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The JUANITA was built to replace a wooden hull towboat that was also named JUANITA.
The 1st one was built in 1928 as the ESTELL II in Madison IN. The ESTELL II was the second boat in a long line of boats owned by O F Shearer & Sons that streched from the early 1900's to 1973.
The primary duties of the JUANITA were servicing the Shearer landing at Cedar Grove, WV and coal laoding docks on the upper Kanawha River. The JUANITA and the rest of the Shearer operations were sold in 1973 to Indiana & Michigan Power Co. In 1976 their base of operation was moved to Lakin, WV Mile 257.2 on the Ohio River.
We purchased the boat in 1994 and returned it to the Kanawha River after nearly twenty year absense. When we purchased the boat it needed extensive renovation. There were no living facilities. The bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room area were added. No changes were made to the outside appearance.
The hull has been sandblasted and coated with Coal Tar epoxy. The paddlewheel was rebuilt and made one foot larger in diameter.
The three steering rudders were replaced with two new rudders.
The toughest part of the renovation was removing 19 tons of river gravel ballast from the bow rake compartment. All the gravel was removed by hand using plastic buckets approximately 450 buckets. This ballast was replaced with 6 tons of steel placed as close to the head of the boat as possible.
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