'Frederick' Changes Course

Washington PA Observer Reporter
7 June 2012
By Barbara S. Miller, Staff writer


"Frederick," the ferry that operates across the Monongahela River from Fredericktown to LaBelle, will be changing course this morning for a trip to Dunlevy for routine maintenance.

The 60-foot ferry was placed out of service Wednesday for refurbishment that is expected to last a week or two.

The cable has been disconnected, and the ferry will be towed upriver tomorrow morning, where it will be put in dry dock for repairs and an inspection required every five years by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Campbell Transportation Marine Maintenance Division is handling the $73,000 contract, which is being split by Washington and Fayette County taxpayers, said Lisa Cessna, director of the Washington County Planning Commission.

The 35-ton steel vessel, constructed in 1948 by Hillman Barge Co., carries about 500 vehicles a day. It is believed to be the last remaining cable ferry east of the Mississippi River.

The timetable of the work also will affect the date of the fourth annual Ferry Boat Festival, because its originator wouldn't want to host it without the star attraction.

"The festival was going to be June 16," said John Bower, co-owner of Bower Brothers Lounge, Route 88. "I'm going to postpone it."

The establishment, next to the boat landing on the Washington County side of the river, drew 600 people last year to the former coal town in East Bethlehem, Bower said, proposing Saturday, July 28, as the new date for the festival.

"I guess that's the best focal point we have in the area," Bower said. "I'm trying to make sure people know that it's here."