A historic St. Louis landmark with a murky past in recent years met its final fate overnight Friday when flames engulfed the remains of a once-populous showboat.
The Goldenrod showboat, docked on the banks of Kampsville, Ill., was ruined in an overnight fire by unknown circumstances. According to officials who worked with the preservation of the showboat, the fire left the boat as a total loss, ending a decade-long puzzle of its future on both water and land.
Earlier this year, the Goldenrod was determined to be sinking into the water as the interior and exterior continued to decay despite efforts to bring the entertainment boat back to life. In May, crews working with the preservation process told 5 On Your Side up to eight feet of water was inside the boat, leaving workers to determine what could be salvageable onboard.
"It was designed to last 15 years, so it's beat the odds," said Jacob Medford, Vice President with the Historic Riverboat Preservation Association in May.
Medford said crew members took everything from the interior of the boat and preserved it while renovation plans were put on hold.
The Goldenrod was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark on December 24, 1967, later placed as a 'Threatened Historical Landmark' in 2001. From 1937 to 1989, the showboat was moored along the St. Louis riverfront, until the City of St. Charles purchased the boat for $300,000. The Goldenrod stayed alongside the Missouri River in St. Charles for twelve years until 2001 before being sold a year later.
Since 2010, the boat has been under the care of the Historic Riverboat Preservation Association. The nonprofit expected to re-open the showboat as a theater and museum on dry land.