The original Minnesota Centennial Showboat, shown on these postcards, was operated by the University Theater on the Mississippi River during the summer. It was based on the river adjacent to the University's Minneapolis campus. Cast members were students at the University of Minnesota.
The postcard below shows an interior scene with the 1961 Bloomer Girl production.
The Minnesota Centennial Showboat was originally a 175-foot (53 m)-long paddlewheeler, the General John Newton, commissioned in 1899. In 1958, the Minnesota State Centennial year, the boat was purchased by the University of Minnesota for $1 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was renamed and transformed into the Minnesota Centennial Showboat. The Showboat closed for major repairs in 1993. In 2000, it was destroyed by a fire caused by an errant welding spark.
In 2001 construction of a new showboat began. In 2002 the new Minnesota Centennial Showboat arrived at its new docking site at Harriet Island across from downtown St. Paul in April. It opened with a play on July 4.
This video is the Minnesota Centennial Showboat 50th Anniversary Documentary.
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