Preservation group to hold fundraiser for Goldenrod Showboat

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KAMPSVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Jake Medford is a caretaker for a centenarian that sits on the Illinois River.

'We all know it`s a long shot,' says Jake Medford, Vice President of the Historic Riverboat Preservation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. 'We`re aware of that and have been told that one thousand times. But we want to see it happen and if it weren`t for those folks that didn`t go for the long shots what would we have. So this is our project and we`re going to do it.'

It`s an incredible undertaking to try and raise the 105-year old Goldenrod Showboat to its former glory.

'Older than the Titanic, 1909 this place was built,' says Medford.
It`s still afloat?' asks Patrick Clark.
'Still afloat yeah,' says Medford.

But the old showboat has seen better days.

Since 2002 it`s been camped out in Kampsville, Illinois.

It`s estimated that a restoration of the national historic landmark would cost five to ten million dollars.

And the hardest part will be getting the hull replaced.

That`s going to take most of the project is getting the boat itself secured. After that we can go inside and do all the electric and stuff inside but we have to get it secured on a good hull for it to move back to St. Louis.

In its heyday the Goldenrod could hold 1400 people to see entertainers like bob hope, Phyllis Diller and Red Skelton.

The historic riverboat preservation group is holding a fundraiser Thursday at the Lemp Grand Hall to help rehab this floating piece of St. Louis history.

'Would it be easier to scrap this boat?' asks Clark.

'You would lose the landmark. We`re in a day and time where we throw stuff away. We`re the last showboat, authentic showboat out there so I think it`s our job to save it.'

And if Jake Medford gets his wish granted, some St. Louisans will part with some silver to rehab this golden treasure.

To find out more about the goldenrod showboat and tomorrow night`s fundraiser at the Lemp Grand Hall visit www.goldenrod-showboat.com.