“Show­boat” dam­aged in load­ing onto cargo ship, may be headed for the scrap heap

Stamford Advocate - - News - By Robert Marchant

GREEN­WICH — An old pad­dle-wheel steamer built for amuse­ment pur­poses may not be headed over­seas af­ter all.

The craft known as the “Mark Twain” when it was docked on the Green­wich water­front was set to be loaded onto a cargo ship and trans­ported to Korea, where it would serve as an en­ter­tain­ment at­trac­tion.

But the boat was dam­aged as it was be­ing loaded onto a cargo ship an­chored off the shore of Green­wich Point, and now the plans to re-use the ves­sel as a float­ing bar and restau­rant are un­clear.

“They weren’t able to haul it out of the wa­ter. It didn’t go ac­cord­ing to plan,” said the for­mer owner of the ves­sel, Bill Frenz, a Green­wich mu­si­cian and busi­ness­man.

He’s been in con­tact with the new owners, he said, “and they’re re-as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion.” Frenz said the ves­sel, re­dubbed “Show­boat” and docked in Port Ch­ester in re­cent years, was bat­tered as the at­tempt to load it into the cargo ship did not go smoothly.

“It took a beat­ing,” Frenz said.

Frenz said there were some problems with the way the lift was han­dled. “The ship­ping com­pany had the show­boat at 85 tons, when in ac­tu­al­ity it weighs 119 tons,” he noted.

The ef­fort to load up the old pad­dle-wheeler was ob­served by Green­wich Har­bor­mas­ter Ian Macmil­lan.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it started to crum­ble,” he said.

Macmil­lan, who was ap­prised of the mar­itime ac­tiv­ity by the U.S. Coast Guard, said the boat was sub­se­quently towed to Stam­ford late last week. It could be that the “Mark Twain” will be bro­ken up at a ship­yard in New Haven in the near fu­ture, he said.

The boat was built to serve as an at­trac­tion at an amuse­ment park in The Bronx, N.Y., called Free­dom­land. Af­ter the demise of that op­er­a­tion, the ves­sel came to the Green­wich water­front in 1965, where it was used as dock­side lounge to the Show­boat Ho­tel. In Port Ch­ester, where it docked since the early 2000s, it was used for jazz shows and other so­cial events.

Not hav­ing its own power, it was towed out to Green­wich wa­ters to be loaded onto the cargo ship, which has since departed.

A stor­age busi­ness said the boat was sold off this sum­mer, with the pro­vi­sion that it had to be re­lo­cated from Port Ch­ester. The win­ning bid was $1,020, ac­cord­ing to Stor­age Trea­

Dur­ing its Green­wich life, the ves­sel was owned for many years by Joe Keat­ing, who worked in the restau­rant busi­ness in town. The restau­rant pro- vided a New Or­leans­themed decor and was fa­mous for bois­ter­ous nightlife.

John Gris­wold / Con­trib­uted photo

Above and left, the pad­dle­wheel steamer is lifted onto a barge out in Long Is­land Sound off the coast of Green­wich ear­lier this week.

Tyler Size­more / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

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