Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Huckin' With Huck: So Long Delta Queen

Unless you seek out the things that make your town unique, you might as well live in Anytown, USA. Cincinnati is definitely not Anytown to me, so when I can, I like to get out and do Cincinnati things, be a tourist in my own hometown. One of the things that make the Queen City the Queen City is its rich history as a rivertown. The historic wooden paddleboat, the Delta Queen, built in 1926, made its last stop in it’s homeport of Cincinnati today. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1989 but unable to continue operating due to fire regulations, at five o’clock today the Delta Queen will steam off to it’s final resting spot down river, possibly in New Orleans. Maybe it’ll make day trips in the future, maybe there’s a tiny chance she’ll come back for the next Tall Stacks festival, but its days as an overnight passenger ship are numbered. As a transplanted Cincinnatian, it was my chance to see a bit of the history in the making. To get as close as possible, I rode my bike down to the public landing on the Ohio River to see her off and take a few photos with my crappy phone camera.

The mood was sort of somber. The 100 or so journalists and people taking pictures were pretty quiet. Alone or in groups of two or three they snapped photos of the big red stern wheel (pictured left), pointed out details of the ornamental wood work to each other, and one couple nearly went for a swim while posing for a the perfect photo with the smoke stack wafting in the background. From what I’ve read, the bell on the Delta Queen is the same bell from the boat that Mark Twain rode on in his travels. The boat is enormous, standing on shore it towered over 4 stories above my head and stretched 176 feet from bow to stern. I couldn’t get it all in one picture, especially with my crappy phone camera.

So, today’s blog isn’t so much about cycling, as it is the things you witness on your bike. Today it was history, Huck Finn type history. So long Delta Queen.

To learn more, here’s the Delta Queen’s Website

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