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THE BELLE OF LOUISVILLE,
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IDELWILDE/AVALON/BELLE OF LOUISVILLE

Official Web Site for the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE

The Belle of Louisville is in left foreground.  Click To Enlarge
From The Gallery
Of
Michael Blaser
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Type: steel hull, sternwheel packet/excursion boat Size: Originally, 157.5 X 36 X 5 Complete specs Launched: 1915, Jan. 8, by James Rees and Sons, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Destroyed: The BELLE of LOUISVILLE is now a National Historic Vessel. Area: 1915, Jan. - 1925, November, ferry service, Memphis to Hopefield Point, Arkansas : * 1918-25, Possibly ferried wood for Salalee Brothers Mill in Pocahontas, Arkansas. : Starting 1925, Nov., ferry service, Cairo and Bird's Point, Missouri, then to New Orleans for excursions, then to St. Louis for work on U. Miss. and Ill. Rivers. 1928, sold to New St. Louis and Calhoun Packet Company of Hardin, Illinois. Did barge toewing and excursion work out of Louisville, Kentucky
Belle2
Then Click on picture to enlarge
1931, was chartered to the Rose Island Company 1947, Apr. Became AVALON and started tramping up and down rivers between Omaha, Nebraska, New Orleans, Stillwater, Min., Joliet, Ill., Charleston, W.V. and Knoxville, Tenn. doing excursion and towboat work. 1962 on , off and on excursion work as BELLE OF LOUISVILLE Owners: 1915, West Memphis Packet Company 1925, Nov. 7, Purchased by Tri-State Ferry Company of Cairo, Illinois. 1928, Purshased by St. Louis and Calhoun Packet Company of Hardin, Illinois 1931, chartered to the Rose Island Company. 1947, Apr., Purshased by Gorsage J. Herod of Peoria, Ill. who renamed her AVALON. 1950, Sold to Steamer Avalon, Inc.
Belle3 1998 Click on picture to enlarge
1950s, mid to late, receivership to a printing company that held notes against Steamer Avalon Co. 1962, May 24, Purchased at auction by Jefferson County, Ky. Fiscal Court ??At one time owned by Streckfus ?Steamers/Line?? Presently (2006), Louisville –Jefferson County, KY Metro Government Captain(s): * 19?18?- 1925, Wood, T.O. : 1947, Aug 10: Winters, Ben : 1948-62, sometime during, tirp pilot was Capt. Leon Ash : Early 1960s? Hawley, Clarke (Doc) : 1961, Ernest E. Wagner : 19??, Edgar F. Mabrey 1999, Mike Fitzgerald, Pete O'Connell, Eddie Mattingly and Kevin Mullen Comments: 1947, Aug 10: took first moonlight excursion after W.W. II. 1947, Aug.: Capt Ben Winters, 87, suffered heart attack and died aboard after local sheriff raided the boat in La Cross, Wis.. Illegal slot machines were aboard. 1948: Renamed AVALON at the death-bed request of Capt. "Ben". 1961: still doing excursionsunder Streckfus Line. 1962: Feb.: filed for bankruptcy. 1962: Sold to city of Louisville, Ky.. 1962, Oct. 14, rechristened BELLE OF LOUISVILLE under joint operation of Jefferson County and the city of Louisville, Ky. Present: Excursion boat. : The BELLE OF LOUISVILLE is one of two remaining steam powerered paddlewheelers in this country. She is a National Historic Landmark. See: National Historic Landmark Vessel for lots of the boat's history. : For more history see Riverboats had Long Glorious Journey : Unofficial Web Site:Please visit this one to see near-sinking and the ensuing recovery project. : Note from Ralph Mabrey : Kentucky Derby time. The 1996 race
: * 1999, May 2, From site visitor Carolyn Boone: "I am researching steamboats that my grandfather Capt. T.O.Wood served on. He ferryed wood for Salalee Brothers Mill in Pocahontas, Arkansas from about 1918 until l925. The name of the steamboat was the Idlewild. I am sure that it is the very Idlewild mentioned in your information about steam-boats. All the information seems to fit. He was also Captain of the Quickstep and the Geneva. My mother who is 82 was born on the Geneva in 1917. She was named after the Geneva. We found a picture of the Geneva covering two stories at a museum in Ark. I could see my grandfather on the top deck. The owners of the mill are also searching for the Idlewild. I am sending the picture of the Idlewild to my mother. She will recognize the old boat. I understand that when the whistle blew and the Idlewild came around the bend many of the community would go down to the river to welcome her home."
A wonderful memory of the IDELWILD

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