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Floating Hotel


From the Cincinnati Post, date handwritten is Sept. 15, 1952 [which seems in conflict with the date of Sept. 18 at the beginning of the article]:

Control of Floating Hotel Poses Problem

River Steamer Would House A-Plant Workers

By James T. Keenan, Post Special Writer


Columbus, O., Sept. 18—The attorney general was asked today what Ohio can do, if anything, if a 100-room floating hotel proposed for Portsmouth illegally sells liquor or conducts or allows gambling.

            The request for an opinion came from A. A. Rutkowski, the state’s chief liquor enforcement officer and the man Gov. Frank J. Lausche designated to bust the big commercial gambling joints a few years back.

            W. W. Kimble Jr., of Portsmouth, has an option on the Gordon Greene, once “the queen of the rivers,” according to H. B. Lyle, Cincinnati, secretary-treasurer of Greene Line Steamers, Inc.   The option expires Oct. 1, Lyle said.  The company is reported asking $60,000 for the boat. 

            Kimble didn’t reveal any additional money-making plans, if he has them.  However, a man who said he was a Portsmouth resident inquired from the liquor department by telephone if he could get a liquor permit for a floating hotel.  The answer was “no.”  Hard liquor permits have been frozen since April 11, 1949.

            However, Kimble or anyone else who establishes a floating hotel on the Ohio River may not need an Ohio liquor license.  The boundary between Ohio and Kentucky is the low water mark on the north side of the river.  Ohio owns none of the Ohio River except when waters are high and pass the low water mark on the north. Ohio might not be able to touch the boat regardless of how it is operated. 

            Kimble did not discuss how the deal would be financed.  Rutkowski’s agents have had reports that some of the gamblers who operated in the Ironton and Chesapeake area, and along the river generally, may have some money in the deal. 

            The Colony and continental Clubs stand in Chesapeake as shabby and weather-beaten monuments to the success of the governor’s drive against the big commercial spots.  The key to the Colony club, raided by Rutkowski, is still in a safety deposit box in an Ironton bank.  It was put there immediately after the raid four years ago and the owner of the property has never claimed it. 

            William Schwartz, who was connected with gambling in Chesapeake, after getting his schooling in Cuyahoga County and serving a term in Ohio Penitentiary for killing a man there, is now operating the Huntington Athletic Club in Huntington, W. Va., across the bridge from Chesapeake. 

            When Gordon Greene operated on the Ohio [,] liquor and beer were served under a federal license and the bar was closed while in port.