Fort Benton's keelboat getting new "old" look


August 23, 2023

Steve Edwards

This is part of the work crew doing Phase II refurbishing of the "Mandan" keelboat located on the riverfront in Fort Benton. The group doing the refurbishing hopes to have work completed next year for a 50th year celebration of when the replica arrived in Fort Benton. (l-r) Workers pictured include Bob Aho, Kirby Matthew (preservationist from Deer Lodge, Henry Schnackenberg, and Dave Hyem.

By Steve Edwards

BCJ News

Early last June I stopped in Fort Benton for a walk along the Missouri River. From the Visitors' Center I was driving northeast on Front Street to look at the "Mandan," the old keelboat that sits on the river bank adjacent to the Lewis and Clark Memorial and the boat ramp. I could see the mast was gone from the keelboat. At the keelboat site a group of guys were lounging in the shade surrounded by tools and wood pieces. The fence around the Mandan was open on the river side. I could see some of the innards of the old boat as some planking had been removed from the...

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