Riverboat named for Louisville legend christened

Riverboat named for Louisville legend christened

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The Belle of Louisville may have to move over for the city's newest riverboat.

Thursday, the Mary M. Miller was officially christened and brought into service as the newest member of the Waterfront fleet.

Made in Utica, the boat had stints in Kansas and Savannah, GA before making a 2,000 mile journey to Louisville.

It's named after a little-known Louisville legend who became the first woman in the U.S. to get a steamboat license.

Her family was on-hand for Thursday's maiden voyage.

"I did a paper on her in elementary school," Rebecca Sternberg, Miller's great-great granddaughter, said. "It's just really excited to be part of this and history."

"If a girl wonders if she can be anybody, bring her down here and show her this boat," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "Tell her someday we're going to name a boat after you, too, young lady."

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For the waterfront, the new boat isn't just about history. The replacement for the Spirit of Jefferson is built to make money.

"It's priced us out of the market because it's too small," Waterfront Development Corporation president David Karem said of the Jefferson. "It's also in need of a lot of work."

Slightly smaller and about 60 years younger than the Belle of Louisville, the Mary M. Miller has a large capacity and the ability to have two private events going on at the same time.

"This boat provides us with a whole extra deck and gives us much more flexibility on charters and cruises," Karem said.

The Mary M. Miller will start a regular schedule Friday.

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