Could the Mary Woods 2 be restored after all?

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - In January 2010, the Mary Woods No. 2 sank. Now, it's headed for the scrap heap. Last month, state park officials declared the Mary Woods No. 2 would be laid to rest, with the exception of a few salvaged artifacts. But, one Region 8 man hopes to save what's left of the vessel from turning into a pile of scrap metal.

The Mary Woods No. 2 has been a landmark at Jacksonport State Park for years. But due to the high cost of renovations from damages in January of last year, state park officials say the Mary Woods No. 2 will not be rebuilt.

"It's a tragic loss. No one wanted it to happen. This time it's beyond restoration, and we just need to move on," said Arkansas State Park Commission Director Gregg Butts.

According to Butts, the cost to rebuild the vessel was estimated at 2 million dollars. "We can't recreate history. It's lost, and it's best to put the plan investment in the new visitor's center instead of rebuilding it," said Butts.

"It just looks to me like they just decided to let it go, scrap it, and get rid of it," says Steve Carpenter, who owns Josie's in Batesville. Carpenter says he is not ready to call it quits, and hopes to save the Mary Woods No. 2.

"I want to keep it from being destroyed and try to get a group of people together to maybe help purchase it and bring it to Batesville," said Carpenter.

Carpenter says the current appraised value is 15-thousand dollars, just for the remains. It would need to be dis-assembled, transported, and re-assembled. He says the vessel would be dry docked at Riverside Park.

"We have this beautiful river. I just think it would be something to draw people to Batesville, help with tourism, and help the town grow," said Carpenter. He says the Mary Woods Two was one of the last steamboats to work on the White River in 1931. "That boat docked here, and came here," said Carpenter, and a piece of history he does not want to see let go.

"You know once you save something you can make plans later on, but you know once it's gone, it's gone," said Carpenter.

Carpenter now hopes to gain local support. Jacksonport State Park Superintendent Mark Ballard says the vessel will be auctioned off in the next a few months, and sold to the highest bidder.

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