Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘sternwheeler’

Historic Lorena Sternwheeler Cruises the Muskingum River

Lorena On the River (2)

The Lorena Sternwheeler cruises up the Muskingum River.

Drift along the Muskingum River on the Lorena Sternwheeler, a piece of Muskingum County history. Sit back and relax as you take a break from the summer heat while listening to the sounds of the old paddlewheel and watching the world drift by.

Lorena Boarding Station

Boarding the sternwheeler takes place in Zane’s Landing Park in Zanesville.

   Walk the gangway to the sternwheeler at Zane’s Landing Park in Zanesville to start your smooth adventure on the Historic Muskingum River Water Trail. Lorena has a fresh coat of shiny white paint with red trim this year so looks extra special. She can carry seventy-five passengers, as they cruise down the same river that those early settlers traveled.

Mrs. Captain Bill

The Captain’s wife, Becky, serves as Social Director and greets visitors as they board.

   Captain Bill Page and his wife Becky, the social director, will greet you as you board ship. They’ll make sure you enjoy the cruise and are treated as special guests. Captain Bill earned his captain’s license when he had a marina in Florida and two scuba diving centers.

Captain Bill at wheel

Lorena Captain Bill has years of experience behind the wheel of a boat.

   After retirement, he and Becky returned to his hometown of Zanesville, where they were searching for a Captain for their sternwheeler. With a little coaxing, Captain Bill agreed to fill that position until they found someone else. That was fifteen years ago! He’s had 35 years of experience as Captain so you’re in good hands on the Lorena.

Lorena - Original at Putnam Landing

The original Lorena in 1800s is shown here at Putnam Landing.

   The original Lorena was launched on the Muskingum River in 1895 The sternwheeler was named for a love song, “Lorena”, written during the Civil War era by a Zanesville minister. It carried freight and passengers from Zanesville to Pittsburgh and back. Her docking place was at the foot of the canal on the north bank of the Muskingum River just below the Sixth Street Bridge.

   The round trip to Pittsburgh and back took about a week. They usually docked at Pittsburgh for two days to let passengers conduct any business they had on shore. There were even staterooms on board if they chose to stay there, rather than at lodging in town.

   No one seems to be certain what happened to the original Lorena. But those original boats were coal-driven and the boilers on many of them could not handle the switch to diesel.

Lorena Shore Scene

Scenes along the river add to the enjoyment of the trip.

   In 1972, Zanesville decided to search for a paddle wheeler to bring to the Zane’s Trace Commemoration on June 17-19. Their search led them to the Bryce M. located in Arkansas, where it had been used as a tugboat on the Arkansas River. It was renovated to look as close as possible like those boats that traveled the Muskingum in the early 1900s.

Lorena Paddlewheel

Sounds of the paddlewheel follow the Lorena on the river.

   This seemed to be a good promotion for the beautiful Muskingum River, Ohio’s largest inland waterway. Plus it would give area residents and visiting tourists a chance to take a leisurely hour ride on the river at a reasonable charge on the $100,000 sternwheeler.

   In order to arrive in Zanesville, the Lorena had to remove its wheelhouse to pass under the low bridge at McConnelsville, and some other low cables along the way. Though a little late, the Lorena did arrive on Saturday, when it began giving rides on the Muskingum River.

Lorena - Nearly Capsized January '78

This newspaper clipping shows the Lorena nearly capsized during a winter storm in 1978.

   It received worldwide coverage during the Blizzard of ’78 when it was within a quarter-inch of capsizing. This was one of the worst winter storms to hit Ohio in the 20th Century. With 13 inches of snow and winds over 50 mph, temperatures reached sub-zero wind chill. No wonder the Lorena had problems.

Lorena Muskingum River

The Muskingum River stretches from Coshocton to Marietta through a series of locks and dams.

   Cruises last about an hour and travel a three-mile stretch of the Muskingum River. Captain Bill reports that he has seen many varieties of fish and birds, some that he only thought would be in Florida. His sense of humor was evident when he smiled and said, “I haven’t seen an alligator, but I’m still looking.”

Lorena Driver

Kids of all ages enjoy “Steer the Boat Day” with help from Captain Bill.

   There are many events throughout August that you and your family are certain to enjoy. Coupons are being given for various other area attractions when you ride the Lorena. For example: “Libraries Rock” gives you a coupon for a free book at the Muskingum County Library.  On “Steer the Boat Day”, you can become Captain and steer the boat for a short time.  “A Tasty Cruise” provides a bag of Conn’s potato chips to each guest.

   It’s also available for lunch and dinner cruises, birthday and anniversary parties, or just to take your group for a ride down the river.  Meals are provided by Classic Fare Catering, who always provide tasty dishes.

   Parking is free and close to the sternwheeler entrance. Check out their schedule and see when you might be able to enjoy a relaxing ride down the Muskingum River.

The Lorena is docked in Zane’s Landing Park in Zanesville. Exit I-70 and head east a block and turn right onto Market Street. Take Market Street nearly to the end and look for the park entrance on the right-hand side. You’ll be ready to enjoy a ride on the Muskingum River.

 

 

 

 

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Ohio’s Historic Lafayette Hotel – A Haunting Experience

Ohio River at MariettaMay the ghosts be with you while you spend the day or night at the Lafayette Hotel in historic downtown Marietta, Ohio.  Visitors and employees anxiously report stories of paranormal activity in this grand hotel on the banks of the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Back in 1882, river traffic was heavier than it is today. The Ohio River provided the freight and passenger routes for much of the eastern part of the United States. Of course, these riverboat travelers needed a place to get meals as well as a place to spend the night. Here at the meeting place of two major rivers, the Bellevue Hotel was built. This quite modern hotel, for the late 1800’s, had a fast running elevator taking guests to 55 rooms, five of which had baths. Rates at the Bellevue were $2.00 a night

lafayette hotel 013After a fire destroyed the Bellevue Hotel, another hotel was constructed on the original foundation. In 1918 the present triangular shaped Lafayette Hotel opened for business. The name was chosen to honor Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who was believed to be the first tourist to visit Marietta in 1825. There is even a plaque, near the hotel at the edge of the Ohio River, marking the spot where he came ashore.

A popular meeting room bears the name of Rufus Putnam, who many list as the founder of Ohio.  His leadership established Marietta as the first permanent United States settlement in the Northwest Territory.   In a letter sent to his former home, Rufus Putnam described the land along the Ohio River to his friend as: “a country of most pleasant climate and of the rarest beauty and enduring charm”.

Riverview LoungeThe Riverview Lounge is where the “Lady in White”  often appears hovering over the carpet, while she smoothly moves through the room. The bar happens to occupy the same area where the ladies’ dressing room was located  in the original hotel.

When selecting a room in Marietta’s only downtown hotel, you will probably be given a choice of view – either the Muskingum River or the Ohio River. Here the ghost of Mr. Durward Hoag, former owner of the hotel, watches over guests and staff from both directions. Sometimes guests feel an icy cold draft pass through their well heated room. Evidence of his presence appears in flashing light bulbs, rearranged papers, hidden objects,  and often merely a wisp of light. Maybe Mr. Hoag’s spirit is bored!

When speaking with recent visitors, footsteps were reported outside their door, but no one was in evidence. The elevator, carrying no passengers, left the floor a couple times during the evening and headed to the rooftop. Later that night when they were in bed, another couple felt someone jump in the center of the bed where they were resting. All guaranteed they had not visited the Riverview Lounge.

Gun RoomThe Gun Room is a popular place for lunch. The walls are adorned with photos of great majestic sternwheelers that traveled the Ohio River.  A display of antique long rifles contains one made by J.J. Henry that accompanied the Benedict Arnold expedition to Canada in 1775. Waitresses tell of coming in early to work and seeing a figure leaving the front section of the restaurant. Often the swinging doors to the kitchen open for no reason at all. Some feel that Mr. Hoag is checking on his staff.  On the plus side, these spirits are never harmful.

Enjoy the ambience of this richly historical Lafayette Hotel on the river sometime soon. They have been expecting you for nearly a hundred years!

The Lafayette Hotel is located  at 101 Front Street in Marietta, Ohio. Exit I-77 at Exit 1 and follow Route 7 South, which is also Pine Street.  At the third light, Pine Street continues straight and becomes Green Street. Continue on Green Street until you come to the hotel on the corner of Green Street and Front Street. Parking is available between the hotel and the Ohio River as well as on the other side of the hotel.

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