GASSVILLE — A
blurry apparition on the bottom of the
White River has turned out to be treasure.
The river, at a
spot known to locals as Red Bud above Rim
Shoals, has yielded a boat that is 95
percent intact and dates to about 1929.
Mike Flippin, a
lifelong fishing guide on the White, said
Wednesday that he first spied the object
that looked like a staircase on the river
bottom in May.
A regular angler
on those waters, Flippin said he kept an eye
on the object as the river level fell during
In late June, it
became apparent the object was an old boat,
On July 2,
assisted by friends Eric Totty and Joshua
Due, Flippin came prepared to raise the boat
and inspect it closely.
Very few examples
of similar boats built in 1920s exist today.
Flippin said he believes the boat he found may
have originated from the Galena (Mo.) Boat Co.
“It’s about 95 percent complete,” Flippin
said. “It looks to me like it was a push
boat with an add-on hinged motor block.”
Ozarks researcher and author Larry Dablemont
has written about the seven-day float trips
from Galena to Branson and 14-day float
trips from Branson to Cotter that were
popular excursions in the 1920s.
were taken out of the river at Cotter and
carried by train back to Galena,” Flippin
After raising the
boat and taking it ashore, Flippin said he
immediately re-immersed it inside a larger
boat lined with heavy plastic and filled with
a solution recommended for preserving wood
that has acclimated to being underwater.
He then called
Julie Lovett, a Bull Shoals State Park
interpreter, who estimated that, based on
the style of nails use, the boat was built
between 1927 to 1930.
“I’m just tickled
to death it’s out of the river and safe,”
He said he hopes
eventually to see the boat exhibited where the
public can see and appreciate it for its place
and purpose in history.
similar boats are on display at College of
the Ozarks and Silver Dollar City. The
Silver Dollar City boat is a new boat
created by craftsmen in the style of the
boats built commercially in the South by
Charlie Barnes of Galena.
This story was
published Saturday, July 24, 2010 in THE
BAXTER BULLETIN Newspaper.