Ohio Village Evicts Historic Showboat Majestic

Leaders in New Richmond, Ohio, have given the owner of the historic showboat Majestic 90 days to remove it from the village’s riverfront or face fines of $100 per day.

The city solicitor sent a letter to the boat’s owner, Joe Brumley, June 28 to evict it. The boat has been at the city’s waterfront since February 2021. Last year the village gave Brumley a 10-year license for $1, believing he would transform the boat into an entertainment venue.

The city council agreed to put in place infrastructure, including electric, sewer and water, along the riverfront to benefit the showboat and future attractions. Brumley told the council he intended to open the boat up as a theater and nightclub and to offer weekend tours.

According to the letter from the solicitor, the reasons for revoking the license include environmental concerns with equipment being submerged in the water causing oil to seep into the waterways as well as no records of required insurance.

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Brumley told local media that the eviction was baseless but declined any further comment.

New Richmond Vice Mayor Larry Prues said the city completed the promised infrastructure but that Brumley has not completed the city’s requirements. 

“It’s unfortunate because we really wanted to work with the owner and make this a success, but he hasn’t made any effort,” Prues said. “He basically just parked the boat there.”

The Majestic was built in 1923 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Although it had no means of propulsion, it was paired with a tug Attaboy to serve as a floating theater that traveled to communities along the Ohio River, according to an article in Cincinnati Refined magazine published in February 2021. The boat was moored at Cincinnati’s public landing beginning in 1967. Cincinnati Landmark Productions produced shows on it from 1991 until 2013, after which the city began looking for a buyer.

The Majestic was moved to near Manchester, Ohio, after being sold at public auction in 2019. Performances of “The Majestic Christmas” took place in December 2019 in Manchester. Brumley made plans to move it afterward, saying the location was not economically sustainable.

Plans to move the boat to Maysville, Ky., fell through, after which the historic towboat Miss Anne towed it to New Richmond.