It’s been more than 18 months since the last Showboat left the Flat River. However, the space along the Riverwalk is no longer vacant. It was an all-day affair yesterday, but Lowell Showboat VI is now is place and ready for work to begin on its windows, doors and interior.
Here’s a look back at the process of getting the boat from the land into the water. Our thanks to Bruce Doll for sharing his photos from the day. Doll also created a time lapse video that you can view on Facebook.
In July, the sixth edition of the Showboat arrived in pieces from Onaway, Michigan where Moran Iron Works had fabricated the hull.
Workers then spent weeks assembling the boat on land next to the library.
Once assembled, the boat was painted.
That brings us to yesterday, when it was time to move the boat from dry land to the Flat River. Before that was done, the boat was christened by local officials and members of the Showboat Committee. Shown above, from left to right, is a representative of Moran Iron Works, Lowell City Manager Mike Burns, Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Baker and Lowell Showboat Committee members Mark Mundt and Carol McGregor.
Then, workers began the slow work of moving the boat from its resting place, over this ramp and into the water.
To do that, airbags were placed under the boat to raise the boat and encourage it to inch forward.
As the airbags were adjusted lower in the front and higher in the back, the boat began to slide forward. Ropes were tied to some machinery to ensure the boat didn’t move too fast. Slow and steady are the words to describe this operation.
The boat reached the Flat River…
…and a crowd watched from the shore as the entire boat made it into the water.
After that, the paddlewheel was attached.
Since the Lowell Showboat will be stationary and doesn’t have a motor, it had to be pulled back into place. Workers achieved this with a pulley system using a rope attached to an SUV.
Once it started moving backward, it didn’t take long to get the boat to its rightful place.
By 5pm, the new Lowell Showboat was parked alongside the Riverwalk. However, it will still be some time before residents can get onboard. The next step is to add trims and finish the interior.