Blown up steamboat ‘Onondaga’ found at bottom of Seneca (same fate for Keuka Maid?)

Side Scan Sonar image of the Steamer Onondaga on the bottom of Seneca Lake. Photo Credit: Jim Kennard

Last week Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski confirmed the discovery of sunken ship ‘Onondaga’ at the bottom of Seneca Lake, eight miles south of Geneva. (Above, photo credit Jim Kennard)

Photo Credit: Geneva Historical Society

As I read about the “never-to-be-forgotten spectacle” of the demolition of the Onondaga, I couldn’t help but think of another well known local ship that has continued to make of a spectacle itself and its owner, Robert Pfuntner,  over the last couple of years.

Recently ruled a “squatter” by a town of Urbana jury, the Keuka Maid still sits alongside a dock in Hammondsport. (Above, Keuka Maid Photo Credit Bob Magee). Firefighters recently had to save her from sinking, for the fourth time. All this after she was moved to Penn Yan, and promptly escorted back to Hammondsport in 2010.

The Keuka Maid had been a floating venue for dinners, parties, and weddings for a couple of decades. The Keuka Maid has been out of service since 2006 when stricter passenger boat laws were passed in New York State, which she failed to meet (or rather – failed to be inspected in an attempt to meet).

Who would love to see the Keuka Maid blown to bits? It’s probably not an environmentally friendly means of disposal. But I think most folks agree that it would be nice if the Keuka Maid was simply seen at all. Am I right?

Keuka Maid Photo Credit Bob Magee

It seems like everyone points the finger (one or the other) at Keuka Maid owner Robert Pfuntner, but honestly, what’s he gonna do–dismantle it himself? Since it probably can’t safely be blown up and sunk, a spectacle of another kind could be executed to rid our beautiful lake of this unfortunate wreck of a ship.

According to the media report in 1898, nearly 5000 people lined the shores of Seneca Lake to witness the “never-to-be-forgotten spectacle”, coming by train from also over upstate New York. Imagine if a large mass gathered on the shore in Hammondsport where the Keuka Maid is docked, and dismantled the poor thing piece by piece. Metal to be scrapped, wood to be burned, problem to be remedied. If 5000 people traveled by train to gather in 1898, how many could show up to a Keuka Maid Dismantle Party in 2012? Even 500 would be plenty. 50, probably do-able.

Wonder what it will take to get her out of our water? Action, folks. Action and a never-to-be-forgotten spectacle.

Comments

  1. Samantha Gibson says:

    I grew up on the keuka maid, with a lot of memories. So this is a very touchy subject for me. I don’t feel as if it should be “blown to bits”, it should be taken apart piece by piece. Yes, it is a bit of an eye sore, but to me, its beautiful- especially because of the memories it holds.