CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Charleston’s Sternwheel Regatta is back!
Most of these sternwheel boats are from the 1920s and 30s, and most people do not know how much upkeep they take and the history behind them.
One of the most known is the P.A Denny, which is part of the river history. The P.A. Denny’s owner, Scot Heckert, said it is an honor to have it.
“Every day, there’s something new to do,” Heckert said. “You have to maintain them and keep them looking good. You have to paint them every two to three years, but there’s always something to do.”
General Manager of the Trojan Landing, Shawn Hardman, said not many people are still making these kinds of boats.
“They build everything up on land, and they slid them down the hill on basically four by fours and let them hit the water, and then they continue to finish the build-out,” Hardman said. “So, the heavy part is done on land.”
Boats that came into town for the Regatta took awhile to get to Charleston since they can typically only go between 10 to 13 mph.
“Cincinnati, Marietta, even to Marietta. that’s a two-day ride from there, and all day,” Hardman said. “So, by the time they either switch out captains or dock for the night, it could take them a third day depending on how it shakes down.”
Heckert says the most enjoyable part about sternwheel boats is the memories they hold.
“I enjoy hearing the stories of people’s pasts from coming on school trips, weddings, receptions, parties,” Heckert said. “The stories are what keeps everything going and keeps the history moving forward.”
During Sternwheel Regatta, visitors can go on tours of the P.A. Denny and the Dixie.