The first pieces of the newest version of the Lowell Showboat arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Travelling from Moran Iron Works in Onaway, Michigan, the pieces were unloaded into a fenced holding area behind the Englehardt Library on Monroe Street. They will joined by additional pieces of the boat which are expected to arrive tomorrow.
“Our scope and services [are] we are going to weld it together and get it as an entire boat,” explains Jonathan Grondin, a welder fabricator with Moran Iron Works. “Then we will be putting it into the water.”
The process of assembling the boat will take at least a month, and it could be as long as eight weeks before the boat gets into the Flat River since some heating and cooling elements will need to be added while it’s still on dry land. Then, subcontractors will take over to finish the interior space and exterior façade.
“It’ll be six months from the time it’s in the water ‘til it’s ready to go,” says Carol McGregor, a member of the Re-Build the Lowell Showboat Committee.
McGregor was one of many people who watched from the Riverwalk area as the boat’s two pieces were unloaded. “I am so pleased,” she says. “It’s just how we designed it.”
Unlike previous boats which were constructed primarily from wood, it was decided the sixth Showboat would be made of metal to reduce maintenance costs and increase the boat’s lifespan.
For McGregor, the timing of the boat’s arrival couldn’t be better. She hopes it will provides a much-needed boost to local morale. “We are just so lucky to be having this now,” she says. “It’s going to make the community feel excited again.”
Lowell’s First Look will provide continuing coverage of the progress on the boat’s assembly in the weeks to come.