The Goldenrod Showboat and the end of an era -

The Goldenrod Showboat and the end of an era

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St. Louis, Mo. ( -- "End of an era" is a major understatement when you're talking about a boat that has been around since 1909.

The Goldenrod Showboat has a rich history that spans over 100 years. From 1909 to 1937, the beautiful boat went from town to town, performing shows like melodramas and radio shows for the people and then moving on. It would travel on the northern rivers in the summer and southern rivers in the winter. 

In 1937 it was sent to St. Louis for repairs and ended up staying in the area for the remainder of it's life.  Until 1983, it was a riverfront staple that was docked underneath the arch where it took part in many entertainment ventures and the famous Goldenrod Showboat Ragtime Jazz Festival.

For the better part of the last decade, there had been hope to restore the Goldenrod to it's original glory and once again cruise the river systems of the Midwest. Unfortunately, the Goldenrod will never again travel from town to town bringing on passengers for a night of fun entertainment.  

Those days are long gone and hope for a new beginning has slipped away. Without a large donor, the fate of the old boat has been decided as it is scheduled to be scrapped in April. 

"We've decided we are going to preserve the interior as much as we can," says Jake Medford.  Medford is the is the vice president of The Historic Riverboat Preservation Association, the not-for-profit corporation working to preserve the interior artifacts of the Goldenrod Showboat.  Medford has been working hard to get the old showboat moving again, but he says the project is a very big one and there wasn't a person or group that could take it on. 

A handful of volunteers are hard at work carrying items off of the boat, which rests on the banks of the Illinois River in Kampsville, IL. 

"What we're doing now is pulling everything out that means anything to the Goldenrod, " says Medford. He hopes to have some of those pieces go to museums over the summer and hopes to open a museum in the future that could house the artifacts from the interior of the Goldenrod. 

Medford says you have until March 31 to take a Sunday drive to Kampsville, IL to see what remains of the Goldenrod Showboat, a national historic landmark. They are also planning a "Celebration of Life" event for the Goldenrod Showboat on March 31 at 11 a.m. 

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