William M. Black

The William M. Black Steam-Powered Dredge Boat is docked in Ice Harbor and is part of the museum. I’d made a quick visit earlier in the day with the chair while Sal walked through a part of the museum I wasn’t interested in. I asked at that time how late the boat was open and was assured it was open until 5:00, like the rest of the museum. That meant I’d have time to see it with Sally after our cruise.



This is Joseph. When I walked on board with the chair, he said this was a first. He’d never had a “passenger” bring his own chair before. I explained briefly what I was about and he said it was fine. As I left, he started telling me about a friend he had who had a garden gnome that she took about with her. He seemed interested, so I asked him if I could take his photo in the chair. He wasn’t sure if he would get in trouble for doing it, but he agreed. He picked the spot because “the floodgates and bridge in the back are exclusive to Dubuque.”


When I went back with Sally at 4:30, there was a chain across the walkway. I could see tourists walking about on the boat, so I climbed over and convinced Sally to do so too. The lower deck engine room door was locked, but we could see in through the windows. I’d been in there earlier and was able to assure Sally she wasn’t missing much.



We went up to the second deck and saw the galley.



Dining Room


We walked down the passageway past the crews’ quarters into the operations room and the captain’s cabin.




We walked around the outside of the second deck.


There were some displays to explain what a dredge boat does.






This is the “dustpan” at the front of the boat that brings the gunk off the bottom.



As we walked down the other side of the middle deck, we ran into Joseph who was clearing the boat of tourists and locking doors. I asked if I could take Sally up to the pilot house and down the other side. He said no, and proceeded to tell us a story about a time he let some slow people take their time getting off and found himself locked in the museum compound. He had to call somebody on his cell phone and have them come rescue him. Since then, he kicks everybody of the boat by 4:45, which explained the chain we stepped over. Of course, it took him a couple minutes longer to tell us this story than it would have taken us to climb a ladder, walk the ten feet through the pilot house and climb down another ladder. But that’s OK. Sal had gotten a good look and I had my pictures.

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