Driving home to upstate New York on a cold, blustery evening, I stopped to visit a childhood memory: the everlasting tourist attraction, Roadside America, but I arrived too late, and the kitschy gift shop and model railroad exhibit was closed for the day. Determined to make the best of the waning evening, I stopped by next door to visit the ruined Suwannee Belle.
Fabricated by Lacrosse Riverboat Company in LaCrosse, Wisconsin in 1985, the Belle once entertained guests along the rivers in the deep south. The boat was later mothballed and then abandoned in New Jersey until it was rescued for use as a restaurant in east-central Pennsylvania. The restaurant venture did not last long and the Belle was once again neglected. Because of its advanced deterioration, the ship may be consigned to the rust bin of history.