September 16, 2002
Scale-model sternwheeler is a real eye-catcher
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL - When Earl Anderson retired as a shipfitter for Todd Shipyards, he finally had the time to do what he really wanted - build scale-model replicas of historic ships. His latest creation, a model of a Missouri River sternwheeler, is on display at McCoy's Mercantile on Duvall's Main Street.
The beautiful model ship, remarkably detailed, earned blue and Outstanding Exhibitor ribbons at the Evergreen State Fair. He named the model the Proud Mary.
As a real sternwheeler, the Proud Mary never existed, said Anderson. It is a replica of another ship called the Far West that plied the Missouri River during the early 1800s. Anderson said he got the name Proud Mary from a Creedence Clearwater song, plus, his wife's name is Mary.
"It was built from research and imagination," said Anderson, 62. "There is a rich history to these sternwheelers. They could move in a foot of water and carried passengers and cargo from as far south as New Orleans to as far north as Fort Denton, Montana."
The first model he built was a Victory tugboat. When he completed that project, he began work on the Proud Mary. A year and 2000 hours of work later, the Proud Mary was complete, down to the last detail. Working parts include lights, the paddle wheel and even a tiny steam calliope. He gave the ship a water test for about an hour and it worked fine, said Anderson.
The scale is 3/8"= one foot. The model weighs 46 pounds and is over 47 inches long. The ship runs on a 12 volt Nicad battery. It is constructed of pine, spruce hemlock, cherry, walnut and several other hardwoods, plus brass, copper, paper and cloth.
"The figures are the only thing that I bought," he said. "Everything else I made from scratch. All the detailing is from my own ideas."
Among many of the imaginative details are a miniature 20-star flag and a "mouse" made from a pussywillow that is in a tiny cat's mouth. There are two "ship's cats" on the model. Pennies make up the bases for the tables on the top deck. Passenger on the top deck dance to the music of the ship's band.
Anderson said during Woodstack, on Sept. 21, he plans on having the boat outside of the store to demonstrate to visitors how everything works. The model will remain on display at McCoy's Mercantile until mid-October.
Anderson, a member of the Duvall Historical Society, says his next project will be a model of one of the riverboats that came up the Snoqualmie River in the late 1800s and early 1900s.