In 1930 the 22 year old glass bottom
boat M.V. Emperor was destroyed in a massive wind storm while at its bow moorings in outer
Avalon Bay. The M.V. Phoenix was resurrected from the salvaged wreckage of the Emperor and
built from almost identical plans in only six months.
The Phoenix' wheelhouse wheel was salvaged
from the wreckage of the M.V. Emperor
This beautiful and historic 105 foot
112 ton side-wheel glass bottom boat was built with four-inch thick Alaska cedar planking
at the Wilmington Boat Works in Long Beach and launched in 1931. The Phoenix is the
largest paddle-wheel glass bottom boat in the world. In her over 60 years of service in
Catalina, three Presidents of The United States have been passengers on her.
You can see the Phoenix' side paddles in action
through viewing windows.
In 1995 Ray Handy, president of the
Fun Zone Boat Company purchased the Phoenix for excursions in Newport Bay. As Ray said,
"It almost caused a riot in Catalina when it was taken out of service. They wanted to
keep it as an historic monument."
A front view of the Phoenix' wheelhouse
The Phoenix was taken to the Larson
Ship Yard in Long Beach for refurbishing. Ray said that four of the old one inch thick
glass underwater viewing windows were preserved in the refitting for harbor charters and
cruises.Today the Phoenix is one of the oldest, largest, and most beautiful boats in the
bay, and the pride of Balboa.
The Phoenix also serves as the Weddingboat
|Blasts From The Past
Do you remember where you were when these events
H.M. Bark Endeavour
Friday, April 16, 1999 was a day to
remember for the folks in Balboa. The H.M. Bark Endeavour - a historic traveling museum
came up Newport Bay on its way to the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. The Original
Endeavour was a 18th century British vessel that was captained by Lt. James Cook between
1768 and 1771 and later carried British troops during the Revolutionary war.
As the tall ship entered the mouth of
Newport Bay it was greeted by a flotilla of scores of boats of all kinds, along with
crowds of thousands along the shoreline.
The Night The Bayview Burned
It was early in the morning of April
12, 1982 when a fire rushed through the historic Bayview Hotel which had been located on
Palm Street, at the ferry landing across from the Balboa Fun Zone.
The main part of the ground floor of
the old Bayview had been occupied by Mutt Lynche's, a long popular beer hall and pizza
parlor. The fire department fought the fire for hours, but by dawn the historic building
was a total loss.
Just wondering if you ever did a story
on Norma Owen? I see you did one
on Robert Owen, her husband. Norma had lived in Balboa for close to 35
years. She had lived at 401 E. Bay for at least 23 years. And had worked
for Mike at the Balboa Pharmacy for many years, before that she had
worked at bank of Newport.
i enjoyed your talesofbalboa website.
i'm allowed to catch live glimspes of
nb even when i'm away at school in santa barbara. however, i did catch just
a minor mistake. the photo of the balboa ferry captain isn't morgan
mcelfresh, i wish i could tell you this guy's name but i forgot. morgan is
the tall skinny fellow!