Sunday, July 5, 2009
A few months later, on a sunny day at the mouth of the Guyandotte River, I saw the Ohio coming down the Ohio River. It slowed as a motorboat was lowered into the water and came to shore to drop off a crewman and his suitcase. I followed the boat down the river and got some good shots of it passing under the 6th Street bridge.
For a couple of weeks, I followed the Ohio as it traveled up and down the Ohio and onto the Monongahela, hoping to catch it in this area again. You see, the old Ohio River Co. boats with their curved lines and distinctive pilothouses were some of the earliest that I can recall from having grown up on the banks of the Ohio.
Earlier this year, I noticed that some of the boats were appearing less frequently in the lists of those using Ohio River locks. In April, I found them tied to the shore of the Kanawha River about a mile above its mouth, victims of the slowdown in river traffic. This photo was taken from the berm of old U.S. 35 near sunset.
I miss those old boats. The Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and others were instantly recognizable as Ohio River Co. boats, and many times as I lay in bed at night I could recognize them by the sounds of their engines.
I don’t have the time or resources to do a definitive history on this particular class of boat, but I do remember many of them: The Orco (now the Ohio), the L. Fiore (Pennsylvania), Robert P. Tibolt (Indiana), Wm. H. Zimmer, Bob Benter, John Ladd Dean and City of Huntington among them. If I recall correctly, the Bob Benter made history by being the first to use the new locks at the Greenup Locks and Dam in the late 1950s as the dam was being built.
Yesterday, my sons and I saw the Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana tied up at the same spot on the Kanawha. The Pennsylvania and the Indiana may have been out recently, but I think the Ohio has been there for a while. It’s a shame. I prefer the Ohio over the other two because its pilothouse has not been raised and it retains its original lines.
I look forward to shooting these boats again when they’re back on the river.
Here are a couple of photos of them on the river.
First, the Indiana last December as it approached the Gallipolis Locks and Dam:
And the Pennsylvania on Memorial Day weekend as it headed upriver, approaching Gallipolis OH: