By Mark McConville
EERIE images have revealed the abandoned remains of an historic towboat that once served as President Roosevelt’s Mississippi River headquarters in the 1940s when the President bizarrely had to inspect the river during the year he led his nation into WW2.
Haunting pictures show the flaking walls of the interior with the remnants of a kitchen area still visible, doors hanging off their hinges and ceilings falling down.
Other striking shots show the rusting exterior of the once-proud boat as it lies beached upon a green bank.
The spooky snaps show the Mamie S Barrett at Deer Park, Louisiana, USA and were taken by artist, animator and photographer Skyler Brown (25), from Sacramento, California, USA.
“I’ve been documenting abandoned locations around the world for several years now,” he said.
“Any time I travel somewhere I research the region beforehand to find forgotten locations that are off the beaten path.
“For this particular project I was on a road trip through the American South in August 2014, and I had heard rumours of a large abandoned steamboat somewhere along the Mississippi River.
“At the time there wasn’t much information online about the boat or its location, but after scouring satellite imagery I found what I suspected was the boat. I still wasn’t sure that it really existed though until I arrived and saw it in person.”
The 124-foot-long boat was constructed in 1921 at a cost of $145K (£108K) at the Howard Shipyard in Jeffersonville, Indiana before being sold to the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1923 and relocated to Florence, Atlanta.
While owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mamie S. Barrett played a vital role in the nation’s history – the boat served as President Roosevelt’s headquarters as he toured and inspected the Mississippi River. After 24 years, the boat was retired and sold to a construction company.
In the years that followed, ownership of the Mamie S. Barrett changed several times. In 1949, the boat served as a clubhouse and restaurant for the Harbour Point Yacht Club, which was located in Weston Alton, MO.
Skyler, who took these images with a Canon EOS 70D, explained how he manages to capture the beauty of abandoned places.
“Before I start taking pictures at an abandoned location I always survey the site first, both to find the best angles and to make sure it’s safe to enter,” he said.
“I like to be methodical and plan it out so that it goes as smoothly as possible, but you never know what you’ll find inside so there is a lot of improvisation involved.
“Typically I make an effort to get as many photos as I can in a relatively short amount of time. For this series, all of the photos of the inside of the ship were captured within a ten-minute window.
“Whenever I shoot in a place like this, I always try to be respectful of the location and its history. I refrain from breaking anything, making a lot of noise, or doing anything that will further speed up the structure’s decay.”
By 1981, the boat had new owners and was relocated to Eddyville, Kentucky. It was at this time that the Mamie S. Barrett underwent an extensive restoration and was transformed into a restaurant.
In April of 1983, the Mamie S. Barrett was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the following years it was converted into a showboat complete with a 120-seater theatre and restaurant.
Unfortunately a fire in 2017 left the historic boat in its current state, with little hope of it ever being returned to its former glory.
For more information see www.mediadrumworld.com