Monday, March 18, 2013

The "Ghost Ship"



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The slow, choppy waters erratically splash up against the obstruction - an off beat rhythm banging into an island of rusted steel. As the Ohio River flows towards the Mississippi, its waters lazily make their way through the American midwest. Roughly 25 miles downstream from Cincinnati, some of the water diverts to a gap on the southern shore into a creek and up against a ship that seems to have docked for the last time. It's a vessel that fought in two World Wars, served as a yacht, set the scene in a pop star's music video, carried one of the world's greatest minds, and shuttled tourists around the nation's largest city - all before it found itself left to be forgotten by time and history in the murky waters.



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- The "ghost ship."

It's been over a century since the ship seen here was originally launched in 1902. It's a vessel that has been known by many names. The most recent one however, can still be found in the faded paint on its hull: Circle Line V. When Matt spotted the ship resting quietly in the creek below the road, it was quite a sight to see, even more so once we got to the shoreline and saw things up close. Actually seeing a "shipwreck" was impressive enough, but the full gravity of the ship's significance hadn't quite set in and wouldn't until after we were gone.

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- Looking down the tributary towards the Ohio River.

I'm certainly not the first person to find the ship, nor am I the first to photograph it, and not the first to see it. The internet is rife with stories of kayakers paddling up to it, geocachers hiding mementos in the wreckage, and shotgun wielding locals who aren't afraid to fire at trespassers. I had known about the vessel for awhile, but never seemed to find the time to go looking for it until recently. In all the years I've been exploring, documenting and photographing abandoned places; the ghost ship known as the Circle Line V is by far one of the coolest things I've seen with my own eyes and through a lens.

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- An old rope still holding the "ghost ship" in place.

To understand why the Circle Line V is significant and just how the hell it ended up in a creek near Cincinnati, we need to start at the beginning in Wilmington, Delaware. On April 12, 1902, the ship was  launched as the Celt. Commissioned as a luxury yacht by a railroad executive, she was 186 feet long and steam powered. After changing owners, she was renamed the Sachem.

- The "ghost ship" when it was known as the Celt, a private yacht. Image via: Navsource.org.

When World War I broke out in 1914, Germany's only hope of defeating the British Empire was dependent upon cutting supply lines from North America. German submarines known as U-Boats patrolled the Atlantic hoping to sink as many allied shipments as possible, attempting to starve Britain's economy and industry. In 1917, the Germans adopted a policy of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare. Believing that the United States would soon enter the war, German U-Boats began targeting any and all vessels suspected of carrying supplies to Britain. For the first time in modern warfare, the submarine played a key role. It was a deadly and effective weapon that could strike without any kind of warning and was nearly impossible to counter. As America prepared to join the war on the Allied side, the US Navy realized that they needed to find new ways to counter the below water threat, both in the war zone and at home.

The Navy began renting small, fast private craft that could potentially outmaneuver and spot enemy submarines - supplementing the American fleet both on supply convoys and for protection in homeland harbors. In July of 1917, the Navy acquired the Sachem and dubbed it the USS Sachem (SP 192). The ship was outfitted with depth charges to sink submerged U-Boats and machine guns to counteract torpedoes. Despite President Wilson's usage of H.G. Wells' famous phrase "The war to end war," the United States government realized that submarines would be a threat in not just the current conflict, but any future ones. New and creative ways to defend against them needed to be developed, so they turned to Thomas Edison.

- Famed inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Image via: Wikipedia
Edison was one of the world's most profound inventors and businessmen. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park," many of Edison's inventions came to greatly influence the industrial world - most notably the advent of modern electricity. He seemed to be the perfect guy to come up with a creative way to destroy submarines, but in order to do that he needed a ship. So the Navy gave him the USS Sachem.

Edison's use of the USS Sachem is confirmed by letters from his wife to various corespondents while aboard the ship. The letters are on record at Rutgers University. Edison would use the vessel to conduct experiments around New York Harbor before eventually sailing it to Key West, Florida and the Caribbean.

- The USS Sachem undergoing dry dock repairs in Key West, Florida during the time of Edison's research. Image via Navsource.org

Edison's relationship with the navy was tumultuous. In a 1923 article, he told a newspaper reporter that the Navy "pigeon-holed" every invention he offered. With the war ending in November 1918, so did Edison's funding. He returned to his other business ventures and the Navy returned the Sachem to the owner they had been renting it from.

As the post-World War I years went on, the Sachem changed hands a few times, eventually becoming a  recreational fishing vessel under the command of Captain Jacob "Jake" Martin of Brooklyn, New York.

- Captain Martin circa 1925. According to the original caption, he was preparing to shoot a shark. It is unconfirmed, but assumed that the vessel seen here is the Sachem, given that it seems to be the only boat Captain Martin owned on record at the time. Image via: Getty Images
Martin had taken advantage of the Great Depression when he purchased the Sachem in 1932. Luxurious yachts that had once been available only to the upper crust of society could now be purchased at ridiculously low prices. Like many captains, Martin opened up his recently purchased ship to anyone willing to pay $2.00 to board it. Some came to party, others came to catch fish in order to feed their families. 
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- Forward view of the ship in its current abandoned state.
On December 7, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack against the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day, America declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on America to which the United States reciprocated. America's involvement in Word War II had begun. Faced with an even greater U-Boat threat than before, America was once again in need of ships that could guard the homefront. The Navy rented the Sachem a second time, re-outfitted it with armaments and christened it the USS Phenakite (PYc-25) in July 1942.

The Phenakite acted as a training and patrol vessel. Anti-submarine tactics had advanced drastically since Edison had been onboard. By now, Sonar was in practical use. During the day, the Phenakite would take on sailors training to use the sonar equipment, by night she patrolled Key West harbor. Eventually the ship was assigned to guarding Long Island Sound in New York where she served out the rest of the war before being returned to Captain Martin and reverting to its original name of Sachem.

- The Sachem in 1949 after being renamed as SightseerImage via Navsource.org

Right before the war's end in the summer of 1945, several tourism cruise lines merged to form Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises in New York City. Anxious to add more boats to the new company, the Sachem was purchased from Captain Martin and became the flagship of the new Circle Line fleet. The Sachem was renamed Sightseer. Over the years, Circle Line and its vessels provided millions of visitors with tours around New York City. At some point, Sightseer came to be known as the Circle Line V and received the paint scheme that can be seen faded on the abandoned ship's hull today.


 ABOVE: Circle Line V sailing in New York City. Note the vessel's paint scheme (Image via Navsource.org).
BELOW: Circle Line V as it appears today, its paint scheme still visible even after being abandoned for over two decades.





ABOVE: Circle Line V in better days cruising New York's East River (Image via: Navsource.org).
BELOW: The Circle Line V name can still be seen on the abandoned boat.



Eventually the Circle Line company's operation grew to a demand that the Circle Line V could no longer meet. Sometime in the early 1980's, with the ship having been in continued use for nearly eight decades, she was cut from the Circle Line fleet and left at an abandoned pier in New Jersey. Circle Line Sightseeing tours still exists today, operating nine vessels, several bus tours and accommodating over 2,000 visitors daily.

- Circa 1983 photograph of the Circle Line V resting along an abandoned New Jersey pier after being sold off by Circle Line Tours.  Image via Navsource.org

Enter Robert Miller in 1986. A Cincinnati resident, Miller was looking to buy an old steam yacht and had come across the Circle Line V sitting idle in New York's Hudson River. The vessel's owner at the time sold it to Miller for $7,500. Miller told The Kentucky Enquirer (an article that is now behind a paywall, but freely viewable via The Wisconsin State Journal) in 2011 that it took him ten days to repair the boat and get it seaworthy again. One day while working on the ship, a limousine pulled up to the dock. A representative of Madonna greeted him, asking to use the Circle Line V as a background element in one of the wildly popular pop star's upcoming music videos. The ship ended up having a cameo in the video for Madonna's single "Papa Don't Preach."

- Screen cap of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" music video. The Circle Line V's bow is viewable at the left.
The ship is clearly identifiable in one brief scene from the video. If you can stomach just how bad of a song it is, you can see for yourself on YouTube here.

On July 4, 1986, President Ronald Reagan symbolically relit the torch of the Statue of Liberty at the iconic landmark's rededication ceremony. The day was celebrated with musical performances and a massive fireworks display. Miller and his Circle Line V were there, loaded up with partygoers enjoying the celebration. Not long after, Miller planned to bring the ship back to a plot of land he had purchased in Northern Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. It would prove to be the ship's final voyage.

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- One of the ship's decks.

Miller and a small crew navigated the ship from New York City, through the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi River and onto the Ohio River. About 20 miles west of Cincinnati, he turned the boat down a creek into a small tributary of the Ohio on his property. The vessel has sat in that spot ever since.

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- Stairs that once lead to one of the sightseeing decks.

Matt and I headed down a rural road. As we got closer to the GPS mark, I told Matt to keep an eye out. Before I could even finish my sentence, he exclaimed: "There it is!" Down in the woods off the road we could see it, an abandoned ship.

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- The ship as seen from the rear.

We weren't sure who owned the boat anymore or the land on which it sat. The internet stories of armed locals who readily discharged their weapons at curious explorers seemed exaggerated. Nevertheless, parking the car alongside the road would've been pretty obvious and we weren't there to bother anyone. We drove up to some of the nearby houses, knocking on doors in an attempt to get permission to go down to the boat. No one was home at any house we tried, so we decided to kill some time across the river in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
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- The bow of the ship.

Looking across the river at where we had just been, we noted just how wide the river actually was. With us having no experience kayaking, the thought of paddling across the body of water in a tiny boat seemed crazy. Much respect to those who have kayaked to the ship before.

We eventually headed back in the car to see if anyone had come home. Eventually, we spoke with a few locals who weren't sure who owned the boat or property, but didn't mind if we went down to see it after we explained our intentions to photograph the ship and write an article. Apparently, there had been problems recently with scrap thieves attempting to cut metal off the abandoned ship.

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- Trees have started to grow around the ship.

Even without knowing the ship's vast history, its a pretty awe inspiring sight to take in. We knew it had served in two wars, been a tourism boat and had heard rumors about Thomas Edison using it, but we hadn't done much research before looking for it.

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- Aft view of the ship.

There, right before us, in the quiet woods sat a 186 foot long ship. The water flowing in from the river smacked up beside it as it sat partially submerged and listing to one side. The engine is long gone and silent, any ornamentation is now absent and the faded letters of its Circle Line V title could still be seen on the hull.

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- According to those who live nearby, scrap thieves have been a problem as they've tried to cut metal from the ship's hull. Here, a discarded cut of metal lays on the ground.

We walked along the muddy riverbank, searching for a way to cross the creek or walk onto the ship, but we came up short. The water was too deep, the temperature too cold and the camera too expensive to risk for a day of swimming. We had to enjoy our view of the boat from land.

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The ship has been sitting there for so long, vegetation is growing on its decks. The porthole glass has been busted and rusted out stairs that once lead to a sightseeing deck now lead nowhere. She's sat abandoned and decaying in these murky water for nearly 27 years.

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As rain falls outside the window of where I write this article, I know that it's also falling on the ghost ship - further rusting it, contributing to the water flowing around it. 110 years since the boat launched in Delaware, it came to a final resting place in a creek outside of Cincinnati. After countless passengers, two World Wars and ferrying millions of tourists on sightseeing jaunts, the ship itself has become a sight to behold. It in itself is a ruin of the past, a symbol of history in a condition that doesn't seem fit for the story behind it. After everything the Celt/Sachem/Phenakite/Sightseer/Circle Line V saw in its day, it's now something for us to see, to marvel at. A ruin of the past hidden in a creek.

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204 comments:

  1. Great article! Well researched and written, and fantastic photos. I want to go looking for it myself now.

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    1. Thanks GK. If you go looking, just be polite to the locals.

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    2. Please, don't be so formal. Just call me Gassy.

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    3. I have to agree, very well written. thanks for the history lesson.

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    4. I thought it was great and the pictures were wonderful...thanks so much for sharing...it really is amazing!!

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    5. I know exactly where this ship is, use to live there. Now some of the property owners. It was fascinating as a kid. It' s easier to get to in the summer water is low and you can almost walk all the way to it. I knew some history behind it however didn't know it was that extensive. Amazing!

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    6. Wow what a great and interesting article. Thank you for the knowledge you put on me about this great vessel and also the great pictures. Maybe one day I can experience the same thing you did when seeing this great part of history.

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    7. Please explain from a waterborne navigational route how that craft got from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi river and then to the Ohio river?
      Not POSSIBLE!
      Any idiot who understands simple river navigation would KNOW there is NO navigable tributary from ANY GREAT LAKE that connects DIRECTLY to the Mississippi River...

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    8. They built canals for that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Loop

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    9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Sanitary_and_Ship_Canal

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    10. More, here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inland_waterways_of_the_United_States

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    11. Mike Schmaus was just served a hot plate of shut up.

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    12. hey Mike, any idiot who can call other people idiots in article comments can probably also manage to google "water routes from the Great Lakes to the Mississippe" before making such stupid comments. And by the way, you're spelling your last name incorrectly. It's supposed to be "Schmuck" apparently.

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    13. Thanks very much. Have you done any research on the Rose Island amusement park just down stream??

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    14. II GUESS MIKE SCHMAUSS YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT RIVER NAVIGATION.MY FRIEND BRINGS THREE STERN WHEELERS TO CINCINNATI FROM THE GREAT LAKES FOR THE TALL STACKS CELEBRATION AND HE HAS NO TROUBLE COMING FROM THE GREAT LAKES BY WAY OF THE MISS. RIVER

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    15. Cal-Sag Channel in Chicago will get you there.

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    16. Nice job on the article. I was the last Mate to sail on the V in NYC in 1976. It was a great vessel to work on. Your accounts of her history is pretty much spot on. Thanks for keeping the old girl alive.
      Mike D

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    17. OK so Mike says "any idiot who understands simple river navigation would KNOW there is NO navigable tributary from ANY GREAT LAKE that connects DIRECTLY to the Mississippi River...". I agree.
      Let me say that any intelligent person who understands simple river navigation knows that THERE IS a navigable tributary from any Great Lake to the Mississippi River. I guess Mike that makes you an idiot.

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    18. I found this article pretty interesting especially since I live in N. Ky. I would love to get directions to see the ship myself.

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    19. I would like to explore the viability of resurrecting this ship. I don't know if its possible, but if we can raise a little bit of funds we can have her evaluated. So who would like to help, and see what we can do? All we can do is try, maybe she is to far gone. But I hope not because she is Americana, and after 110 years I would love to she her sea worthy once again. But there is a few factors consider, but like a onion we have to peal a couple of layers back to see.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/672086036167142/

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    20. Maybe start a salvage operation to save a piece of history. Start a program with people contributing to the saving of this historical vessel. Surely there would be persons of interest to contribute to the saving and resurrection of such a vessel as this one. I would be one person to try and help.

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    21. Being from the Ohio River area, (but further up river) it would be great to see her saved and running up and down the river once in a while.

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    22. I live in Northern Ky. and was wondering if the creek you are referring to is Banklick Creek ?

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    23. Went there yesterday, was actually really cool and good research, we were all wondering how it got there, Thank you. Does anyone know any other places to "explore" around the northern Kentucky area? Looking for a thrill.

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    24. it is still there me and my daughter went there today, be wary of the locals its posted and they are not the talkative type, as far as the boat its a little worse for wear that in the above pics but mostly the same,we didn't go on it but took some photos, seams soo very errie sitting there hidden in the small creek,

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    25. I WONDER COULD IT BE REFLOATED? HOW BAD IS THE HULL IT SHOULD NOT GO TO SCRAP

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  2. Excellent post! Thank you.

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  3. Excellent story, research and photos. Have known of it, but not about it, and have yet to visit it. Would love to pull it out and restore it! Really great post. Thanks.

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    1. I think in restored condition it'd be great to cruise up and down the riverfront for tours.

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    2. I, think that anyone who has the opportunity to Magistrate that would be Honored Like A "KING". I just don't understand that with all that history behind her she isn't in a MUSEUM somewhere where she can be rivaled over. I love the photo's && the History. Thank you for bringing out the better years gone by. If, you could make History return again to the Beauty she once was that would be Awesome. Or, even better than that why doesn't some "WEALTHY" person have it sent to a reef for it to be put to a better purpose. Your story mentioned it once sailed through the "KEYS" wouldn't that be just an awesome place to return her to for all to enjoy instead of wasting away & being further destroyed by ignorant people. I ( Mary Lou Westbrooks.) of Bradenton, Florida & Gulf Bay of Mexico waters South West Florida off of Coquina, Bradenton, & Anna Maria Islands... would love to have it be a sight to add to the Sarasota Bay where they have recently made & are making Coral Reefs to be enjoyed for Snorkelers & Scuba Divers to enjoy. Thank you for your excellent view on History and being able to share it with all.

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  4. Indeed, a great article with a fascinating story that makes me CARE about this old boat's history. Book worthy this post is, Ronny.

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  5. Where's Robert Miller in this tale? You need to find him and get the rest of the story. Good work; interesting read.

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    1. I wouldn't even know where to begin looking. Would love to hunt him down and ask him a few questions though. Any idea where to start?

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    2. Propery records are usually open to the public and help full to find were some may have moved to could also google his name but may give several results and running them all down could be challenging

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    3. Yes, where is R. Miller?? Much more to the story... Fascinating as it is, though. TY

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  6. Hey us locals aren't so bad! Thanks for posting the article! Can't believe the history of this ship, so interesting.

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    1. Were you one of the folks we talked to the other day? And you're right, everyone we met was very cool.

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    2. Hello Sammy! I am a portrait photographer here in Cincinnati and i'd love to be able to come take photo's around this ship. I in no way want to disturb the scenery and will be doing ZERO modifications (unlike many people). Is there anybody i need to talk too in order to be allowed to do this.

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    3. I know exactly were this ship is you can get pics from the road in the winter or fall I live locally no one is going to shoot @ you . EG

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    4. where is it?

      abbie.brown@yahoo.com

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  7. I've always loved maritime history and this article was very well written about the Circle Line V. Who would have ever thought something this cool would be this close to Cincy!?

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    1. I had no idea there'd be so much history behind it. Years ago when I first saw photos of it, I assumed it was just some shitty freighter or something.

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  8. Just got sent this article from a friend and I ab blown away by how great it is, any chance you can post the coordinates so may also go take some pictures?

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  9. N 39° 04.636 W 084° 50.896
    UTM: 16S E 686128 N 4327554

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    1. Google Earth lists it as an historical point, but the greenery prevents being able to see the ship.

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    2. Use Yahoo maps, their satellite view was in winter with no leaves on the trees. It is clearly visible, a few hundred feet from the Ohio.

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    3. Lawrenceburg Ferry Rd, right past the lake, on the left. Easy to see in early spring and winter. It is a shame to see that old girl is such bad shape. But it was wonderful to be that close to history.

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  10. Fascinating. It's one thing to see amazing photos of an old ship, quite another to read a well-researched and well-written article about the ship's colorful past (complete with photos from decades ago). I'm glad I've discovered this blog!

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  11. Great story! What a rich history that ship has. Sad that ended up where it is. The fact that he was able to pilot it there (not towed?) is cool.

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  12. Good article, pretty accurate, i should know, its my boat! This is Robert Miller and if you have any more questions give me an email. I hope you can retrive it, as i don t want it published in your web site. I have been working with Maria and Tommy La Rosa and there non profit foundation, the D'Andrea/ La Rosa foundation trying to get funds for restoration in order to provide a great piece of americana history in the form of a museum.

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    1. Hey Butch!!! Its Tommy Barry (Sandy Hook). I'll Never Forget The Summer On The Sachem At The Abandoned Stapleton Pier. 1986. Congradulations My Friend, You Made The Voyage And Arrived Home With Her! Truly Amazing! Its Both Sad & Hauntingly Beautiful To See The Sachem Like This. But Quite Interesting...Kinda Like The Titanic-But In A Jungle ~ LOL. I'll Make A Donation To The D'Andrea/LaRosa Foundation For Restoration. The Sachem Was Your Dream. I Have A Scrapbook Of Memories That I Treasure, Numerous Photos & Articles On The Sachem. The Morning You Sailed Away & Teddy & I Let Your Lines Go, Man It Was A Sight To See!! But Then We Were Left Standing There Alone So Sad To See You Leave. The Summer As We Knew It Was Over. You Must Have Great Memories Of Your Trip...And What A Trip It Must Have Been!

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    2. So where are you at on this have you gotten any funds put together ? do you have a goal$ wise on what it will take to get her back in any kind of real shape ? any intrest in selling her to the right buyer ?? do you still own the property surounding it and can it be leased from you for hull out and working purposes ? I fear waiting much longer will result in complete loss of this great motor yacht.

      Justin
      Gibson36@yahoo.com

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    3. My father served on this boat when it was the USS Phenakite, during WWII.

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    4. Mr Miller-
      There might be a lot of people who would be interested in helping you restore the boat! Let us know.

      To the author of the article: great!

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    5. Let us know how to make donations in order to help save this amazing piece of history. And just out of curiosity, why did you just park it there and leave it?

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    6. Anon: We just wanted to find out how things were going with restoration on the ship

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    7. i would like information on this boat. parts.girl59@gmail.com. thank you

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    8. It saddens me every time I read an article regarding the Sachem!!!! I lay awake every night for weeks after worrying about her safety. Northern Kentucky is experiencing a horrible heroin epidemic and there are a lot of desperate people willing to do anything to make a quick buck in order to feed their addiction. My greatest fear are the scrapers that are cutting her away piece by piece. I LOVE this ship! In fact- if you look closely at pictures of her in the summertime when the water is low you will see a bridge made up of logs & sticks that provide easy access across the muck to climb aboard her... I spent countless hours searching the banks and carrying those logs. Every spring I have to add to the bridge because of the high waters from winter. Twice over the summer season I load up my Jeep with weed eaters, spray paint, ropes, chainsaws, and digging tools and go through the horrendous task of carrying/climbing everything on board in order to maintain her. She has over 2 and a half feet of earth covering her deck, trees growing up out of the dirt. I cut as many of the trees down as I can and I weed eat everything on deck. There are several holes in which the random strangers can fall through into her belly which holds about 4 feet of murky snake & rat filled water. I spray paint the outer layer of the holes orange as a caution to the strangers. Two years ago I spent three weeks digging out (what I think) is her outboard motor. Its a huge old GM thingy (obviously I am not an engineer). Last summer I started work on her steam engine room, but there is just too much water in there. I say all of this because I love this ship! I really love her. She is my sanctuary. I guess you can say I have commandeered her...lol...Bottomline is- I not only love her and appreciate what she once was and what she is, but I TAKE CARE OF HER, as much as one can possibly take care of her. And it really fecking p*ss*s me off when these journalist crawl out of the wood work like they have discovered some big mysterious fascinating story and then post their "findings" on social media sites for EVERY ONE TO SEE. Never taking into account that the tri-sate area has been over ran by a heroin epidemic which has produced countless numbers of desperate addicts who are willing to do anything to make a buck in order to feed their addiction...including cutting a historical ship into pieces. The author even shows photographs of such atrocities in this article!!!!!!!!!! It saddens and infuriates me. Last year I had relatives all the way in Georgia and Florida who were sending me links on FaceBook and asking if the boat in the article was the same boat I am always talking about an taking care of. Every time these articles surface I become a nervous wreck for weeks. I get sick to my stomach when I walk down that old creek bed path to the ship- always in fear that huge chunks of her will be missing. If these articles were producing results that would lead to her preservation (not restoration) than I would be thrilled...but none have led to anything solid and she continues to sit. Anf Mr. Miller why the hell are you in Mexico and not here protecting her? I have made several attempts to contact the lady who holds power of attorney on this property and have had no luck in return calls.

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    9. Hi Mr. Miller. I saw your ship today and am doing a couple of articles hoping to gen up some interest. Here is the first.
      http://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/the-ghost-ship-of-cincinnati-john-rogers-maxwells-spectral-remains-and-lifetime-of-adventure/

      The next one will explore some of the possibilities of getting it out of there for restoration. Did you build the rocky area about 200 yards to the east to dry dock the vessel?

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  13. Great story. We have reposted this on our FB page.

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  14. http://www.dandrealarosaartfoundation.org/SachemCampaign.htm
    Thats pretty cool hope it works out.

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  15. Funny because i read the exact same article with same quotes in an article posted somewhere else 2 years ago. Gassy indeed, like an old fart.

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    1. Really? If you're accusing me of plagiarism you should at least back it up, because anything I've quoted it sourced and anything else is original.

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    2. Kentucky Enquirer - Sunday, December 4th, 2011, Author Mark Hansel

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  16. I would just thought I'd chime in as my Grandfather was Captain of Circle Line #V for about 6 years from 1970 to 1976. I was on this vessel and steered it up the Hudson River many times as a teenager and to see it in this condition is very saddening. It was the pride of Circle Lines Fleet at the time and they put my grandfather at the helm. He had nearly 50 years of experience as a tugboat captain prior to this "summer job" as captain of Circle Line V. I have a picture of my grandfather at the helm but you can't tell it's a Circle Line ship because there is no identification in the picture.
    It was docked on the Hudson at the foot of 42nd street. We would back out in to the Hudson and head south to the Statue of Liberty. Meanwhile there was a tour guide that would tell the history of New York and point out points of interest over the load speakers. We would get fairly close to the statue, get a glimpse of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. We would then head up the East river, past Roosevelt Island (which was called Welfare Island at the time), through Hell Gate and then head up the Harlem River.
    The Harlem River had draw bridges that were very low in the down position. The Circle Line Vessels were kept low enough to go under these un-drawn bridges. We'd squeeze under these bridges with inches to spare if we had enough passengers and the tide was low enough. We'd go up the Harlem past the Big "C" on the side of a rock (for Columbia University) where kids would be high diving. Then we'd head out back on the Hudson not too far from the George Washington Bridge and then back down the Hudson back to 42nd street.
    One thing I notice on the pictures of this ship is that the engine that is on the rear deck hanging off the back is an add on. It was not on the ship in the 70's.
    Great Page, Thanks.
    Mike Brusich

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    Replies
    1. Mike,

      I have a question about your grandfather. By any chance was he the captain of the Tugboat "Invader" in March of 1947? My grandfather was a crew member on the Invader. I have found some information on the "BEDT" Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Website and I am hoping you may be the "holder" of the copies of the newspaper clippings? If so, might you be willing to share copies?

      Thank you in advance for any help.
      Lynn

      email: Jtmcgee@mindspring.com

      Delete
    2. The "outboard" engine was added after the main engines were removed during scrapping. It was a temporary engine added just so the ship could be moved around.

      Delete
  17. what a beautiful ship she once was i bet you could fix'er up and make her new again. its sad that she's left to rot and decay.

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  18. Great post! Very interesting and entertaining to read. Thanks for creating this.

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  19. It was a well written post, beautiful photos also. It's sad she's left to rot. Restoring her would be great! I want to see her for myself and maybe bring a small raft so I can get over to her. Rest In Piece Circle Line V.

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  20. Some friends and I are heading there on Friday on our Kayaks to get some pictures and pay a little respect to the Circle Line. I lived in NJ in my high school years (in the 80's) and have fond memories of seeing the Circle Line around Manhattan.

    Great Article. I love your blog.

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  21. very cool read. is it possible to get up that creek in a bass boat? looks rather shallow

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  22. I've been on it, a big chunk of the steam engine is still there, and the block on the back is a GM diesel. I think there are some savable parts, but the ship as a whole is about lost. I'm actually amazed at how well the steel is holding up this many years. They don't make them like they used to. Thanks for the wonderful article.

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  23. Great article... I had tried to pull some of the history into my description on my Youtube video below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhHmjrfHYuM

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  24. Great story. I am amazed at how well it has stood up to all of the weather and sitting in that creek for so many decades. Would love to visit and help to restore it, it would make a great piece of American history. Our kids should know of things like this that played such a pivotal part in the history of the United States. It served well and with dignity and to be still afloat says a lot about the workmanship of the day. Thanks for the wonderful read and history lesson, will be looking for further information.

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  25. Very impressive article and fabulous photos of a piece of our history. Thanks for doing all the research. Fascinating retrospective of a lady of the sea!

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  26. I know where it is at because we have been there twice to see it. A friend of ours had us throw anchor for our boat and swim to shore to this creek to see this Boat and we was so surprised that it was Breathtaking to see and then we showed it to some others too and I am so glad my Husband Gary Caddell found your Article and it was so COOL to see someone find out the History about it, GREAT STORY and taking the time to go and see it and the way I understand some people put some of the portholes on there Bars walls and it was so cool to find out they got is from the Old Boat. It is letting you they made Boats to last a lifetime and will be there probably after I am gone SO COOL

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  27. okay great job now back to the obvious robert miller..............its like a family tree can do......................dig a little...contact cinti writer who wrote queen city gothic...

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  28. Cincinnati needs something at their waterfront and this ship would be the perfect answer. Great article. Hope it can be accomplished.

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  29. My brother and I take a canoe trip evey Thankgiving. This year we went in search of this "ghost ship". After paddling up numerous tributaries, we finally found it. Quite impressive from the seat of a canoe.
    Thanks for the great history lesson.

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  30. I have pictures of this boat, from when it was first brought back in to the Cincinnati area, never seen anyone around it though, but loved the story. its a shame no one has restored it. that is what I had heard someone bought her for to restore. I cannot imange. The cost to rebuild it It was so cool looking and majestic, then. but like I said just an orphan, left alone.

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  31. Where exactly is it? North or south side of the river? Any shots of it from the air? What landmark is it near? I love things like this. Please help me to find it.

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  32. Lawrenceville ferry road near Petersburg ky.

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  33. I live very close to this ship and have on many occasions visited it. I had heard rumors of Edison using it as a floating laboratory but dismissed it as mere rumors. Thank you for the history lesson. I look forward to taking my children to see it as my mother did with me. Now I can give them the correct history story of the ship. If anyone would like to visit the ship in person and are in the northern Ky area, you can contact me via E-mail and I can give you a tour and take you directly to the location in Petersburg, Ky. m1k3yh@yahoo.com

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  34. What an amazing article! I went through emotions reading the long, full life of this ship that you had put together, from amazement, awe, inspiration, and sadness. It seems so sad that after such an amazing life that this was the way she ended her life. Thank you!!

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  35. I was there yesterday and the fishing is no good.

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  36. I was there today. The vegetation is expansive on and around this ship. Sad sight. Interesting read, history and adventure to find it. Hope she gets saved from her sorry lot in the creek. Took several pictures. The kids enjoyed hunting for her.

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  37. great story and pics...however i would argue Nikola Tesla as the father of modern day electricity...just a opinion of course...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed.
      Edison was not the great guy he had himself made out to be.

      Delete
  38. Hey Butch- Rick Bramstedt!! Been a long time, 30+ years??!! We were talking about the the boat and I jumped in and said, I know that guy! Hope all is well. Somehow we need to e mail or talk.

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  39. Been there many times. acrost river from larencburg power plant, camp sites on up river side of plant, directly acrost river from camp site is the creek. beech boat on up river side down river side is all rocks. creek to shalo for boat only kyak

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  40. Want to go looking for old lost ships and cars would be lots of fun. Have always enjoyed finding abandoned cars.

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  41. I wonder why Miller abandoned it? That was never mentioned.

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  42. Great article ... just need to brush up on the importance of and truth about thomas edison ... although the following link is a funny spoof the essence of the facts are true and can be easily verified with a little googling ... http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

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  43. Loved the article! Very I interesting! Would Volunteer with helping with restoration.

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  44. WAS THERE TODAY 09/22/2013 yes it is a sad sight to behold,but it's a cool trip to take with the kiddo!

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  45. Can you see the ship only by water? Is there a road nearby? And does the owner mind us trespassing

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  46. Hi thanks for sharing nice information,Apart from renting, you can even choose for leasing the plug and play office space for rent in Bangalore where you can save a lot of money.

    ReplyDelete
  47. My friends and I just took a little paddling trip the the Ghost Ship this morning:)

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    ReplyDelete
  49. Thank you for the great article. I learned a lot, and with your skills I should think you'd be a book writer. Kept my attention completely, and this is not normally a high interest to me.

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  50. if anyone is interested you can pull this up ion the birds eye view on bing.com maps, its on the KY side of the Ohio River, west of 275, just before the river turns to the south pretty easy to see this large old girl from the satellite view

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  51. Found it and have a pic on my Facebook page. Look for The "Ghost Ship" on Thomas G. Griesemer Sr.

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  52. Great article. Sad end to a ship that has so much history to it.

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  53. Would love to see a follow up story with information from Robert Miller, a from the time it got to the creek to present.

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  54. Mr Miller...if you are still checking this or if anyone has a way to contact him please let me know...sswartz26@twc.com I have a group interested in restoring and using the Sachem.

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  55. Great and interesting article. As I sit and reflect, I am thinking that the life of this ship is similar to the life of many human beings. Reading the article one is able to identify the various stages of life that many humans have. Exceptional research about a boat that will surely end its glorious life in a slew off the Ohio River...... It will either sink for good or it will be removed by scrap dealers ..... would be great if the boat was resurrected... but I fear it will take a genuine miracle to have this accomplished.

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  56. Sorry but this ship is off the Petersburg KY exit has nothing to do with Cincinnati located off of Lawrenceburg Ferry Road zip is 41080 All the locals know it and no nobody will shoot at you There was a shooting range at Treasure lake right above the ship. No big mystery here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ur an idiot. never wanted 4 this 2 b associated w any loser buckeye. by the way...not a shooting range...skeet and trap only...if u werent a buckeye u would know that.

      Delete
  57. Excellent article and pics! I found this page listed on the cincypaddlers email list, we are a kayak club with over 2,000 members. with a kayak and a bit of experience, it is easy to put in at Tanner Creek in IN and cross over the Ohio to the creek where the ghost boat is at.

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  58. Very cool story and interesting pictures. Boone Co PVA shows the owner as Albert Arlinghaus. Apparently he lives just up the road.

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  59. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk8yWOOM_GE.... check the comments... Rob Miller says its his families...

    ReplyDelete
  60. It is located on private property. Please keep that in mind before you go trespassing around. If there aren't any "no trespassing" signs, i am sure there will be soon. You should ask the OWNERS not the neighbors if you can go snooping around. Someone asked the OWNER of the property about it so they could write an article years ago and he refused because he did not want random people kayaking, stopping and looking around.

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  61. I have been to that boat via Sea Doo when I was in my late teens. A friend of a family member, Buddy, my sister and I went on a little excursion when we came across it. We always wondered about the history of that old boat. It just looked so out of place sitting there. It has been a really long time and it would seem not much has changed.

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  62. Beautifully written article. Amazing collection of research. Such history! I would love to go photograph this ship. Thank you for this! It was wonderful.

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  63. Geocachers found this years ago. But the nearby owners don't like the visitors.

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  64. You guys realize that it would cost MILLIONS to restore this boat, don't you? This is yet another story of one's inability to recognize limitations...both for our own life expectancy and the objects around us. It is no different than a rare muscle car rotting in a farmers field with an owner having unrealistic dreams to "restore it...someday". If Mr. Miller truly loved this boat or wanted to see it outlive himself, he could have spent the past 27 years looking for a group with the realistic means to handle the size and scope of restoration, as well as a strategy for implementing a monetary means through actual use to make ongoing preservation cost-effective. But alas, the crux is that he would no longer own it. That art foundation web site is a complete joke. It should come to no surprise that this would require management from a group with maritime expertise. Too bad, because the turn-of-the-century was a narrow window of time for such design and architecture, and I think this boat would have been appreciated by future generations. Mr. Miller likely recognized that as well...but nothing practical beyond that. Nice article and photos though. Thanks!

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  65. It would make a great movie! One with the lives of the people who were part of her "life." It could be immensely interesting. On second thought, a mini-series would do it better justice.

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  66. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site. It really gives me an insight on this topic. You can find more information about architecture here.

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  67. Great topic and wonderful information! A little history lesson in art appreciation...I feel a little smarter already.

    sitges apartments & holidays in sitges

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  68. Such an interesting article and a reasonably thorough examination of this ship's history. Even though the ship was originally commissioned so early in the 1900's, she served for the 8 or more decades through which needs for her were found. We all can take some pride in the workmanship of the people who originally built her. Like our Nation, her foundation was strong and she was reliable. A beauty even when the regal lines are covered with vegetation, rust and unkind attacks, she remains. Perhaps, if the suggestions for renovation are true, we may see her rise again. Be encouraged Lady Liberty. Be encouraged.

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dream house's comment needs to be deleted. it has nothing to do with this fascinating article

      Delete
  70. Hey Ronny... I just ran across this blog. Awesome info and images. I work for a boating magazine and would love to see if we can use a photo or two. Give me a shout at brad@heartlandboating.com if you read this message. We can discuss usage and fees. No this is not a scam or spam. Thx.

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  71. well if it means so much to the locals then they should refurbish it and charge people to come aboard and see it
    otherwise scrap it and clean up the waterway

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  72. I know the owner of this boat her name is Maria larosa. She also owns the old Lawrenceburg post office. She has the helm and other fascinating features to this boat on display there. If anyone is interested in checking it out. Or getting permission from them give me a call or text I will get ahold of her for you. 8125939244 thanks joshua

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  73. This is interesting article. Would be nice to have a follow up with Mr. Miller. Found it on bing maps but read it has been moved? Is this true?

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  74. that large outdrive,coupled to a detroit diesel,is from a navy landing craft,those were avail as surplus-still are-and was an economical,if not interesting,adaptation for that kind of drive. this would explain how the boat ended up in that small creek,those drives tilt up to allow use in shallow water...

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  75. Loved this article!!!!! Two days after reading it my son and I went and found it.. We had a blast looking for it and when we walked up to it I have to say one of the coolest things I've ever seen especially after reading the history... Very very cool.. Thank You!

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  76. Ronny, you saw her at the most desolate possible time. Like visiting your mother's grave in a February snowstorm. Go back in the spring. I'm sure you will feel much better. Thank you for such a beautiful recounting of the life of this vessel.

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  77. Awesome job. I would love to send this link to my daughters World Civ teacher. Knowing him he might plan a field trip.

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  78. Great Story...Love it....

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  79. Thank you for sharing such a great story.

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  80. Remarkable what can be right in your own backyard, and you don't even know it's there....Northern Ky Gal.

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  81. great article!!! Would love to see it first hand. Reminds me of the ship they found in the desert in the movie "Close Encounters".

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  82. Not too hard to find, the location is right there on Google maps, in Taylor Creek, upriver from Petersburg. Hope to get up there some day.
    Someone mentioned Rose Island amusement park, its heyday was early 20th century. Upriver from Louisville on the Indiana side of the river. Have paddled over there, poked around, found the swimming pool, and several other remants in the 'jungle'.

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  83. If you can access the boat by water, you are not tresspassing. You can even board it if you like. Here is the law.

    http://www.somerset-kentucky.com/opinion/x681521978/Public-dominion-of-Kentucky-waterways?mobRedir=false

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps you can tell the medic that as they are treating you for a gunshot wound?

      Delete
  84. I thought this was an excellent article. I love anything that has to do with history. Some of the comments on here, however, were very unnecessary. With that being said, I enjoyed reading the article and I thought it was well researched and well written. The photographs were amazing and I'd love to go see it sometime. I used to live in Dry Ridge, KY, which isn't that far from Cincinnati. My sister lives in Covington, KY, so maybe I'll get a chance to go see it the next time I go up to see her. Thank you, Ronny, for the wonderful job you did. Those that chose to use disparaging remarks, regarding any information provided, should get a life and blog elsewhere. Seriously. ~Leigh Ann~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not all photos are of the same boat. See below.

      Delete
  85. An amazing article and so much the type of thing I spend my spare time locating and photographing. I believe it is so important to not let these finds go forgotten, best to photograph them, research the history and share it. Leave it as it was for the next person!

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  86. We were on a cabin cruiser Back in the 70s & stopped at the Old Rose Island Property. Climbed the bank to check it out. There is still some concrete places left, But not much else. If you want to check it out, You can see it on Google Earth. Just type in Rose Island. BTW it is in Indiana. There is a Rose Island Rd in Louisville, But I think that is where the boats used to pick up people to take them to Rose Island.

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  87. I created a video of the ship when kayaking there a couple years ago. I'm hopping to go back this year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk8yWOOM_GE

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  88. What are the GPS ?coordinants

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  89. Rose Island is now part of Charlestown State Park and easily accessible via a relocated old railroad bridge (temporarily closed apparently for maintenance). it is a nice area to hike around, better during very early spring or late fall when you can see through all the foliage & find the various remnants of the old park.

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  90. Most of your photo captions are crap. Trees are now growing around it?? They are deadfalls... Porthole glass is broken? There are no porthole rims. The portholes are gone, etc. Nice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry I'm not as experienced a seaman as you, sir.

      Delete
    2. Ronny, it is a shame people have to nit-pick everything. A wonderful article and great photos. You know what is said about opinions...

      Delete
  91. This is a wonderful article. My family and I love to take the kids to intersting sites like these. They love it. I love this kind of history. When is the best time to go see this? We dont mind to put on our mud boots and trek down to it. This will definetely be a trip for us this year!! I have a cousin that lives in Georgetown and we visit all kinds of interesting/nontouristy things in Cinncy, Gtown, Frankfort and Lexington. I'm super excited to see it!! What a wonderful ship and amazing story!

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    Replies
    1. Story not true. See below and do some more research. If you just want to see a cool old rusty boat this is it though.

      Delete
    2. Hi again Chuck, as I noted to your comment below, the story is in fact true:

      As noted under the photos, they're sourced from this website which offers a brief service record of the vessel's history: http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/1425.htm

      Also, as noted in the article, Edison's involvement can be found here: http://edison.rutgers.edu/NamesSearch/glocpage.php3?gloc=X400I&

      One last thing, I have been in contact with the gentleman who owns the boat and who confirmed the information I put together (and sourced throughout). He tells his story here: http://m.host.madison.com/test/webfeeds/travel/storied-sachem-wasting-away-in-petersburg/article_e1cd524e-6392-52f6-9e39-72f306e55154.html?mobile_touch=true

      Delete
  92. I have seen this ship and it is impressive. Should be preserved.

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    Replies
    1. Too late. Too far gone. Be cheaper to start over.

      Delete
    2. TOO LATE TO 'START OVER' ..... history's already made. Cynical comment indeed. Great article, was captivated and even lost track of time. THANKS!

      Delete
  93. I'd like to know why it was abandoned in that particular spot.

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  94. Several of the pictures are not of the same boat. Look at the lines of the ship, particularly of the bow and stern, and there are distinct differences in the photos. Particularly the 5th photo which so clearly shows both the prow and stern. Now go to the 13th photo and it is not even close. Nowhere close. I find several other sections rather unbelievable but I don't really have time to go into them. However, I doubt many things about this post and KNOW that the same ship is not used in all of the photos. You can't change bows and sterns that easily (if at all).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chuck. It is the same boat. As noted under the photos, they're sourced from this website which offers a brief service record of the vessel's history: http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/1425.htm

      Also, as noted in the article, Edison's involvement can be found here: http://edison.rutgers.edu/NamesSearch/glocpage.php3?gloc=X400I&

      One last thing, I have been in contact with the gentleman who owns the boat and who confirmed the information I put together (and sourced throughout). He tells his story here: http://m.host.madison.com/test/webfeeds/travel/storied-sachem-wasting-away-in-petersburg/article_e1cd524e-6392-52f6-9e39-72f306e55154.html?mobile_touch=true

      Delete
    2. My first thoughts when I read the article, like Chuck were that there were differences in the photos but on closer examination I believe that minor changes over the years (such as ornamental trim pieces welded on or the outboard engine added) could change the lines of the ship considerably. Other things such as plates welded over portholes appear to have been done. Also, the difference in the weight that the ship has on board in the different photos would cause it to ride higher or lower in the water making the shape appear somewhat different. Bottom line: I think I trust Ronnys research more than Chucks gut reaction. Thanks Ronny for the interesting article!

      Delete
  95. I loved the article and enjoyed the pictures! I even went to your Fb page and read a few more articles! I'm a fan now. Hope to someday soon go see this.

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  96. Great article. Thank you for preserving the memory of this ship for the future. I wish more people would show interest in things like this. Every vessel and vehicle has a story, and people now and in the future can learn from them.

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  97. Awesome, awesome story! My heart aches to see such a fine piece of history decaying in such a manner. I'm sure there is probably more to the story since it was abandoned there in the 80's and it would be an interesting read as well. Thank you so much for a great history lesson.

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  98. That looks like the Proctorville Bridge in the background of Madonna's Papa Don't Preach video. (The bridge from Huntington, WV to Proctorville, OH) But surely it's not. Does anyone know where that part of the video was filmed?

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  99. Thank you for taking the time to write this well researched and documented article. The accompanying pictures are wonderful. Having said that, the municipality that is allowing this hunk of rusting steel to stand in the river tributary should demand it be removed. It's an eyesore now, and a danger.

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  100. Why would someone get on here and bash the writer ...what a dick ... excellent story great research and pics gonna take a day trip to see it over the summer

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  101. Hi Ronny,

    I'm a producer for a daily news show on Yahoo. I just sent you an email about this article to your "Queen City Disco" account. Please take a look and get in contact with me, soon if possible.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  102. Samantha SpringerMarch 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    I rather enjoyed this article! Very well written and being a person who grew up in Milan, Ohio where Edison was born it is always good to know more about him. I love looking at photos of abandoned houses, boats, ect. There is a sort of beauty there not many can see or appreciate. I'm very glad to have stumbled upon your article and thanks for a bit more education than I already had!

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  103. Found this article after watching the 'thing' yahoo put together for their 'news show'. Just had to compliment you on doing justice for this beautiful piece of history through your words and photographs.

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  104. Thanks for your article, I live within 1-2 hours of this ship, have 2 kayaks and decent kayaking ability - will try to take a closer look, BTW - to better search put in points...do you know the name of the creek (or did I just miss it in the article/) ...& again thanks,

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  105. OK, I'll ask ... how can machine guns counteract torpedoes?

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  106. thank you, great article, hope to visit

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  107. Fascinating. Saw it on the yahoo news, and not presented by some wise ass either, just a good story. Agree that the restoration costs would be phenomenal, but it would sure be nice to have it available on display. There are a few Liberty ships out there, the SS Jeremiah O'Brien in SF has or had a steaming schedule for the truly devoted, but it wasn't remotely as far gone. Maybe we'll make a day trip with the bass boat one day soon.

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  108. The cost to restore this with volunteer labor probably isn't as high as one might think ... there are plenty of retired baby boomers that have experience with ships and the required maintenance. The biggest need would be to refloat it during spring high waters and move it to some land nearby where a dry dock could be constructed for it ... not a lot of money, just some time, fuel, and passion.

    Done over a 10 year period, would require a pretty modest annual budget.

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    Replies
    1. From looking at the pictures of the listed side of the hull, I'd say there is very little, if any steel left in the hull below the water line. My guess would be refloating would be next to impossible at this point. Best bet would be trying to get to it an inspect it in a severe low water situation. But on the Ohio, chances are that will never happen, the locks have a minimum pool that they will maintain throughout the year.

      Delete
  109. great research and a very enjoyable read. Thank you!

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  110. I was under the impression that a "ghost ship" was a boat that continued on with it's voyage long after the captain and crew had ended theirs. That boat, despite how cool and depressing, is a grounded boat.

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  111. Great article, thanks I made a few trips around Manhattan on that boat in the fifties & sixties. I too hope it can be restored.

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  112. This is so cool. I had never heard about this until last night. I sat next to a woman named Deborah at a wine tasting. After telling her of our project to restore an old Airstream she said she had a similar experience with a boat. It turns out she is the ex-wife of Mr. Miller and she told us about the boat and their attempts to restore it and the journey to the creek where it now rests...a couple of details she shared that weren't mentioned..during a check out voyage in NY Harbor the ship ran aground on a shoal and the Coast Guard had to get involved to free it (and search for drugs just in case) and apparently during the trip to the Ohio the ship was briefly detained by Canadian authorities when it accidentally sailed through Canadian waters. Thanks for the article!

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  113. Can the folks who have been there please give directions to see this? We will be driving (not by boat) from Ohio. Any help would be SO appreciative ...................... many thanks !!!!

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  114. Not sure if any of these would be him or not: Robert Miller -

    www.mylife.com/robertmill48363cc
    http://www.advancedbackgroundchecks.com/d/robt-miller/1347344213

    Found this too, but not sure if actually true:

    Hennzzer41 - 05-Mar-2014 07:46Eh not really, His name is Robert Miller JR, and he currently resides in Mexico. I spent about 6 months working with him on research for a documentary about the ship, how it got there, and the removal and restoration. Unfortunately the funding we had lined up eventually fell through. You can read in the blog postings about how he got it there but the actual story was a bigger adventure. He found the boat in a pile of scrap, paid 7500 for it, and pulled it out with a rickety old tug boat (which he continued to use to help move the boat around until he took it to ohio). After cleaning it up he sailed it in the ny harbor during the Statue of liberty restoration celebration. Afterwards it sat at a dock until the dock owner ordered it gone because there had allegedly been some drug trafficking going through his dock. He cut off the tail and welded on the massive outboard motor. It took several months to get it up there with stops along the way. The crew that he sailed with consisted of his now ex-wife and several friends and a dog. Since it had an outboard motor it handled like a 100 foot canoe. At certain points he had to take the ship backwards through some of the twist and turns. Finally he parked it in the creek on his property, hoping to come back and restore it. He moved down to Mexico with his wife in the early 00's. He swears there is still time to restore it. From the video the Kayakers posted he saw no holes in the hull, other than the ones that were already patched. It was built with, as he said over and over, "Carnegie Steel". - See more at: http://www.randomrocker.co.uk/new/redditsingle.php?postid=1zk63b&subreddit=pics#sthash.q5cBeLFj.dpuf

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  115. This is such an interesting blog. You are very knowledgeable about this subject. Please check out my site.
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  116. This is a wonderful article and very well written. I love history, especially things of this nature. Would love to see it restored also but realize it would be a monumental task.

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  117. Enjoyed this article greatly. The photos made me sad, though. Such a grand ship with such an amazing history should not have to lie there rotting away year after year. I dearly hope some of the posters on here who offered hope of restoration for her actually come through. I would love to find a future article showing her history and her new life away from the place she has lain for so long. Good luck, Mr. Miller, and thank you very much for such a wonderful article, Ronny.

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  118. No one answered an earlier post about how to get there from Ohio. We are looking to rent a couple kayaks. Can someone from the area please tell me where the closest kayak rental place to the ship?? Please? Thanks in advance!!

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  119. As a kid growing up in NYC I rode the Circle Line several times around Manhattan...and now I reside in Northern Kentucky within a few miles of her shrine. Bless her and all her memories! Fitz Corr

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  120. I have enjoyed reading your post. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort on your blog. I appreciate your effort. Please check out my site.
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  121. Ronny thank you for sharing this amazing story and the amazing pictures! I've lived on the Ohio River all my life and would never have known this if it weren't for you! Thank you. You're line of work has to be so rewarding!

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  122. Very interesting. If you want to know more click here

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  123. My son has been there and taken several new pictures of the ship. He was there in Dec. 2013. I have spoken with Mr. Miller personally about heading up a restoration. We could not come to an agreement as he was more interested in the money he could make from the ship than seeing that it was restored and available as a living history ship. The group that was going to oversee the restoration and also utilize the ship was a non-profit and we would be working strictly on donations of time and materials. My son was set to begin pumping her out so we could get a Marine Inspection to see what the condition of the interior of the hull is. When I realized he was more into the dollar signs and ongoing payments for "consultants" fees or an educational trust for his daughter, I backed out. I did have a Marine Surveyor go out and look at the ship (he could not board it at the time) and he said based on my son's pictures and his visual, that the only thing useable would be the hull and without seeing it drained, there is no way to see if it is stable. The good thing he said...is the ship holds water and the water level inside stays consistant (it doesnt go down when the water level of the creek goes down) so that leads him to believe that the hull is relatively intact. I would love to see this ship brought back to life again, and I stand ready to get the deck cleaned off and get her pumped out, but until Mr. Miller takes the dollar signs out of the equation, I don't believe anything can happen. I get that he spent alot of money purchasing the ship and getting it ready and sailing it back here, however since that time he has done nothing to preserve it and left no one to care for it when he left the country. If she had even been kept drained and all the openings in the deck secured, she would be in better condition.Obviously he didn't care enough about it to even keep it in the same condition it was when he brought it back.
    I am able to get an engine for it, for relatively low cost. The original diesel is still in the engine compartment, but is long since siezed up (he tried to use that engine and had it mostly rebuilt, but could never get it running.
    I know with enough volunteers and donations, it could be restored, providing the hull cleared inspection. She's got good bones, but another few years as she is sitting now and it will be impossible to restore her.
    It would be wonderful to see her on the Ohio River, taking school children on educational trips, utilized as a training vessel for the Sea Cadets and Sea Scouts.
    It truly is sad that she just sits there...

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  124. The D'Andrea LaRosa Art Foundation in Lawrenceburg, Ind. started a "Raise the Sachem" campaign, but Miller said the effort has not gained much traction. I was there 5/31/2014 she is still in the same place.

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    1. I live up near Pittsburgh and have a passion for older vessels. The photos due in fact suggest the hull is in serviceable order but a lot of work would need to be done and even with volunteers materials would not be cheap and sailing on the river she would not be aloud to have her original steam engine. (Same reason the Delta Queen is now docked) However now that I have the bad news out of the way lets go for some good news. If the owner truly is a $$$ kind of guy then offer to buy it from for the original amount he spent getting her to her present location. If you can do that then you may have a chance of getting a kickstarter campaign from kickstarter.com and with enough interest and hype maybe just maybe you could then get the funding required to fully refloat and rebuild her. She would need diesel engines now in order to operate on the river as steam is no longer permitted but you could still restore the engine as decoration. Projects like these are few and far between but many are starting to gain interest in the Ohio Valley area. The article is great and the photos still show a sturdy fixable vessel. Edison was born in Ohio not all that far from where this vessel now sits, maybe you can generate some hype that way. Presentation is everything. Liberate the ship from its current owners and maybe you guys will have an honest chance at bringing her back to life. I wish you the best.

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  125. NEWS ARTICLE: MailOnline, the online version of the "Daily Mail" British newspaper, and the most-visited English language news webaite in the world, published an illustrated story on this today, and links to this blog:

    "Abandoned in a watery grave: Sailing ship that carried Thomas Edison and appeared in a Madonna video over 112 years before it was left to rust in the Ohio River"
    July 8 2014
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2683921/From-carrying-Thomas-Edison-appearing-Madonna-music-video-The-glorious-past-112-year-old-ghost-ship-abandoned-Ohio-River.html

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  126. Not questioning the viability of navigating it thru the Lakes and down the river,
    but hard to believe the creek was deep enough to sail into! Would imagine the ship
    drafts about 20 ft.

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