Majestic (riverboat)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Showboat Majestic at Cincinnati.jpg
Majestic moored at Cincinnati
United States
Name: Majestic
Launched: 1923
Out of service: 2013
General characteristics
Type: Showboat
Draft: 12 in (300 mm)
Propulsion: Diesel sternwheel towboat Attaboy
Majestic (Showboat)
Showboat majestic.png
Majestic and Attaboy on the Ohio River in 1943
Majestic (riverboat) is located in Ohio
Majestic (riverboat)
LocationCincinnati, Ohio
Coordinates39°5′49″N 84°30′12″W / 39.09694°N 84.50333°W / 39.09694; -84.50333Coordinates: 39°5′49″N 84°30′12″W / 39.09694°N 84.50333°W / 39.09694; -84.50333
Built1923 (1923)
ArchitectTom Reynolds[1]
NRHP reference #80003085[1][2]
Added to NRHPJanuary 3, 1980[1]
December 20, 1989[2]

The Majestic is a historic riverboat that was previously moored in Cincinnati, Ohio, but was just recently (3/19) purchased and moved to Manchester Ohio. Built in 1923, she was the last floating theater to be built in the United States, and one of its longest-lived. Declared a National Historic Landmark on December 20, 1989,[2] she is now moored on the Ohio River near Manchester, Ohio.


Majestic is moored on the Ohio River near Manchester Ohio. She is 135 feet (41 m) long, with a beam of 40 feet (12 m) and a draft depth of 5.9 feet (1.8 m). Her wooden hull has been sheathed inside a steel one, and is still visible from within the boat. Its superstructure housing the theater has been little altered since 1969.[3]


The last of the original traveling showboats, Majestic was built in 1923 in Pittsburgh,[4] and plied the Ohio River and other portions of its watershed for many years, offering shows at towns along the way. She came as a pair with a tugboat the Attaboy which towed her from venue to venue.[5] Tom Reynolds and his family owned, lived on and ran it until 1959. Reynolds himself was born into an old established showboat family.[6] Tom Reynolds first boat was the Illinois, lost to fire in 1916, which he replaced by building the America.[7]

From 1945 to 1959 there was an academic alliance between the Reynolds family and Hiram College, Kent State University, and Indiana University that allowed the schools to present summer theater experiences for students on Majestic.

Capt. Tom Reynolds sold the Majestic in August 1959 for $30,000[8] to the Indiana University. He had piloted the Majestic on the Ohio, Kansas, Mississippi and Kanawha Rivers for 36 years. That December he was working on the tug Attaboy, moored alongside the Majestic, when it is thought the tug's engine kicked back, and Reynolds lost his footing and fell into the Kanawha river and drowned. He was 71 and had lived on or beside the river his whole life.[6]

She was forced into dry dock in 1965 by the Safety at Sea Act, which prohibited wooden hulled vessels from transporting cast and crew on overnight journeys,[5] though by that time the condition of her hull was fast deteriorating. The outer steel hull was added at that time,[5] as were other modernizing conveniences, including air conditioning. While in dry dock, the City of Cincinnati purchased Majestic for $13,500[5] as part of its downtown Cincinnati Central Riverfront show case. She was docked at the Cincinnati Public Landing until March of 2019. She was purchased in a public auction by a private citizen who plans to be presenting shows on the boat in the near future.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. June 30, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "Majestic (Showboat)". National Historic Landmarks Program. National Park Service. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  3. ^ "NHL nomination for Majestic (riverboat)". National Archive. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  4. ^ "A Walk Through the Historic Showboat Majestic Before It Leaves". Cincinnati Refined. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Klein, Chuck (July 15, 2001). "Keep Majesty of the Showboat". The Cincinnati Enquirer. p. 66. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Ol' Man River Gets 'Em. Showboat Captain Tom Reynolds Survives Everything Else - Drowns". The News-Herald (Franklin, Pennsylvania). UPI - Point Pleasant W. VA. December 17, 1959. p. 1. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  7. ^ "Summer School Means Boat Trip for Group of Students". The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tennessee). May 9, 1949. p. 7. Retrieved August 25, 2018. ...captain, Tom Reynolds, is no rookie at showboating. He's been at it for 36 years. His first boat, the Illinois, burned at the pier at Foster, In 1916. The captain's oldest son, Norman, died in that fire. But he went ahead and built another showboat, the America.
  8. ^ "Students Big Hit in Oldtime Melodramas". The Times (Munster, Indiana). July 10, 1960. p. 9. Retrieved August 25, 2018. John Reynolds, 27, Point Pleasant, W.Va.. towboat skipper. Reynolds offered to spend 40 days of his vacation as Majestic captain. He has sentimental reasons for following the' Majestic. He and his two brothers and one sister were born on the boat, and the family formed their own troupe, playing melodrama up and down half & dozen rivers as recently as 1952. His father, the late Capt. Tom Reynolds, sold the Majestic to the university.

External links[edit]