snapshots that I took in March, 1972 aboard the SPRAGUE with my little Kodak Brownie Fiesta camera.

    The first image was taken from the pilothouse with the roof bell seen in the distance. It's spring high water time on the Yazoo. The second view is of a smaller bell that was displayed down in the cabin where steamboat models in encased dioramas, photographs of riverboats and oil portraits of famous river people comprised the "River Hall of Fame". This bell survived the fire and is today on display at Vicksburg's Old Court House Museum.

    I took the third image at the Old Court House Museum on June 2, 1983. The bell appears, mounted on a wooden box, in the center of the photo. The weathervane from the jackstaff of the SPRAGUE, the plates from her bitts and several other artifacts from "Big Mama" are also in view.
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      #3
      Maybe Jack Custer would know of the bells fate.

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