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    BOBLO BOATS

    AS of Nov 27 2015 Both boats being restored.Columbias address is 232 11th Street New York 10003 Claires new address is 125 S Dix Street Detroit Mich.Columbia was moved Sept 2015 Claire was moved Nov 5 2015 approx.Both boats are in various restoration stages. The people who are making an effort to restore these 2 icons should be applauded. Donations and volunteers greatly appreciated. Carole Matthews Pompano Beach Fla Lets hear it for the 2 Boblo boats. Full Steam Ahead.

    #2
    *BOBLO boats/Designer Frank E. Kirby*
    Steamboating colleagues:
    Carol, thanks for the squib above on the progress the restoration group is accomplishing with the BOBLO Strs. COLUMBIA and CLAIRE. Both great steam excursion boats when built but with stern props and not traditional sidewheels. I went on line pulling up the restoration web site and it's nicely done, informative with fine pictures. The interior restoration photos striking. I did notice they have rebuilt the staircases now possibly in steel replacing the traditional wood ones no doubt nixed by the Coast Guard for obvious reasons. The plan to have one or the other up and steaming still foggy in my mind up to now. I 'thought' in a shipping journal I receive [But can lay my hands on now here] that at least one would be restored as just a shore based venue. Who out there knows for sure? I never tripped on the BOBLO boat [At times called the 'BOBLOS' or the 'BOB' boats but did see them steaming to and fro]. Again 'a day late and a dollar short.'

    Another interesting aspect is that both the COLUMBIA and CLAIRE were originally designed by the famed marine architect Frank E. Kirby. His brlliant mind and pens on his drawing boards produced these two boat along with his work for the famed D&C LINE's huge sidewheelers running from Detroit to Celveland and other reat Lakes ports. President Theodore Roosevelt's legislation to improve/revamp steamboat/ship construction for fire safety quickly reflected in Kirby's work. Kirby also famed for his design, constructon of icebreakers. There was also by 1915 a fine sidewheel steamer with 'walking beam' engine operating out of Chicago named the FRANK E. KIRBY. This at the time when the steamer EASTLAND capsized in the Chicago River with a horrendous loss of life. The nearby brick building in Chicago used as a holding morgue for the dead later was converted to a TV studio for OWN when she began her TV career. His last work for D&C was the great sidewheel overnight boat the DETROIT III--among other previous boats for the company. Those giant steamers often carried the name GREATER before the city name. She the largest sidewheel steamer in the world soaring up with high decks, long as a 45 story building was tall. They carried 5,000 day excursion trippers and 1,500 in passenger night service. Engines were triple incline expansion engines. One of Kirby's sidewheelers, when put to the test on trials, was claimed to be the fastest in the world. Some claim the famed MARY POWELL on the Hudson River was also a champion speed queen. Our own renowed model builder John Fryant of S&D and I have talked about Frank Kirby over the years. He in the same league with Tom Dunbar here on the rivers who designed, among others, the great sidewheel steamboat CINCINNATI for the L&C LINE out of Cincinnati. Tom Dumbar's Pittsburgh office, by chance, in the same building where Capt. Fred Way and his group had an office for his Str. BETSY ANN.

    The last huge D&C LINE sidewheeler I saw as a kid on/around 1950 or so was by then painted totally white operating as a Great Lakes cruise vessel. Dad walked me down to the lake front in Cleveland to see her while we were killing time for a New York Central train connection. And to say she was huge really WOWED me at the time. May not be 'pure river steamboats' but interesting--I hope. Well, again, what do I know?

    R. Dale Flick
    Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

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