LAKE ELSINORE: With restoration unfeasible, Princess dismantled | Lake Elsinore News |

31 Мар 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Princess 37 S boat

LAKE ELSINORE: With restoration unfeasible, Princess dismantled

As an excavator’s steel claws tore into the Lake Elsinore Princess’ wooden stern and the second deck began to collapse, Joyce Hohenadl gasped.

“Oh my goodness,” she exclaimed.

Pete Dawson flinched.

“It’s kind of like going to a memorial,” he said.

They watched as their dreams of resurrecting the 90-year-old vessel so it could cruise the lake were ripped apart plank by plank Friday, Oct. 18.

All that would be left when the demolition concluded were a few souvenirs for the faithful and mementoes for the Lake Elsinore Historical Society to display.

“I can’t get over how fast the destruction’s going,” Hohenadl said. “It’s seems like it’s so easy to destroy and so hard to rebuild.”

She along with Dawson, her husband, Eike, Donna Franson, Ruth Atkins and Jerry Harmatz, formed the Lake Elsinore Princess Foundation a few years ago with the mission of raising money and recruiting volunteers to restore the boat.

With the Princess already designated as a Riverside County historic landmark, they envisioned getting it into sufficient shape to serve as a lake tour boat for both education and pleasure.

“People thought it would be an addition to the recreational scene of Lake Elsinore, but we just couldn’t get the financial backing,” Eike Hohenadl said.

The vision dates back 15 years when Dawson, a veteran boater who ran his own lake tours, came up with the idea of rescuing the Princess from salvage in Long Beach and relaunching her on Lake Elsinore.

Dawson recalled with nostalgic affection the glass-bottom boat’s glory days giving excursions around Catalina Island.

The Princess was one of a kind, built for Catalina owner William Wrigley in 1923 by master shipwright William Muller and launched in 1924.

“My mom and dad met on this boat,” Dawson said. “It’s got a lot memories for me.”

Princess 37 S boat

He bought the Princess for a $1 in 1999. He said it cost him and backers $86,000 to have it hauled to Lake Elsinore.

In later years, a series of obstacles, including environmental issues and modern requirements, intervened to obstruct the project. Dawson had the boat towed to the small harbor from which he sails on the south side of the lake in Lakeland Village.

While the boat continued to deteriorate, the foundation took up the cause. Its members worked hard to get it back into shape, but the outlook became increasingly bleak, its hull sunken in the mud.

The foundation board recently decided it was a hopeless task and sought help to remove the Princess before the winter rains.

Volunteers from Lamb’s Fellowship church volunteered to do the demolition, while the waste collection firm, CCR, provided free disposal.

Foundation members plan to salvage various items for a historical display and pieces of timber for the creation of plaques honoring those who supported the project.

The Princess has been relegated to yet another page in Lake Elsinore’s history of unfulfilled promises. Crushed by the loss, Dawson said Friday was among the worst days of his life. Yet, hope lingers.

“I’ve been looking for the last two years for another boat, thinking this was going to happen to the Princess,” he said. “Some of the happiest days of my life have been showing people the lake and we’re going to do it again.”

Princess 37 S boat
Princess 37 S boat

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