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Today, the Admiral riverboat is making its final voyage to Columbia, Ill. to be sold for scrap. The Admiral, built in 1907 and once the largest inland entertainment vessel in the world, started off as a side-wheel steamboat and was converted to an entertainment mecca as a concert venue and casino for decades until it was closed down in June 2010. Recently, salvage workers removed the top deck of the ship so it would fit under bridges during it's journey. In the past few months, no buyers came forward, except for a salvage company that wanted to buy its parts—all the rest of the ship was auctioned off.
Gateway Marine Services’ Bill Kline compares the recent dismantling of the historic SS Admiral to an “archaeological dig,” one that’s produced some interesting artifacts from its past lives as a river-cruising steamboat and casino.
Floored: As workers peeled back the casino carpet on the main floor, they discovered a ballroom floor on top of tile on top of more wood. The effort never yielded the original ballroom floor, though.
Holy Ship: Before making its way aboard the SS Admiral in 1974, the ship’s bell was salvaged from St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church.
Critical Mast: Most ships contain minimal flag masts. But the Admiral boasted a decorative mast with delicate curves to match the ship’s Art Deco style.
Have any fond memories aboard the Admiral? Leave them in the comments.
By Nancy McMullen and Christina Stiehl