Shanty Boat Town
I remember a few Shanty Boats on the Elk River. At one time, these houseboats stretched from the mouth of Court Street all the way up to the trolley bridge on the Elk . These were very tiny, usually one or two rooms at the most. The bathroom was the river, usually an "outhouse" built right in to the boat that dropped into the Elk. The funny thing is that the city wanted to get rid of the houseboats as far back as 1923 according to newspaper articles, and yet they were still there when I was a kid. This photo shows the last of the Shanty Boats just before early Urban Renewal.
Same scene, as the first photo, just up the riverbank. The people living on this boat were "junkers", finding wood, metal, cardboard.... anything to sell at the "recycling center". They brought their finds to the riverbank and sorted them. Some even had little food gardens.
Same scene again, looking in the opposite direction. Here you can see the old powerhouse for the Charleston Urban Railroad which was possibly by this time, the Boys Club. You also see the old Trolley bridge and railroad bridge crossing the Elk.
You can just barely see the bridge piers and deck in this photo, as the trees have reclaimed the riverbank long ago.
Notice the "outhouse" that discharges directly into the river
Kids learned to swim at a very early age on these boats. They had to...
This little guy didnt need a babysitter 24-7 on a houseboat.
Walking the gangplank while drunk or even while carrying groceries could be very tricky.
Typical family on the Elk
Some lived on the riverbank. Pay attention to this photo, because you're going to see it again.
And now for a guest commentator.....
Neighbors Ben & Gertie Vanpelt in 1941
This is the photo of me on the paddle
wheel boat taken the same day as the one with my Grandmother.
This was me on my Uncle Elvin's boat The railroad bridge is in the background.
My Grandmother on the paddle wheeler.