Central City Ferry


The Central City Ferry regularly carried people, horses
 and livestock back and forth across the Ohio River.

Courtesy of Jerry Sutphin


Central City was once a thriving little town located just west of
 Huntington. Founded in 1893, it was annexed by Huntington
in 1909. For two years, from 1907 until 1909, a steam
 ferryboat connected the little West Virginia
 community with neighboring Ohio.

According to noted river historian Frederick Way Jr., the author of
“Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1983,” the one-boiler sternwheeler
originally was named the Pioneer City. Built at the Knox Boat
Yard in Marietta, Ohio, in 1891, she first ran between
 Marietta and Williamstown, West Virginia. In 1905,
 the boat was sold to Martin F. Noll, who leased
it to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
 to push a railroad transfer barge.

In 1906, the Pioneer City was purchased by the Central Wharf &
Ferry Co. The new owners — Ellis C. Mace, Dr. Vickers
 (first name not known) and George M. Biggs —
had the boat rebuilt at Point Pleasant, West
Virginia, and renamed her the Central City.

The Central City Ferry regularly carried people, horses and
livestock back and forth across the Ohio River between
the West 14th Street landing in Central City and
a dock on the Ohio side of the river.

Later, owners Paul Thomas and his brother-in-law
 Ed Smith successfully operated her from the
26th Street landing in Huntington.

They sold the boat to Kline O’Neill of Augusta, Kentucky, who
 in 1923 used parts of the craft in building his ferryboat
 Augusta. She operated for a number of years before
being beached and finally dismantled in 1950.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Sep. 5, 2023.


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