Wyoming’s Demise Of The ‘E.C. Waters’ Boat In Yellowstone National Park
Throughout American history, there have been many shipwrecks. Wyoming is not exempt from shipwreck either. Here is a ship that found its fate in Yellowstone Park.
No doubt you've heard of the Titanic shipwreck, along with The Griffin and the Edmund Fitzgerald, made popular by Gordon Lightfoot's 'Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, in 1975.
Wyoming also has her own infamous 'shipwreck', if you will, which took place in Yellowstone National Park in 1906.
The owner of the boat and the Yellowstone Lake Boat Company, E.C.Waters, was quite the entrepreneur at the turn of the 20th century. He made good money in taking advantage of the natural waters in Yellowstone National Park.
People would arrive off the dusty stagecoach trail and Waters would transport them from the water's edge of Old Faithful, across the lake to the Lake Hotel, and dock the boat near the end of the south basin near Lakeside Spring.
As with many people, Waters had a rough attitude and had been known for not treating animals in a humane way. Having said that, he also wanted to promote park tourism, while turning a very nice, personal profit.
After awhile, the Park Department received so many complaints about Mr. Waters that, eventually, they tried to get another boat company in the park to take away his business.
Of course, this went over like a lead Zeppelin.
As nature tends to do, she took her course on Mr. Waters and his irritating fury with other people. The authorities eventually refused to relicense his boat, in hopes that it would run him out of business.
In the cold winter of 1906, Waters hired a man to keep watch over his boat. Unfortunately, the man died of a heart attack, as he rowed the boat to Stevenson Island, where it sat and fell further into decay.
In 1907, Waters was debarred from the lake, as posted by Park Superintendent Samuel Young, and could not come back until he received a letter from the Secretary of Interior. Well, that did happen and there the boat sat until the mid-1920's.
After awhile, the boats steam engine was taken out and used for heating at an island hotel for the next four decades.
By 1930, the ship was an eye-soar and in an effort to beautify the island, rangers drenched the boat with kerosene and burned it to the ground.
Such a sad fate for a vessel that could have been preserved for generations to come. Hindsight is always 20/20 and we'll never know what could have become of the E.C. Waters.
I think Mr. Lightfoot could write another song entitled, 'The Wreck of the E.C. Waters.' Just a thought.