Tarrant County, TXGenWeb
The Show Boat
To compliment Municipal Beach, the forerunner of Casino Park, the show boat 'Alvez' cruised the waters of Lake Worth. The boat was built on the lake and named the Alvez by it's Skipper, B.R. Dallehite, to honor the Galvez, a boat formerly captained by him in Galveston Bay.
The Alvez was launched on April 18, 1925 and had it's maiden voyage on May 21st of the same year. For four nights a week, it was available to the public. On other nights, it catered strictly for private parties.
For 75 cents, a person could take a 14 mile cruise from nine mile bridge to the spillway on two round trips. She measured 130 feet long, 32 feet wide and displaced 5 feet of water, and could take up to 600 passengers at a time. She could make 8 knots with full steam ahead. Her twin engines were built in New York. A crew of four, consisting of a captain, engineer and 2 deck hands manned her.
The double decked boat was large enough to house a restaurant, bar, orchestra and two dance floors. The top deck spelled r-o-m-a-n-c-e as couples danced under the stars. But just in case of weather, a smaller dance floor on the lower deck kept the serious fox trotters dry.
Many people met their soulmates aboard this boat. Reed Collier met Ferrol Howell during a private party that was given by the Fort Worth Exchange Bank in the 1920's. The single young men were instructed to seek for their dates one of the single lady employees They married a year later, and remained married for a lifetime.
Entertainment was provided by various local orchestras, and dancing by an all-girl group called the Texas Bluebonnets. It consisted of Muriel Hemmle playing tenor banjo; Ida Malone on the saxophone; Ida Mae Williams as the drummer and Mary Mills on the piano.
The bar served 'Bevo', an awful tasting nonalcoholic beer of the Prohibition days. Reed Collier recalled: "Nothing so gruesome ever was poured".This "near beer" beer was made by Anheiser Busch, and kept the company solvent during the dry years.
Regretfully, The Alvez was destroyed by fire and sank in Lake Worth at 12:30 p.m. on Feb 7, 1928. The boat was returning to dock after pulling stumps from the Lake. Landrum, in charge of the boat, and Pilot Clyde Gladden were burned slightly while jumping in the lake. Landrum said he had left the engine room to join Gladden in the pilot-house, when he looked out and saw smoke coming from the engine room. He said the fire may have been caused by a short circuit, since he had been recharging the batteries.
Jimmy Roach was out fishing on the lake that day and snagged two of the biggest fish he had ever caught - Landrum and Gladden, swimming away from the Alvez. Once aboard the skiff, an explosion rocked the boat, the result of 100 gallons of fuel oil and gasoline aboard the Alvez. The Alvez then disappeared under the water forever - taking along all the memories it had - or ever would have.
The decades may pass, but the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Another paddleboat has taken the place of the Alvez, ironically moored just off the shore where the Casino Ballroom once stood. The "Queen Mariah" is similar to the Alvez, being a double-decker paddleboat, capable of carrying 400 passengers.
WPA Project, Tarrant County
Fort Worth Star-Telegram August 11, 1980 (Jack Gordon)
This page was last modified 13 Feb 2003.
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