The 'Camden Queen'


For 14 summers, from 1978 to 1882, the sternwheeler "Camden Queen"
took passengers on a 45-minute boat ride from Camden Park's
landing on Twelve Pole Creek.


HUNTINGTON For 14 summers, the sternwheeler "Camden Queen" took passengers on
a 45-minute ride from Camden Park's landing on Twelve Pole Creek. The craft,
a small reproduction of an Ohio River packet boat from the 1890s,
was owned and operated by Capt. Gene Lister.

The boat was built in 1974 by John Louck in West Bend, Wisconsin, and originally
 named the "City of West Bend." Lister bought it in 1977 and brought it to
Huntington, where he refurbished it and renamed it the "Camden
 Queen." The two-deck, 60-passenger boat began operating
 out of Camden Park in April 1978. During its stay at
the park it operated each summer
 from April to September.


A self-confessed "river rat," Lister fell in love with the Ohio when as a
teenage deckhand he worked aboard the steamers "Omar" and
"E.D. Kenna." He dreamed of some day returning to the
 river, and his purchase of the "Camden Queen"
 made that dream a reality.

In 1985, Lister pulled off a difficult feat. Dodging snags, sandbars
 and overhanging trees, he piloted his sternwheeler up the
 Guyandotte to the Mud River at Barboursville. Veteran
 river historian Jim Wallen told the Herald-Dispatch
 no riverboat had made the trip from the Ohio,
 up the Guyandotte to the Barboursville
landing since 1902.

Initially, the "Queen" did a brisk business but over time
the number of passengers dwindled. Discouraged,
Lister put the boat up for sale but
 attracted no bidders.

In April 1992, Lister moved the "Queen" from Huntington to Madison,
 Indiana, where it ran excursions from a floating restaurant. The
 following year, in July 1993, he sold the boat to a tour boat
 operator in Columbia, Louisiana, which gave
it a new name, the "Caldwell Belle."

In 2010, Lister was again at the pilot wheel when the 149-
passenger sternwheeler "Mark Twain" visited
Huntington to give sightseeing
 and dinner cruises.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Jan. 14, 2019.


[ Back ]