A decades old fixture on the Ohio River at Louisville is celebrating a historic birthday this weekend. The Belle of Louisville on Saturday turns 100 years old. The paddle wheeled steamboat was built in Pittsburgh and used to haul cargo for years before becoming a passenger only boat in the 1930's. CEO Linda Harris says the boat played a role in furthering the industrial revolution. "Able to have these large boats bringing cattle and cotton and whiskey barrels and all sorts of commerce to towns that became cities because of the steamboat where they would port there, sell their wares. They would pick up new things. They would move them back up river," said Harris.
Harris says used engines were placed on the boat in 1914 and they continue to power the boat today. "These engines are 120 years old. They have lasted this whole time. We just got some work done on them and we're convinced they'll last another hundred years. Even though the Smithsonian Institute has asked for them, they're gonna have to wait," explained Harris.
Harris says there's no reason why the Belle can't navigate on the Ohio for years to come. "She has been thoroughly looked over, stability tests run and the marine architect said if she's cared for with the love she's been cared for for the past 100 years, there's no reason this boat can't have another 75 to 100 years in her," added Harris.
The Belle of Louisville will join four other steam boats for a parade on the Ohio River on Saturday.