Julia Belle Swain
The Julia Belle was formerly based in Peoria, Illinois, making short excursions on Peoria Lake and two-day round trip cruises to Starved Rock State Park. Singer-songwriter John Hartford ("Gentle on My Mind") was a frequent guest pilot and often mentioned the Julia Belle in his songs, and penned a song named for the boat that appeared on his Mark Twang album. The boat ran excursions on the Ohio River at Evansville, Indiana during parts of the years 1975 and 1976. Later, the boat ran on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Julia Belle, smaller and nimbler than some of its sisters on America's rivers, has entered the Great Steamboat Race twice, in 1975 and 1976. She won in 1976, beating better-known vessels such as the Delta Queen and the Belle of Louisville.
In 2009, the owners of the Julia Belle Swain canceled their season because of the slow economy, and considered putting the steamboat up for sale. In 2013, the Julia Belle Swain was allowed to dock temporarily at Riverside Park in La Crosse.
The riverboat remained still, docked for five years on the backwaters of the Mississippi near the railroad bridge until it was sold in 2013 to the newly formed, not-for-profit Julia Belle Swain Foundation which had the intentions of restoring and preserving this beautiful boat. The restoration soon turned into a rebuild which included a new boiler system, new generators, new wiring, gutting the interior, improving the insulation, and new windows, etc., however, the only original piece used is the frame. The new interior will be more period correct and the steamer will again be "Trone Fabulous" as she was originally built. The restoration of the Julia Belle Swain cost over $1.5 million and is expected to be completed in 2017. After she is complete, the foundation expects to keep this attraction in La Crosse to hold weddings and other catering events.
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- Spirit of Peoria — boat that later replaced the Julia Belle Swain at Peoria, Illinois
- La Crosse Queen — boat that also docks at Riverside Park in La Crosse, 200 yards from Julia Belle Swain.
- "Julia Belle Swain will stay in Peoria, not in Evansville". Evansville Press. 1977-11-15. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "9465 ride boat first three weeks". Evansville Press. 1975-05-14. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- ""Great Steamboat Race History"". Kentucky Derby Festival, Inc. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
- Cahalan, Steve (2009-04-01). "Boat for sale? Owners won't operate Julia Belle Swain this summer". La Crosse Daily Tribune. La Crosse, Wisconsin: Lee Enterprises.
- Julia Belle Swain to dock in Riverside Park temporarily
- "Remembering the Julia Belle Swain". Douglas J. Swanson, Ed.D APR. Retrieved 2016-08-14.
- WKBT. "Julia Belle Swain moving closer to completion". Retrieved 2016-08-14.