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The Goldenrod Showboat,
St. Charles, Missouri
Showboat is featured in the Ghost Documentary. GHOST WATERS, which also
features commentary about the riverboat by author Troy Taylor.
Located just west of St. Louis is the historic Missouri River town of St. Charles, Missouri. Here, moored along the banks of the river, is the Goldenrod Showboat. This beautiful theater boat is said to have been one of the last showboats ever built for the Mississippi River. It has been reported that when Edna Ferber first saw the boat many years, she fell in love with it, and it inspired her to write her book , SHOWBOAT, on which the musical was based.
The boat was built in 1909 and was one of the last such vessels to be built for the Mississippi River. It seated more than 1400 people for live shows and was decorated with more than 2500 electric lights. By the 1920's though, it had fallen into disrepair and for many years, it was moored along the St. Louis riverfront to slowly deteriorate.
Then in 1990, the boat was moved to St. Charles and the Goldenrod was grandly restored and renovated. Dinner theater and live shows are still being performed on her stage. But after all the lights have been turned out and the guests have left for the evening.... is the boat really silent and empty? Many of the staff members and performers say that it isn't. They claim that it is haunted by the ghost of a girl in a red dress and she has been seen on many occasions.
She has been nicknamed "Victoria" and she has apparently been around since before the boat was permanently docked in St. Charles. It seems that many years ago, a widower worked on the Goldenrod and he was raising his only daughter on board. They lived in the staterooms where the banquet room is now located. She wanted desperately to be a performer on the boat someday, but her father always rejected this idea. One night, they were docked in St. Louis and had a terrible fight about her performing. The girl stormed off the boat and went walking along the dangerous river front. The next morning, she was found floating dead in the river. She had been brutally attacked and then murdered. Her killers were never found and her father died a short time later, deeply regretting the events that led to his daughter's death.
A short time after she died, people began to report the ghost of a woman in a red dress on the boat. Actors and staff members claim that this ghost is responsible for the strange things that happen here, like doors slamming and items being moved about. Some claim to have even seen the host. Perhaps "Victoria", who never realized her dreams of performing on the Goldenrod during her life, is still lingering in the theater after death....
St. Charles, Missouri is located on Interstate 70, just west of St. Louis. The Goldenrod can be found by taking the Fifth Street exit and turning right in the direction of Main Street. The showboat is just past the Trailshead Brewery on the Missouri River.
Copyright 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
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