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Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders - abc27 WHTM

Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

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It's only a one mile journey in distance, but it covers nearly two centuries in time.


"People come to enjoy the river," said Don Lebo, as he guided another load of vehicles onto the Roaring Bull V. "They come to enjoy the scenery and to enjoy the wildlife."


Lebo should know. He's been at the helm of the Roaring Bull V and the Falcon III ferry boats for 25 years.


The 20 minute trip across the Susquehanna River dates back to the early 1800's when the Millersburg Ferry system first became official. And the ferry boat crossing still carries thousands of passengers and vehicles every year. It was once a vital economic link between Perry and Dauphin counties, but now is mainly appreciated as a ride into the past.


"This probably is one of the last, if not the last of the wooden double stern wheeler ferries in the United States," said Lebo.


And as a nod to the ferry's rich history, opening and closing wooden doors on each shore are still used to signal that passengers and/or vehicles are waiting to board.


"It's our first time on the ferry boat and we are anxious to see what's on the other side," said Doris and Wanda from Lewistown.


Some passengers prefer taking the ferry to save time and gas.


Stan and Gloria Richard of Perry County rode with their classic 1976 Studebaker.


"When we're in Millersburg and want to go back to Liverpool," said Richard, "we just get on the boat, instead of driving all the way down to Clark's Ferry Bridge."


Bob and Karen from Roanoke, Virginia, were enjoying the beauty along the way.


"I like the mechanics of the boat," said Bob. "Karen likes the scenery. It was very pretty. It's a very pretty part of the country."


Over the years, there have been various renditions of the ferry boats, with weather and wear requiring constant upkeep and periodic replacement of the crafts. The river based business was privately operated for most of its existence, but since 1990 has been overseen by the Millersburg Ferry Boat Association. The Millersburg Ferry was listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites in 2006.

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