The historical society, which owns the Snyder, had her placed in dry dock in Point Pleasant, W.Va., in 2004, for an inspection of the hull, which revealed “extensive pitting and active leaks,” Smith said.
Repairing the hull of the Snyder is part of a $1.3 million overhaul. Funding for the project is coming from several sources, Smith said, including a $350,000 grant from National Parks Service.
Harper said the men who will be working on the Snyder are well aware that she is no ordinary vessel, but a proud and irreplaceable piece of river history.
One of the major goals of the project, he said, will be to preserve the boat’s framework in as close to original condition as possible. That’s somewhat complicated by the fact that the frame members are riveted, rather than welded in place, because welding was not a process that was all that widely used when the Snyder was built in 1918.
The plan is to have the Snyder back in Marietta by early June, Harper said.
Smith said the mechanicals of the Snyder are in “pristine” condition, essentially he same as they were when the craft was retired. Refiring the vessel would take very little effort, he said. However, there are currently no plans to do, mainly because the historical society doesn’t want to risk damaging the boat.
But, once the hull repair is complete, Smith said the group will feel comfortable towing the vessel to various places along the river for exhibits.
KENNETH HART can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2654.