InDecember of last year, I wrote in my blog about a big celebration planned in Louisville, Kentucky, in the fall of 2014, to honor the 100 year birthday of the steamboat Belle of Louisville. By the grace of God, I was able to be on board the famous boat on October 18, 2014, to be a part of that birthday party!
Thecruise I took was the first one of the morning, and some of the participants chose to participate in a breakfast buffet that was offered in the spacious dining room.
I knew I would be more interested in being out on the deck taking photos, so I chose the "sightseeing only" option for the cruise I took. One of the sights we saw was this huge civil engineering project to construct a new bridge for Interstate 65 across the Ohio River, connecting the states of Indiana and Kentucky. I am eager to return, to drive across that structure when it is completed!
One of the first homes we sailed past, had put out a huge banner with birthday greetings to the "Old Lady" of the river!
Thethree area cities--New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Louisville--of The Belle's home port were all joining in the celebration to welcome the visiting boats from up and down the USA waterways. One of those visiting was the Spirit of Peoria, with its ornate deck rails, banners, window shutters, and paddle wheel.
Oursightseeing cruise took us by river marinas where locals kept their houseboats and "wannabe" paddle wheelers!
We also cruised by the location where the gigantic American Queen ( www.AmericanQueenSteamboatCompany.com ) was moored. This is the largest steamboat ever built and the only authentic paddle wheeler offering overnight trips on the Mississippi River. Though it features the style of classical steamboats, the vessel is also outfitted with modern cabins and dining rooms. Notice how much bigger it is than the Spirit of Peoria which is sailing past her.
We were able to get views of the Louisville skyline after the boat pushed away from Riverfront Park. The tall hotel in the photo---The Galt House---is where I stayed, which was the headquarters hotel for the Centennial Festival of Riverboats. My room had a great view of the Ohio River, as well as the wharf where the Belle of Louisville, and its accompanying ticket office, is moored.
All the boats providing cruises for the Centennial Festival of Riverboats, had re-enactors aboard, dressed in the colorful wardrobes of 100 years ago.
One of the interesting sites we sailed by was the Louisville Water Tower ( www.LouisvilleWaterTower.com ). The tall white tower on the left of the photo is the oldest ornamental water tower in the world, built BEFORE the more famous Chicago Water Tower. Both the white tower and its pumping station are on the National Register of Historic Places. The industrial nature of the water pumping station was disguised in the form of a Greek temple complex. The tower began operation in 1860. The location of the pumping station on the Ohio River made it easy to deliver the coal needed to operate its pumping station. The tower ceased operations in 1909. The building is still used for special functions, and there is a waterworks museum in the west wing of the original pumping station.
This photo shows the Belle of Louisville in front of the city skyline who owns her. Since this famous boat is sort of "the firstborn" of the remaining operational riverboats, I am using the image as a visual aid for my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verse that says, "Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:29. I hope YOU are predestined to get to make a fun trip to the Louisville waterfront sometime in the future! Even if you missed the 100 year birthday party, you can still enjoy an upcoming river festival called "The Great Steamboat Race", held annually in conjunction with the week of the world-famous Kentucky Derby. Just as the Kentucky Derby is always the first Saturday in May, "The Great Steamboat Race", is always held the Wednesday before the Kentucky Derby. The event is free of charge, and you can find out more details from the Kentucky Derby Festival website at www.kdf.org . I am giving thanks that I was able to participate in this great riverboat celebration, and hope such a trip is also in your destiny---it will give you MILES OF SMILES! Tricia