A Local 501 (c) (3)

Historic Riverboat Preservation Association

      The Historic Riverboat Preservation Association was incorporated by John Schwartz in 2008 when he was given the Goldenrod Showboat by the city of Saint Charles, Missouri. He then donated the boat to the HRPA and arranged to have it moved to its present wharf on the Illinois River north of Kampsville, IL. Shortly after setting up a contract for mooring, Schwartz turned over the HRPA to Steve Debellis, leaving the HRPA with nothing but the showboat and a large amount of mooring debt.  Due to inexperience with fundraising of the scope required, an onslaught of personal health problems and limited time availability, the HRPA floundered and in early 2013, lost the Goldenrod Showboat when the mooring company, Pool 24 Tug Service, obtained a judgment against the corporation and foreclosed its lien for approximately $ 70,000 in unpaid mooring fees.

However, in 2013, two new board members joined forces with Steve Debellis and started to spread the word of the potential loss of the Goldenrod Showboat to the scrap heap.  As time continued to pass, more and more people became aware of the significance of losing such a historic vessel and in by 2014 the number of volunteers had doubled.  In the later part of 2014, Mr. Debellis passed away and the HRPA was in desperate need of new leadership.  Several members of the local community stepped up to the challenge and by the beginning of 2015, the board had been rounded out to 10 members, all of whom are very dedicated to the cause. Since the induction of the new board, the HRPA has made significant strides in communications and fundraising and has created a new path for the HRPA to follow in its mission to save the Goldenrod Showboat.

As you can see the journey of the Historic Riverboat Preservation Association has been as up and down as the life of the Goldenrod Showboat. The corporation has faced many obstacles throughout its existence, however, like the vessel the organization has been entrusted to protect, the HRPA will continue on.  By continuing to work diligently the HRPA will reach its goal of bringing the Goldenrod Showboat spirit back to life in a new era.

The Historic Riverboat Preservation Association is a Missouri 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit corporation working to preserve the interior artifacts of the Goldenrod Showboat. Our mission includes preserving this unique part of American history and culture for current and future generations.


Photo Credit: Murphy Library University of Wisconsin- La Crosse