OL’ MAN RIVER: Memoirs of a Riverboat Captain


OL’ MAN RIVER: Memoirs of a Riverboat Captain

By Capt. Wm. D. Bowell, Sr.

Edited by Biloine Young

Cartoons by Jerry Fearing

Dimensions: 8″ x 10″, 224 pages

HARDCOVER w/dustjacket

ISBN: 978-1-890434-69-4

CAPTAIN BILL BOWELL’S attraction to the Mississippi River is as genetic as it is entrepreneurial. A descendant of a Pennsylvania steamboat captain, Bowell launched his Padelford Packet Boat Company in 1970 on a nearly deserted Harriet Island in St. Paul, Minnesota. His excursion business grew quickly as did his fleet, and led the way in transforming the St. Paul riverfront. Harriet Island now enjoys new life as a regional park.

Charting his own course has been a hallmark of Bowell’s life. As a boy, he shined shoes and sold magazines on the streets of St. Paul to help his family survive the Great Depression. As a paratrooper in World War II, he fought on D-Day and in the Battle of the Bulge. As a Chicago account executive, he developed trade publications for the likes of Holiday Inn, Oldsmobile, Greyhound, and United Airlines. As an entrepreneur, he created a national catalog for discount merchandisers and made promotional products for such corporate giants as Dairy Queen and Northwest Airlines before beginning the Padelford Company.

Captain Bowell’s story is the stuff of legends, and he tells these and other captivating tales with trademark directness and humor. His life’s work has earned him local and national acclaim—and indisputable boasting rights to the title of OL’ MAN RIVER.

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