Evenings Upstairs


DECEMBER 6, 2018

Evenings Upstairs - 19th Century Steamboats Built at Communities along the Lower Ohio River

Presented by Robert Swenson, emeritus SIU Associate Professor of Architecture, retired architect, and Heritage Preservation Consultant.

Mr. Swenson will present his on-going research about 19th Century Steamboats built at towns along the Lower Ohio River. Born 1941 and raised on the lower Ohio, Mr. Swenson will share research obtained from over 50 libraries, museums, and research centers throughout the inland river system, and personal memories growing up in Metropolis - riding on the Delta Queen and listening to the late night sounds of the deep mellow steam whistles on the river while trying to sleep on hot muggy summer nights. He will share research about the over 260 steamers known to be built at Smithland, Paducah, Metropolis, Mound City, and Cairo beginning in the 1820s through the 1930s. The story includes boats that played significant roles during the Civil War, boats built for the Missouri River trade during the Gold Rush, railroad ferries, logging boats, and the 327 foot long "cotton boat" Mary Belle, one of the largest ever to ply the lower Ohio and Mississippi rivers in the 1870s.

Using digital slides supported by video clips and music, Swenson will discuss the complexity of river transportation problem-solving as part of a bigger story of the evolution of the lumber-milling, metallurgy, wood-craft, and steamboat building industries from the upper to the lower Ohio River. He will discuss hull design and engineering difficulties related to large floating wooden structures that carry heavy loads and subject to challenging river and weather conditions. Stern-wheel, center-wheel, and side-wheel propulsion systems, wood post and "Hog-chains" structural systems, and various boat types including "packet", "tow", "excursion", "cotton boat", "railroad or wagon ferry", "mail boat", "showboat", "photographer's boat", "wharf boat", "propeller tug", "snag boat", or combinations of these various functions will also be discussed. Questions and conversation will follow.

Robert Swenson, Architect is an Emeritus Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He was born in Rosiclare, IL in 1941. He is a Registered/Licensed Architect Illinois (1974-2017) and Missouri (in-active), has a BA Design & Community Development - Southern Illinois University 1965 and Master of Architecture - Yale University 1969. His private practice since 1983 includes historic preservation / restoration projects from Cairo to Springfield, Illinois and Paducah, Kentucky, single and multi-family housing, rural health clinics, nursing homes up-grades and additions, associate architect for the SIU Small Business Incubator facility, regional airport terminal, community centers, educational facilities (high school, junior college, and university), recreational facilities, and several neighborhood and community parks and formal Labyrinth meditation gardens.

Mr. Swenson has regularly taught courses related to architectural design, urban design, structural engineering, and professional practice in the undergraduate and graduate programs [continuing post-retirement]. He has facilitated the development of and co-taught the Preservation Summer inter-disciplinary course related to the southernmost Illinois region between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The Preservation Summer course received the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Education & Project of the Year awards from Landmarks Illinois for 2010. He received the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society. Mr. Swenson is co-Director for (Co-Principal Investigator) for the Library of Congress grant to SIUC for projects related to Lewis & Clark at the Confluence of the Rivers, including a permanent memorial to Lewis & Clark at the Confluence at Cairo, permanent exhibits at the Cairo Custom House Museum and the Cairo Public Library, digitization of early 1800s era documents for the "American Memory" Collection of the Library of Congress, development of a Southern Illinois History and Culture website, and research related to the southernmost Illinois connections to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

December 6, 2018 | 7:00 pm | 2nd Floor meeting room

All programs are free and open to the public.

Connecting People, Cultures & Ideas
For more information, contact Bobbie Wrinkle
Tel: 270-442-2510 ext. 117 (Toll-free 866-829-7532)
Email: bwrinkle@mclib.net



Evenings Upstairs 25th Anniversary Celebration featuring the Solid Rock'it Boosters

January 17, 2019

Evenings Upstairs is turning 25!  Join us to celebrate many years of great programming with a concert by local honky tonk band Solid Rock'it Boosters.

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Front Porches, Kentucky, and Your Hometown

March 28, 2019

Led by Michael Johnathan, Kentucky writer and musician. 

Co-sponsored by Kentucky Humanities.

Once upon a time, the front porch was the great pulpit, the community stage for families and hometowns.  These days, they don't even build front porches on homes anymore.

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The Man Behind Paducah's City Hall: Edward Durell Stone

May 2, 2019

Led by Melinda Winchester, Historic Preservationist

Join us for an engaging presentation on world renowned architect Edward Durell Stone, his famous works and fascinating career.

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Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky

July 11, 2019

With J. D. Wilkes, author and musician.

Co-sponsored by Kentucky Humanities.

Wilkes discusses the history of the traditional "barn dance" and other musical get-togethers of Kentucky's past and present.  The presentation will feature photographs as well as Wilkes' own performances of Kentucky tunes on banjo and harmonica.

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Lincoln, Race, and Emancipation

February 21, 2019

Led by Dr. James Humphreys, Professor of History, Murray State University.

To many Americans, Abraham Lincoln was the "great emancipator," a messianic figure, whose loathing of slavery drove him to employ his power as a president to dismantle the institution during the Civil War.  Actually the truth behind the stereotypical image of Lincoln is more complex.

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Adolph Rupp and the Rise of College Basketball

April 4, 2019

Led by James Duane Bolin, Professor Emeritus of History, Murray State University.

At the end of his illustrious coaching career University of Kentucky basketball coach, Adolph Rupp retired as the winningest coach in college basketball. He changed sports in America, but the fame and fortune that he found in the Bluegrass also changed him.

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Kentucky Humanities Chautauqua presents: Rachel Lee Rogers as Jean Ritchie, Damsel with a Dulcimer

June 13, 2019

Co-sponsored by Kentucky Humanities.

Jean Ritchie, known as the "Mother of Folk," was a major contributor to the national revival of folk music across America during the second half of the 20th century. 

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Kentucky Humanities Chautauqua presents: Anne Shelby as Aunt Molly Jackson, "Pistol Packin' Woman"

August 22, 2019

Co-sponsored by Kentucky Humanities.

Feisty, funny, and completely fearless, Aunt Molly Jackson lived for nearly 50 years in the coal camps of southeastern Kentucky, where her father, brothers, husband, and sons were miners. 

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About Evenings Upstairs

Since 1994, the flagship Adult Service program series has entertained and educated the public with performances and lectures each month.

Presenters include authors, professors, entertainers, local musical acts, and more.

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