(News release) -- If you lived in Louisville during the 1800s, the sight of dozens of riverboats and steamboats on the Ohio River and lining the city's wharf would be a common one. These days, only stories and pictures remain and many Louisvillians have never set eyes on a paddlewheel-packed waterfront. That could change this week, as riverboat fans will have the chance to see four riverboats along a bustling wharf at the same time.
On Thursday, July 25, Louisville will get a small glimpse into what made up an integral part of her past. Along with our own Belle of Louisville and Spirit of Jefferson, the American Queen and the Queen of the Mississippi will make overlapping stops in Louisville as part of their Ohio River excursions.
The American Queen, which made its maiden voyage in 1995, is said to be the largest steamboat ever built. The vessel has six decks and over two hundred staterooms to house overnight guests. The American Queen has been in Louisville before, and even raced the Belle of Louisville during the Kentucky Derby Festival's Great Steamboat Race in 2012.
The Queen of the Mississippi is one of the Mississippi River's newest residents, completed in June 2012. This vessel has more than seventy staterooms, and her twenty-ton paddlewheel is powered by a diesel engine which allows her to cruise at a faster speed than typical river boats.
The Queen of the Mississippi will arrive around 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24th and depart around 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 25. The American Queen will arrive in the early hours of Thursday morning and depart Thursday night at around 10:00 p.m. This means that early birds should be able to enjoy the grand sight of all four boats at the wharf at the same time if they come before 8:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. Of course, as this is river time, the schedules may fluctuate.
The gathering of these boats will be just in time for the Spirit of Jefferson's 50th birthday, July 27, and a little over a year before the Belle of Louisville's 100th birthday celebration, which will bring riverboats from across the country to the Louisville waterfront for a 5-day festival.
For more information about the Belle of Louisville's 100th birthday celebration, visit www.Belles100.com.