2016 GWBS Poster

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Last Trip of the Day, by Judy Maring

Artist Judy Maring visited the SC Maritime Museum for subject inspiration. Information about steamboats caught her eye, because she didn’t know the Georgetown area had steamboats.

She settled on the Governor Safford, which was a sidewheeler built in 1884 in Camden, New Jersey. Its paddle wheel was on the side to make it easier to turn around in narrow rivers.

Once she had a subject, Maring studied up. She pored over blurry black and white photos in the Georgetown County Library digital archives and read countless issues of the Sunday Outlook, an early 20th century local weekly newspaper.

The Governor Safford first came to Georgetown in 1901, when the Atlantic Coast Lumber Co. used the side-wheeler to ferry employees and guests twice daily to Hagley Landing, where they then caught a train to Pawleys Island. In 1906 a hurricane destroyed the railroad bed, and the Governor Safford was sold to the Jamestown Exposition, Excursion and Steamboat Co. of New York.

Taking refreshing trips on the Governor Safford, especially during steamy southern summers, must have been such a treat. Maring found an advertisement that described a moonlit voyage to North Island on the Fourth of July. A band was aboard the elegant excursion boat, and some people brought their bathing attire so they could take a dip in the surf. Young lovers, the ad said, were welcome to wander off and find a secluded area where they could whisper sweet nothings.

“Last Trip of the Day” shows the Governor Safford chugging briskly along the Waccamaw River late in the afternoon, on its last trip of the day, headed to Hagley Landing. Passengers are on two deck levels enjoying the breeze, and smoke billows thickly from a central stack.