Facebook post rekindles memories of ferry service in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE – A growing Facebook page shines the spotlight on yesteryear with pictures of a bygone Baton Rouge.
A post Tuesday morning reminded us of the commute across the river before I-10 – a ride on the City of Baton Rouge ferry. Ironically, the post comes hours before the busiest gridlock day in the region.
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While the ferry service and a more calm commute are history, the City of Baton Rouge itself lives on, still floating on the Mississippi.
While its engines, paddlewheel, smokestack and pilot house are gone, its iconic nameplate, wide deck and historic balcony above still rock with each wave. The propulsion equipment was removed after it left Baton Rouge decades ago. The smokestack and pilot house were blown off in a storm, also after leaving Baton Rouge.
The City of Baton Rouge was launched in 1916, The Advocate featured a year ago in a report when the boat turned 100. It arrived in Baton Rouge as a river crossing vessel a year later.
In its heyday, the City of Baton Rouge carried 500 people and 21 automobiles per crossing. At the height of ferry service in the 1930s, the City of Baton Rouge and two other ferries crossed the river between downtown Baton Rouge and Port Allen every 15 minutes for a quarter a car and a nickel a person.
When the Horace Wilkinson Bridge – now commonly called the “New Bridge” – crossing the river on I-10 opened in 1968, ferry service was discontinued and ferries were moved or sold. The City of Baton Rouge was purchased by a man from Iowa, moved and then sold again.
Today, The City of Baton Rouge serves as the boarding area between dry land and the riverboat Twilight. The Twilight sails up and down the Mississippi River in Iowa. The Twilight docks along the City of Baton Rouge in Le Claire, outside Davenport.
Its new owners threw the City of Baton Rouge a birthday party when it turned 100 in 2016.
You can relive history and post some of your memories by requesting to join the Facebook group Old Images of Baton Rouge.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz
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