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 the summer.
In late June, it became apparent the
object was an old boat, he said.
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.”
Flippin said 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.
“These boats were taken out of the
river at Cotter and carried by train back to
Galena,” Flippin said.
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,” Flippin said.
He said he hopes eventually to see
the boat exhibited where the public can see and
appreciate it for its place and purpose in
Flippin said 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.
was published Saturday, July 24, 2010 in THE BAXTER BULLETIN Newspaper.