(p. A16) CINCINNATI — For more than a year now, fans of the Delta Queen, America’s last original paddle-wheeled, steam-driven, overnight passenger boat, have done everything they could to keep it plying the country’s rivers.
They have written letters, signed petitions and enlisted stars like the actor Hal Holbrook (who has played Mark Twain) to support their cause. They even tried to shame Congress into granting another exemption from a federal law that would normally ban the Delta Queen from operating because it is largely made of wood.
But as it pulled away from her dock here into the Ohio River on Tuesday night, tears flowed among passengers, crew members and some of the hundreds of onlookers.
That was because, to date, no exemption has been granted and the current exemption expires at the end of October. As a result, the 10-day cruise to Memphis could well be the Delta Queen’s last commercial voyage.
. . .
“We’re just here to say goodbye,” said Dick Schroeder, 72, a lifelong Cincinnati resident who came to watch this potential last departure with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Patricia Fanning.
“I just don’t know why it has to go, all because of a stupid law,” Mr. Schroeder said.
For the full story, see:
SEAN D. HAMILL. ” Paddle-Wheeler’s Fans Seek a Reprieve.” The New York Times (Weds., October 22, 2008): A16.
(Note: ellipsis added.)