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Delta Queen Preservation Foundation seeks to purchase vessel

Nov 19, 2010

Here comes a press release from the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation, unveiling details from their plan to purchase and operate the Delta Queen:


Chattanooga, Tenn. – Leah Ann and Randy Ingram, current operators of the Delta Queen announced that they have submitted a Letter of Intent to purchase the vessel from Ambassadors International.  The vessel is currently berthed in Chattanooga, Tenn. where it is operated as a hotel.

The Ingrams are in the process of finalizing plans to establish the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation, an entity whose mission is to ensure the future preservation of the historic steamboat with the long-term goal of being able to operate it once again.  In the near term, the boat would continue to be operated as a hotel, bringing in much needed revenue to finance the many repairs needed.  The boat would be owned by the non-profit organization allowing charitable contributions, historic preservation grants and other tax deductible donations to be received.  The operation of the boat would be leased out to the current for-profit hotel company, Delta Queen LLC.

The Ingrams noted that their ultimate goal is to make the Delta Queen ready to once again sail America’s rivers.

Leah Ann Ingram said, “We would like to return the Delta Queen to the rivers as soon as she is able but understand that is a monumental task. Having her open to the public as a revenue generating hotel while those repairs are made is critical to any successful plan to put the boat back in service.”

The Delta Queen has been very well received in Chattanooga.  In fact, a recent evening to honor the steamboat was hosted to garner attention and support for future efforts.  Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield offered a joint resolution from the city and Hamilton County that gave strong support to preserving the vessel and maintaining her historical designations.  The Mayor offered praise to the goal of making the Delta Queen ready for travel on America’s waterways.

The Delta Queen is experiencing great success in Chattanooga.  From sold-out lodging to the addition of gourmet dining, the Delta Queen is even one of the hottest tickets in town for the upcoming holiday season.  Last year, the Delta Queen hosted over 450 guests for Thanksgiving dinner and is expecting similar crowds this year.

Mrs. Ingram noted that success not only comes from a dedicated staff, but equally dedicated volunteers who provide countless hours in repairing and maintaining the boat

She said, “This is a team effort and we are honored and humbled by those former crew members and guests who come aboard on a weekly basis to take care of this legendary vessel.  We hope that some of the people who have indicated their interest in purchasing the Delta Queen will join with us as we all have the same goal.  In fact, nothing would please us more.”

Both Ingrams noted that any option that takes away from the boat’s rich history or changes her integrity could put her historic designation in jeopardy.  “We want to preserve this piece of maritime history for generations to come and would welcome the help of anyone who shares our views.”

For more information, call 423.755.7588.

Just a few days ago, a new group, called "Save the Delta Queen 2010" has also announced plans to buy the Delta Queen. This group's speaker is Vicki Webster who once was fighting together with to save the historic vessel before splitting up in 2009 and going her own way.


8 Responses to “Delta Queen Preservation Foundation seeks to purchase vessel”

  1. Justin DeWolfe Says:

    Go Vicki Webster! It will be a cold day in hell before I would ever stay on the Delta Queen" Hotel". The Queen needs to be back on the river operating as she was meant to. I'll be one of the first to take a cruise when she returns. Oberstar is now out of office…the next step for him is a bad nursing home where they abuse the residents. See what happens to thoes who try to stop the Queen….

  2. Franz Neumeier Says:

    Just to make sure things do not get mixed up: the Delta Queen Preservation Foundation is not Vicki Webster – for now these are two different initiatives to buy and save the Delta Queen.

  3. Justin DeWolfe Says:

    Right you are, Vicki is the protoge of Betty Blake herself I believe, the original heroine of the Queen back in the early 70s.. The Delta Queen Preservation Foundation seems more content to keep the Queen as a hotel vs Save the Queen 2010 which wants to return to boat to the rivers ASAP…or am I wrong on that? I'm from the school of thought that the Queen should be operating. We have the Delta King for a floating (sort of) hotel, we don't need the Queen for that.

  4. Franz Says:

    Justin, I didn't say anything like this at all. For now, I think it's not appropriate to compare Vicki Webster to Betty Blake at all. There had many people before *claiming* to have a plan and the money to buy the DQ and put her back to the rivers – all of them failed completely. So let's not make a hero before there are any substantial facts available, please. And let's not become over-enthusiastic just from some vague statements in a press release …

  5. Justin DeWolfe Says:

    Fair enough Herr Franz. I thought that Vicki knew and worked with Betty Blake, but I could be wrong. You're one the front line, I'm just a mere steamboat enthusiast.

  6. Franz Says:

    As far as I know, Vicki was in betty Blakes's team. But still, I prefer to not celebrating her as a DQ hero just because she sent out a press release announcing that she's intending to bring the DQ back on the rivers … Good intentions alone do not save the Delta Queen at all. Money does, support from Congress and the Coast Guard does …

  7. Ron Amoroso Says:

    Big Queen supporter from the SF Bay Area  where it originated and totally support the idea of having it back on the rivers where it truly belongs.
    So please help us all to understand. Are both you and Vicki Webster intent on having the queen cruising the rivers again with the substantive difference being the approach towards that end??
    Very sad to see the outcome regarding the Mississippi Queen. Thoroughly enjoyed a trip on that vessel in 2000.  

  8. Franz Says:

    Ron, that's exactly how it is. We all want to save the Delta Queen, i.e. getting her back on the rivers as an overnight passenger vessel. We both (and many other supporters, too) believe that in the long term she can only survive by taking care of herself, financially, and we only see a chance for that as a cruise ship business.
    Merry Christmas to you, and let's hope that the year 2011 brings very good news for the Delta Queen.