Statement from City Manager Mike Burns Regarding the Showboat

We received the following from City Manager Mike Burns after contacting him regarding the name Robert E. Lee appearing on the Showboat.  

As you know, we have received a grant from the State of Michigan to build a new Showboat. For much of this year, a committee has been considering new names for the boat, which we expect to begin building next year. While most of West Michigan refers to it simply as the Lowell Showboat, we recognize that the name is offensive to many. We will be taking steps this week to remove the name on the boat.


  1. I grew up in Lowell, I graduated in 2010, and even as a young kid I saw the showboat and it gave me a bad taste in my mouth. Why did a beautiful showboat have a name that has nothing to do with our town on it? I think that we’ve forgotten the history behind the original naming, and it’s time we make our own, more positive history. It will also be a relief to not have to explain why we have a showboat named the Robert E. Lee to people new to Lowell anymore.

  2. Obviously the city of Lowell is run by a bunch of morons. First of all the Civil War didn’t start over slavery and some 30,000 blacks wore the southern Uniform and fought for the south. Like it or not the war was a part of our history.
    When they make stupid decisions like this it doesn’t deter racism or white supremacy groups, it encourages them.

    • If the show Dukes of Hazzard were on tv today parents wouldn’t let their kids watch it because the car they drove was named General Lee. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  3. Our ancestors, whoever they are or wherever they came fromare part of our national heritage. History is the greatest educator of all. Many changes have been made because of things that happened in history and when significant sections are removed because they offfend people the book of our nation is incomplete and the foundations for current decisions are gone. This doesn’t happen in other countries. The ruins of the Roman colliseum are still standing and honored by that area. People flock to see them. The many people who were massacred there is a sad thing, but the history is embraced as something to learn from. The nazi prisons still stand and the history of that time is still remembered, not removed from their books. The lessons learned from that time are a reminder that we don’t want to go there again. What about the heros from that time? If the history is washed away, so are the stories of those brave people. History is history and teaches us how to live and how not to live. I’m thankful for the lessons we learned from the civil war. It shows us that we NEVER want to go there again. Take that memory and lessons learned away away and we will find ourselves repeating the same mistakes.

  4. Who does it offend..the blacks? Or the whites wanting to appease the blacks? The blacks that fought with the confederacy along with Robert E Lee should be offended. Others countries embrace their history, why is everyone here so eager to abolish it?

  5. I love this town but I have to say I disagree with renaming the Lowell Showboat. I also disagree with tearing down Confederate statues and the big hoopla of the Confederate flag. It is part of our history. Yes, it may not be pleasant at times. but should we tear down everything that we don’t agree with? Will the next thing be anything to do with the Native Indians? I don’t say Native Americans because they were here before it became America. With all that going on in our world today, why make a fuss on destroying traditions. There was a Civil War, the South lost, and Robert E Lee played a major role. Let the past be recognized as it should be. IT IS OUR HISTORY. It shouldn’t be forgotten. Don’t remove it from so future generation will not know.

  6. If it were offensive to you, personally, you would want it changed. I know that we can come up with a better name if we work together! It is time!

    • Yes! I’m way late to this but I think I’m going to fight for Ivan’s name. People of Lowell don’t realize how King Milling, Engelhardt, (whom both have names represented in Lowell) and Blough have helped shape this city and our families. Ivan Blough’s name should be part of Lowell history and I think the showboat, which he dedicated so much time/labor and love to, would be the best thing to represent him and his love for this city. This boat could and should be in his honor and show our pride as a city and represent a sliver of how we came to be who we are.

  7. Thank you Mike Burns! As a resident of the community, I’d much rather see the showboat name have some meaningful local connection. A boat named after another boat named after a confederate leader does not equal local history.

  8. My grandma would be so disappointed in this. She was born and raised in Lowell and her favorite landmark was the show boat. My grandma took me there as a child and I took my daughter there. When is this non sense going to end. She is looking down from Heaven shaking her head in dismay. Leave it as it is.

  9. Let me guess, it’s someone not born and raised in Lowell that has the problem, right?
    Let it be, it’s history! Or are we to erase that also?

  10. You’re removing the name on the boat prior to dismantling it?

    People are so sensitive about things these days. The boat has been the Robert E. Lee since the 2nd boat was built. Why now is it urgent. Even if we name it the Doris Day someone will be offended.

  11. I am ashamed of my home town, when does this end? Next is the memorial for the vets will have to come down because someone does not like it……..This should be put to a VOTE!

  12. So I think maybe the public should have a say in this, before a decision is made? This makes me angry, and I know others will be is a part of history and you are erasing it!

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