Advertising Brochure, 1940s
We devoted a full page (p. 129 to be precise) to the Gov. McClurg in Damming the Osage but we just acquired this ephemeral treasure – a brochure advertising the dining, dancing and photography opportunities available to visitors on their lake cruises. The Sunset Cruise was at 7 p.m.; Nature’s own romance trips, the Moonlight Cruise was at 9; and on the 11 p.m. cruise, vacationers could dance their way into the wee hours to “an excellent selection of music.” Local bands often supplied the music. During the summer of 1955, the Bob Falkenhainer Quartet supplied the rhythms; one of the quartet was Marshall, Missouri high school student, Bob James, now famed jazz keyboardist, producer and arranger. It was an ideal gig for a teenager – play the summer evenings away and swim and water ski through the days.
Before the lake filled, Highway 5 crossed the Osage River at the toll suspension bridge near Linn Creek. While two modern bridges were being built to connect Versailles with Camdenton, the custom built Gov. McClurg ferried cars across the river. It carried twenty cars at a time the mile and a quarter from Lover’s Leap to Green Bay Terraces, an early Lake development. Backed up traffic was common on weekends.
When the new bridges were finished and Highway 5 relocated, the Governor McClurg ferry was refurbished as an excursion boat. Through the late 1930s and into the 1960s, the Gov. McClurg showboat offered day or night lake cruises from its dock at the west end of the Glaize bridge.
When the Lodge of the Four Seasons acquired the Gov. McClurg excursion boat, it was renamed the Seasons Queen.
The boat was named for Joseph W. McClurg, respected citizen of old Linn Creek. He was a well educated, dapper gentleman, who, before the Civil War, was co-owner of the Linn Creek Big Store which did a half million dollars a year business. After the Civil War McClurg was elected to Congress three times and governor of Missouri once (1868). “The soft spoken, religious, teetotalling McClurg could be considered the most distinguished figure in early Osage valley history. Certainly, he was the only personage in the region photographed by Mathew Brady.” (page 54, Damming the Osage)
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