Museum News

A newspaper article from the Messenger-Inquirer about a boat built in Livermore on May 28, 1965 is pictured.

Here’s an interesting article from the May 28, 1965 Messenger-Inquirer: “Two things were launched in Livermore May 19. They were a boat and what might be a new industry for McLean County—boat building.

The craft was a 55-foot yacht being built by Brothers Furniture Company. And if there appears to be sufficient demand for boats of this type, the company hopes to build them on a commercial basis.

The boat is believed to be the largest yacht ever built in Kentucky and took seven months to complete. It is 55 feet long and 18 feet wide. Two Chrysler Fury engines of 210 horsepower each will drive it at about 15 knots. A power plant will generate both 220 and 115 volt current.

The boat is designed for family pleasure. It has sleeping facilities for eight persons, and can accommodate about 30 for a cruise or a party. The appointments of the craft are surprising. The galley is equipped with a four-burner electric stove, automatic washer and dryer. The texas (the uppermost deck) will have color television and hi-fi music, electric heat and air conditioning. Constructed of plywood and fiberglass, the boat will have interior paneling of plastic-coated teakwood.

The completely outfitted craft will weigh 18 tons and draw only 16 inches of water. During the first week in July it will be docked in Owensboro, for about 11 days. A cruise is planned along inland waterways beginning at Pittsburgh, Pa., and ending at Pompano Beach, Fla. The 4 to 5-month cruise will be along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, then continue to Louisiana via the waterway to Tampa, Fla., and on to Pompano Beach, where the crew will spend the winter and has its southeastern sales office.

Boats of similar size and appointments sell for up to $80,000. It has been appraised by marine engineers at $55,700. By building them in the furniture factory with local help, the Itschner brothers believe they could build the boats in quantity to sell for less than that. If there’s a market, they plan to go into production in Livermore. Their location on the river bank there would be ideal for boat production.

McLean countians, along with the Itschners, are hoping the boat will be as popular as barrel furniture, thus providing a new industry for the county. The boat launched last week is a brain-child of F.W. Itschner. F.W. (Bill) and his brother, Bob, operate Brothers Furniture Company in the plant formerly used by Livermore Chair Company. The company’s present production is entirely of furniture made from used whisky barrels. Started in Owensboro by the Itschners and George Vollman Jr., a few years ago, the sale of barrel furniture has grown rapidly. Brothers Furniture is still the only producer of this merchandise, with 40 employees and 43 salesmen.

Much of the work on the boat was done by Vollman, Wave Frizzell of Livermore and Dodd Patterson of Sacramento. Various employees of the furniture plant assisted, especially with the launching. Vollman is vice president in charge of the boat corporation, which is separate from the furniture manufacturing firm.”

Last week’s article was about a new telephone service going in at Sacramento in 1955. I mentioned that Euleen Rickard and her family lived in Sacramento just before that, and did not have telephone service while they lived there, except to call their neighbor. For clarity, they never had good phone service while they lived in Sacramento, but when they moved to Owensboro, in the early 1950s, they did, indeed, have phone service. They originally had a party line in Owensboro, but it wasn’t too long before they got their own phone line.

The Museum and Treasure House are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the Museum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Treasure House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To reach us at the Museum you can call 270-499-5033, or email us at info@mcleancountykymuseum.org. Our Facebook page is: McLean County KY History Museum & Regional Family Research Center. I wish everyone a safe week!

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