The mv. L. Wade Childress today sits high and dry at Prairie du Chein, Wis. (Photo by John Miller)
Letters To The Editor

Letter: L. Wade Childress

It seems hard to believe it will be 37 years ago—December 19, 1985—that the towboat L. Wade Childress tuned turtle (sinking) at Ft Madison, Iowa., in 30 feet of water off of Hall Towing on a frigid ice-covered Mississippi River.

On Sunday, December 4, I drove to Prairie Du Chien, Wis., to have a look at a towboat I had watched running as a kid as well as into my adulthood along with its brothers, W.S. Rhea and Frank C. Rand.

I think of the good old days seeing the towboats of Mississippi Valley Barge Line and I certainly remember the ice of 1985 and all the towboats fighting the ice; one in particular was the L. Wade Childress.

When I was still living in Keokuk, Iowa, and had heard that the Childress had sunk up at Ft. Madison, I grabbed my camera and drove up to see her and if I could get any photos. I was looking at her sunk in that frozen water up over her main deck and watching a gutsy diver all suited up and ready to join the Polar Bear Club, thinking it was not a good day to take a dip in Old Man River.

I thought it would be nice to jolt the river folk out there and remember the veteran L. Wade Childress and the old veteran barge line too, Mississippi Valley Barge Line. They may be gone, but certainly not forgotten all these years later.

John R. Miller

Manchester, Iowa