Those of you who live in the Finger Lakes undoubtedly remember the Keuka Maid which sailed out of Hammondsport, NY. My wife and I had dinner on the Keuka Maid probably about 10 years ago and many folks who live in the Finger Lakes have partied on the Keuka Maid or perhaps were even married on the Keuka Maid. But the old girl fell on hard times. She was more like a floating hotel than a boat as she gained a lot of weight over the years and her bottom leaked so badly that the nearby fire company in Hammondsport had to keep pumping her out to keep her afloat!
Towards the end of 2012, the Keuka Maid was sold at auction and purchased by Jeremy Fields of the Fields Construction Company for $26,000. During January of 2013, Jeremy’s crew began dissembling the Keuka Maid and then moved all of the pieces over to his Marina in Woodsville, NY – a small hamlet which sits at the southern end of Canandaigua Lake. The little hamlet of Woodsville is historically significant. During the steamboat era the steamboats stopped there to be refueled with wood as they journeyed around Canandaigua Lake.
What is left of the Keuka Maid sits next to the Sawmill Restaurant in Woodville. The two World War II barges which were the main hulls of the Keuka Maid have been sanded and repainted with red primer. About a year ago, I had talked to Jeremy’s mother who owns the Sawmill Restaurant and she told me that the barges will be floated and then the super structure will be re-built upon the floating barges. Sort of the reverse process which was used in the disassembly the Keuka Maid. Unfortunately, I have no new information nor have I seen any plans as to what the new boat will look like.
The era of the paddle wheel steamboats has long departed from the Finger Lakes some 100 years ago and most folks now have enough money to own their own boat for pleasure purposes or for fishing. Even the Canandaigua Lady which sits at the northern end of Canandaigua Lake seems to have fallen on hard times and does not appear to attract many passengers. I would guess that reconstructing the Keuka Maid is more of a labor of love unless Jeremy intends to return the boat to Keuka Lake and start another passenger service there.