Object No. 18: Ohio River Ice Piers

There is little documentation about the three concrete ice piers situated in the Ohio River near the Simon Kenton Memorial Suspension Bridge.

The three massive structures were 300 feet from the shoreline when constructed, according to a news article housed at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center.

Constructed in the early 1900s, possibly late 1902 or early 1903, the piers came to be through the efforts of Kentucky U.S. Rep. James H. Kehoe of Maysville. When constructed, and prior to the dam system on the Ohio River, much more of the piers were visible above the water line than what is seen today.

The piers were used by packet boats plying the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.  Those packets included the White Collar Line boats, Queen City, Virginia, Ohio, Gordon Greene.  The packets traveling between Cincinnati and Huntington and Charleston, W.Va. were Keystone State, Kanawha, Greenland, Greenwood, Tacoma, Tom Greene and Chris Greene.

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The packets would tie up at the piers when the Ohio River was frozen.  According to one article, the "packets would tie up and hide during heavy flow of ice in the river in winter or when the river was frozen over."

According to a Nov. 13, 1903, notice in the Robertson Advance, 58 people were employed to build the piers.

In 1941, work began installing 21 new mooring rings on the ice piers.  Each pier was to have seven new rings.  Fifteen men from the U.S. Engineering repair crew out of Cincinnati did the work of installing the rings.

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