As a joint fundraising effort, the Nitro Historic Commission and the St. Albans Historical Society are bringing the River Queen riverboat from BB Riverboats of Cincinnati to Nitro, for a buffet cruise and a sightseer cruise on Sunday, June 30.
Nitro Historic Commission Board member Jennifer Hensley said this will mark the second occasion the riverboat has visited Nitro.
“I organized one two years ago for the Nitro Centennial,” she said last week. “The reason was because Nitro was picked as a World War I town for having water and rail access and flat land. I chose the riverboat to support the water access. BB Riverboats was at FestivALL and said they could come on their way back downriver.
“I grew up in St. Albans and now live in Nitro,” Hensley said, “so I kind of have an affinity for both cities. I contacted both cities to have a riverboat cruise.”
The Nitro Convention and Visitors Bureau will kick off the cruises a day in advance by bringing actors portraying President Woodrow Wilson and first lady Edith Wilson of the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum in Wytheville, Virginia, to the city. The Wilsons (in actuality, Jim Gearheart and Betsy Ely) will arrive in Nitro by antique motorcade on Saturday, June 29.
Also riding in the motorcade will be Capt. E.J. Smith of the St. Albans Historical Society.
The Wilsons will conduct a presentation at noon at Nitro’s Living Memorial Park on 21st Street and Second Avenue. This presentation, including live sheep, is free.
The buffet cruise, which will board at 11 a.m. on June 30, has sold out, but requests are being accepted for a wait list, should additional tickets become available.
Sponsorships are still available as well.
The sightseer cruise will board at 2:30 p.m. at the Robert C. Byrd Boat Launch located on Main Avenue in Nitro. This cruise will have snacks available and a cash bar on board. Historical characters, such as the Wilsons, will be wandering throughout the boat, greeting and educating the cruisers. This cruise has 200 tickets available, for $10 each.
Tickets for the sightseer cruises can be purchased at Town & Country Supply Inc. in Nitro (304-755-3520) or the Village Sampler in St. Albans (304-722-0123).
Hensley said there will also be a dinner cruise, with a band, leaving the shore at 5:30 p.m. It is being held in conjunction with the St. Albans Kiwanis Club. “We’re going to a day on the river,” she said.
For additional information, contact Jennifer Hensley at 304-419-4524.
The Nitro Historic Commission is raising funds to make its museum at 2003 20th St., Nitro, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and handicapped accessible. Work to be done includes installation of a grab bar and handrails in the restroom, repurposing doorways for manual and motorized wheelchairs, along with adding items such as handicapped-accessible light switches, soap dispensers and other equipment and renovations.
The museum honors Nitro’s beginnings as a World War I gunpowder plant with several artifacts, including the first flag to fly over Nitro and a Wall of Honor for Nitronians who have served in the military. It also contains a Nitro Room with photographs and articles about Nitro citizens. More information is posted at the museum’s Facebook page, “Nitro World War I Museum.”
The St. Albans Historical Society is raising funds to purchase and install an air-conditioning unit in the museum, which is located at 404 Fourth Ave. in St. Albans, adjacent to the C&O Depot. The society was founded in 1972 to preserve the 1846 Morgan’s Kitchen Museum and are still contributing to preserving St. Albans history for future generations. The museum houses hundreds of vintage photographs, books and artifacts. For more details, visit www.stalbanshistory.com.