Cherokee Village's Thunderbird Queen destroyed in storm

(Source: David Webb)
(Source: David Webb)
Lake Thunderbird in Cherokee Village (Source: KAIT)
Lake Thunderbird in Cherokee Village (Source: KAIT)

CHEROKEE VILLAGE, AR (KAIT) - The Thunderbird Queen is an important piece of Cherokee Village's history.

The boat celebrated 50 years of giving tours around the city's lakes in 2017 but was destroyed in recent storms.

"The walls, the roof, were all taken out," David Webb, the Cherokee Village Suburban Improvement District General Manager, said. "The windows were taken down."

The barge was used a lot in the summer time for tours. It was also used to give Christmas light tours of the lakefront properties in December.

In a community surrounded by water and boating activities, the Queen was an important piece of history for many people.

"As the captain would be driving the Queen, kids would sit up on his knee and get to steer the boat, or so they thought, as she went around Lake Thunderbird," Webb said. "There's a lot of good memories there for people that did that as a kid and are now property owners here."

The city is not sure yet if there will be a replacement for the Queen, but web said she gave many years of great service.

When they found the damage last week, the marina manager took the boat for one last trip around Lake Thunderbird.

"[He] propped up one wall, tied it up, and took her around and then took her out," Webb said.

There was other storm damage reported to some of the boats and properties in Cherokee Village, but Office of Emergency Management Director David Woods said nobody was injured.

Woods also said the strong storms and recent tornado warnings did reiterate their need for tornado sirens in the town, though.

They are still raising money to get those sirens installed.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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