Freedomland Today

-The Freedomland Boats

I've now found three of the Boats that were rides in Freedomland.  All were made by Todd Shipyards.

The first was from the New York Harbor Tug Boats . I was informed of this by Bob Mangels who also sent a photo of it from Quassy Park, in Middlebury, CT. I drove up there to look at the boat and had talked to George Frantzis, the owner, on the phone.

Here it sits on a skid in Quassy Park. Note that the side paddles are fake. The boat is actually diesel powered.
Here's a view from the front of the Tug. All these were shot thru a chain link fence with a Fuji DS-300 by me. (my normal camera for this site (was) is an Epson Photo PC). You can see that once unusual aspect is that the Tug is a flat bottom. If anyone knows the names of the Tugboats, please let me know.

There is a sad update to this boat.  When I first came across it.. I found out the the owner was not going to fix it, and he offered it to me if I could tow it away.   Not having the room in my backyard, I contacted various organizations including South Street Seaport, my village, other villages and even the owner of the Sternwheeler (see below). Unfortunately, no one was able to take it , and when an engineer from Ellenville came to look at it, courtesy of Bob Mangels, it turned out to be almost 50 feet long and 15 feet wide and would have needed a crane to lift it.  Sorry to say. the expense did not justify the boat.. and it was broken up around late April-May, 98.

Well, it seems part of the boat survived.  And I have the pieces of it.  Today, Sept 27 1998, I went up to Connecticut, and picked them up. All that was left were the 2 paddlewheels and the smoke stack.  George let me take them, so here they are in my back yard. The bench is mine.

Oh..that's Sue who wrote the article that started all this! This is my little backyard "park". I've actually moved it back a few feet.

Oh, one new thing as of late January 2002.. I have finally found out the names of the Tugboats. One was "Pert", and the other was "Totsie". And as far as I have been able to find out.. I have what is left of "Totsie" So my park has a name!!

Since this original page was done, back in June 2007 we had moved from Freeport, NY to Bay Shore NY. We had the the Paddles and smokestack brought with us. Here it is in Bay Shore
After a while we decided to donate the Paddlewheels and Smokestack to the Co-Op City Historical Group and on June 25, 2014 it was picked up. eventually to be situated behind the Freedomland Plaque on Barstow Ave

Here they are picking up "Totsie's" remains



So so long Totsie. At least she will be there for all to see at the original site. And we might be donating some of our collection to be put on display there for all to see!

Well  we have more good news.  Totsie is due to be put on outdoor display this summer (2019) along with the 50th anniversary of Co-Op City.  It will be on Bartow Ave Next to the Bartow Mall in the small park on Bartow Ave  and Alcott Place.  The Freedomland Plaque will be moved there too.  

Also I've gotten the final word on what happened to Pert.  Seems it was sold after the park closed to someone who thought it was a real boat..and decided to take it to sea... (we're not sure if it was Long Island Sound, or Lower New York Harbor).  But it foundered..and is now resting quietly on the bottom.  So long  Pert.

The next boat was one of the 2 sternwheelers,  However, for many years it was assumed that the Canadian was the Showboat restaurant in Greenwich, CT, and the American had been forgotten in East Haddam, CT. Recently it was discovered that that info came from an article in a Hartford paper that was mistaken! So the American ended up in Port Chester and the Canadian was the one in the millpond

 The American, and was part of the Great Lakes Cruise.  The boat is owned by Bill Frenz of Port Chester and was originally at a restaurant in Greenwich, CT called the Showboat.  The boat is sitting in Port Chester Harbor (behind the Willet House Restaurant) and Bill has plans to turn this back into a restaurant once more.  The stacks were repainted red at some time in it's past, and it's sagging due to being sunk in a winter storm back in 95.  Bill raised it back up and it is sitting.. waiting to be repaired.

The above 2 photos of the Riverboat at the Showboat Inn, in Greenwich Conn,. taken late 60's or about 1970. (courtesy of Bob Mangels)

This is the boat as it sits today in Port Chester harbor.  You can see the stacks are now red. And the stern is listing slightly.  This is viewable from a public parking lot behind the Willet House restaurant.

The American HAS been raised and restored and looks Great!! Bill was very very happy to show it to Sue and myself.. and it includes some of the original color of the seats from Freedomland . It is now known as Dot & Bill's Showboat.  Check it out!!!

A recent update to this is that as of September 2016, the American is now up for sale! Please save it!!

Well..the American is now gone too. In late  2018 it was sold. and towed out to a container ship which tried to lift it up... but it broke apart.  And was subsequently disposed of.  

The last boat was the other of the 2 Sternwheelers, The Canadian, and was also part of the Great Lakes Cruise. It currently resides in a millpond at what was once a private village museum called 'Historic Johnsonville" north of East Haddam, CT. I've been told that the museum and it's properties are up for sale.  There were auction tags on all the furniture. Thanks to Burton Clark, who informed me of the location of the boat. This was his Email to me.

Just found your site and i love it! visited twice as a child. lasting impressions. POI the American (ne: Canadian) is here in East Haddam CT as a static display at a private museum. she floats in a pond in a re-recreated 1900's village. The owner just passed away and everything is going up for sale. She was floated up the CT river, and dragged ashore on soaped-down timbers, then jacked and moved by a house moving company. The Middletown (CT) press (middletown, ct) had daily photo and story updates of the move. I was too young and dumb to save any of them. We're 2 1/2 hours out of the city (my daughter is in college in new york).......if you want directions e-mail me
Burton G. Clark

Below are the views of the Canadian in the millpond. It looks like it was never touched.. just forgotten. That other person there is Sue.

Unfortunately.. I received an email from Burt on Feb 20, 2005. Here it is:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Burton G. Clark"
To: "Rob Friedman"
Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2005 6:54 PM
Subject: The American
I'm sorry to report that the American (ne:Canadian) is no more. Without announcement or fanfare she was winched across the pond to the side with the road, and cut into truck sized pieces and hauled away. This has been the only visible activity at the site since it's sale. For about 40 years I have had comfort seeing her float in the pond. A very sad day for us park history buffs.
Also, as I stated earlier, I met the gentleman who has the brass nameplate from The Canadian in Greenlawn, LI. He's a very enthusiastic Coney Island collector.