In 1923, Tom Reynolds' new Showboat Majestic slid into the water near Pittsburgh.
This started the Majestic on a career that carried her over the Ohio River and it's
tributaries for the next 20 years. The Reynolds family lived, played and performed
on the "Boat" until World War II, when it was tied up at Henderson, West Virginia
for three long years.
In 1945, Hiram College and Kent State University leased the
Majestic from the Reynolds family as a summer theatre experience for students. This
academic alliance revived the concept of Showboatin' and tramped the "Inland Waterway"
once again. In 1960, Indiana University took over and maintained the tradition.
The "Safety at Sea Act" of 1965 finally prohibited the wooden-hulled Majestic from
transporting its company town to town. It was tied up and dry-docked, this time
in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
The City of Cincinnati purchased the Showboat Majestic
in 1967 to serve as a focal point for the developing Central Riverfront. Until 1988,
it was leased to the University of Cincinnati as a summer stock theatre for its
students. Now, under the administration of Cincinnati Landmark Productions, in cooperation
with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, the Majestic is a professional summer
stock theatre utilizing local performers, providing them opportunity and experience
in a theatre rich with history, nostalgia and river romance!
While there are newer
boats on the Ohio today, the Majestic was the last of the purpose-built "floating
operas", the last to make one-night stands, the last to actively travel, the longest-lived
under one owner and home of the largest family - the eleven Reynolds children -
ever reared on a showboat.
With the burning of the original Goldenrod Showboat in
St. Louis, MO., on June 1, 1962, the Showboat Majestic became the last survivor
of the singularly American tradition of floating theatres. On December 20th 1989, the Showboat
Majestic became an official National Historical Landmark (#89002456).