Magazine article Sea Classics

Oxnard, California

Magazine article Sea Classics

Oxnard, California

Article excerpt

MUSEUM NEWS

OXNARD, CALIFORNIA - Nine exquisitely-made, hand-crafted ship models by Ed Marple are on display at the Ventura County Maritime Museum at Channel Islands Harbor This column has reported on eight of them which were sailing ships. The ninth is the only steam-powered vessel. It is the ROBERT E. LEE.

The famous steamboat was built in 1866 at New Albany, Indiana, for Captain John W. Cannon at a cost of $200,000. It was built to run between Vicksburg, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana; carrying 6,000 bales of cotton without spoiling the view of the boiler deck passengers.

When Marple began to work on this model he noted, "It had to be built from the bottom up and from the inside out." A riverboat, even more than any other ship model, has to be done from the inside out and bottom to the top, making sure that all center work is done first, before trying to finish the sides.

The hull is made of white holly; the stern is tapered to a flat, square and narrow edge to allow a small flat rudder to fit snugly against the stem, just clearing the lowest part of the ship to give clearance in case of a sand bar. The paddle wheels are complete with five paddles, each with a copper band, joined to make ten paddles of five paddles on each wheel and will turn either by moving the engine on the inside or by touching the wheel itself to give it movement. The grand staircase in the front has a mail room at one side and storage room at the other side. Each cabin door is made individually, including the windows in the doors and the transoms above. …

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