People who come to Under-The-Hill-Saloon will see all kinds of pictures and memorabilia throughout the saloon decorating the walls; pictures from the 1800’s, Jerry Lee Lewis, before and after pictures of the saloon, Flip Wilson, steamboats, 1800’s artwork, flintlock rifles, pistols and more.
As visitors glance around the old saloon one object, or should I say three or four, will surly catch their attention; the replica steamboats built by Captain Howard Tate.
There are four steamboat models in the saloon, all encased in glass. One is the Natchez that is about 24 inches long and 4 inches wide that is located over the back door that leads to the indoor courtyard room. There are three others over the bar: Delta Queen, Sultana and J. M. White. They measure about 36 inches long and 8 inches wide. The three over the bar have an interesting story behind them.
When asked about the steamboat models Mr. Andre’ Sr. chuckled and said, “I got those from Captain Tate.” “He was a pilot on the Delta Queen and he loved to shoot craps with his crew.” I asked Mr. Andre’ if he bought them and he said, “No, not really. I would loan Captain Tate some money occasionally and he would bring me a boat in lieu of money, so they are repayment of loans over the years.”
Captain Tate, a friend of Andre’ Sr., was a master pilot on the Delta Queen and he loved to shoot craps with his crew. Sometimes, when the steamboat would dock, he would borrow some money from Mr. Andre’ Sr.
As Andre’ Sr. said “when the boat landed I would see some of the crew and I would ask them how Tate was doing?” “If they said ‘he killed us’ I knew I wouldn’t see Tate this trip.” Andre’ Sr. continued, “but sometimes when I asked about Tate the crew would tell me ‘we killed the captain’, so I knew Tate would soon be up the river bank to borrow four or five hundred dollars to get back into the crap game.”
On some of his visits up to the saloon Captain Tate would bring one of the steamboat reproductions that are now over the saloon bar and he would give it to Mr. Andre’ as payment of the loans he had received. “Tate loved the Mississippi River” Mr. Andre’ said, “and he built those steamboat replicas and would give one to me each time he wanted to repay a loan.” “ I think I came out on the good side of that deal.”