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Tue, Oct 21, 2014 04:42 AM
Issue of October 15, 2014
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Revived Alice Dean could be attraction centerpiece


My Opinion


May 14, 2014 | 10:35 AM

Harrison County Commissioner Jim Klinstiver has talked about different projects and ideas to stir economic development or touristic attraction to the southern part of the county.

A project that will get underway this month could be the answer to drawing people to the area in a way that would not upset its rural character.

Question of the Week
Do you think raising the Alice Dean steamboat is a good idea?
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With the potential raising of the Alice Dean, a Civil War-era steamboat, a final resting place for the boat, or at least part of it, should be somewhere in the Mauckport area.

The county is in the process of purchasing land at the Morvin's Landing site, which could make for a perfect place to permanently display the steamboat. The Alice Dean, combined with walking trails and interactive historical markers about the Morvin's Landing site, could make for quite the attraction.

The raising of the Alice Dean is being spearheaded by Clarence Merk Jr., who is in the process of securing all of the needed permits.

Civil War history is a big deal for many, as was evident by the attendance at the 150th anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Corydon last year. Morvin's Landing was the spot where Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan began his raid through the north after crossing the Ohio River. Morgan and his men engaged in a brief skirmish on the river and eventually burned the Alice Dean, causing it to sink.

County officials have also tossed around the need for a public access boat ramp in the county. How about a marina that features a raised relic from the Civil War? The combination of boaters, anglers and history buffs would keep the marina/museum busy and would become a unique draw for the southern part of the county.

Think of the possibilities for a weekend getaway for area residents or anyone throughout the region or country enthusiastic about the outdoors. Visitors could camp near the lake at South Harrison Park (if the lake project comes to fruition), fish in the lake, make the short drive to Mauckport to go boating and check out the Alice Dean and other historical artifacts and finish off the weekend with a day of golf at one of the state's best courses, Chariot Run.

These three projects — a boat ramp/marina, lake at South Harrison and the raising of the Alice Dean — are not all sure things but the possibilities for the area if all three come to be are endless.

Harrison County is full of history, but, when it comes to recognizing and displaying that history, it almost starts and stops with Corydon.

That shouldn't be the case.

Harrison County owes all of its history to the Ohio River, so what better place to showcase it?

Twitter: @rossschulz

  1. print email
    May 15, 2014 | 10:03 AM

    Morvin's Landing is in the flood plain. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to display the Alice Dean there unless you wanted it to get submerged again.

  2. print email
    Don't Forget Previous "Salvage" Operations
    May 15, 2014 | 10:32 AM

    If you research your history of the Alice Dean, in 1863 it was a nearly new boat. After it was burned and sunk, the company that owned the boat engaged in some salvage operations. Then when the Matthew Welch bridge was built, a crane with a clamshell bucket was used to rip pieced apart and bring them up. So exactly how much of a boat remains, and in what condition, after the previous salvage operations? I believe that if/when the remnants are raised, folks who are expecting a rare glimpse into the history of our region will be disappointed when all they find is the bottom side of a ripped-apart boat.

    Mark D Knight
  3. print email
    May 15, 2014 | 11:59 AM

    The steamboat Arabia sank in 1856 and was raised in the 1980s. There is a museum for it in Kansas City.

    http://1856.com/

    Much more of the Arabia was left than is probably left of the Alice Dean, since the Alice Dean was looted and burned (then later salvaged).

    The Arabia sank and the river later moved, burying the steamboat wreck under forty feet of river mud that allowed much of the wreck to be preserved.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email