#tbt - Western Cruise

Walt's avatar

Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz
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Great video! What memories! Thanks for sharing.

Interesting seeing the old paddlewheel boats (the ones with the cab on top) as opposed to the smaller, later ones. When did they make that change? And also, did the newer boats ever use actual paddlewheels like the old ones?

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

Apparently the new boats were for the 1997 season, but I thought it was earlier, around 1994.


Ah, the memories...(my PB screen name says it all). The big boats were classic, and it's a shame that the Ogontz (which ran for a few years afterward at Port Clinton and then in Pipe Creek near the 'Point), and then the Winnebago (which ran recently for a season--or was it two--by a contract out of the CP Marina), aren't still around.

If I remember correctly (and I may be totally mistaken), the new boats had a paddlewheel on the starboard side for the first year or so. At a minimum, they certainly had a decorative semicircle cover to *suggest* there was a paddlewheel there. (That cover remained throughout their lifespan.) A summer or two ago, I saw two of the old (new) boats on dry land by the river in downtown Huron.

And, if you didn't already know, the paddlewheels on the old boats were merely for show. The boats had inboard motors (?). When they discharged their water, it made the wheel turn. It was an illusion, but an impressive one--at least when I was a kid.

I can't help you on the year of the change from large to small boats--I'd always thought it was because they wanted shorter boats over which a bridge or--cough, cough--roller coaster could pass. (If we knew how far in advance MF was planned, the dates might correlate.) Or perhaps the big boats were getting too expensive to run and maintain, given changing ridership levels.

Last edited by Western Cruiser,

That's really interesting. I was wondering if the boats really were propelled by paddlewheels at some point or if it was just plain motors. Thanks a lot. :)

Thanks for posting that. So many great memories from two summers driving the big boats. Great Lakes was always my favorite to drive. Although Ogontz was clearly the prettiest. I had the pleasure of driving the final trip around the island of the big boats.

Pete's avatar

One of the original Western Cruise boats made it to Cleveland and was used for a number of years as the Holy Mosses Water Taxi, transporting people between the east and west banks of the Cuyahoga River in the Flats. It was modified from its Cedar Point days with the installation of a small diesel engine, which was noisier and seemed to have less power, but probably enjoyed better fuel economy for its ferry boat mission.

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks,
than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

3snoH un=l's avatar

I google searched that water taxi and found this old thread about what happened to one of the old paddlewheel boats, you had commented on it, too, Pete.

Upside-down Fun House

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