W.P. Snyder Jr.’s return delayed by currents

MARIETTA – High river levels and swift currents will delay the docking of the W.P. Snyder Jr. in the Muskingum River at Marietta.

Bryan Patterson, safety director of Amherst Madison of Charleston, the company that did the sternwheeler’s renovations, said Wednesday evening the sternwheeler will be docked in the Ohio River at the mouth of the Muskingum River in Marietta until at least Monday.

“Right now the Muskingum River is three feet above normal pool level, which means we can’t clear the Putnam Street Bridge,” he said. “Plus the river current is too fast to moor it safely.”

Patterson said the latest forecasts indicate they may be able to put the W.P. Snyder back at the Ohio River Museum at 601 Front St. on Monday.

The W.P. Snyder was scheduled to arrive at the Ohio River Museum today. It passed through the Belleville Locks and Dam Wednesday evening.

Seven months ago the 95-year-old W.P. Snyder departed Marietta for repairs at the shipyard in Henderson, W.Va.

Cost off the project was projected to be $1 million to repair the entire upper deck and update the electrical system.

Repairs, with $736,000 coming from a Transportation Enhancement Program grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation and $222,000 coming from State of Ohio capital funding, included an overhaul of the boat’s dated electrical system, new paint, repaired holes and rust and an overall repair of everything sitting above the water.

In 2010, the hull of the 175-foot, 342-ton boat was repaired.

In 1955, the Ohio Historical Society and the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen bought the vessel for $1. To guide them on the repairs the Ohio Historical Society and Charleston-based marine construction company Amherst Madison have used 1955 photos to restore the vessel’s color and condition.

Before the high water issue, residents were invited to come down to the museum’s port to welcome the Snyder home today.