With its stacks puffing out clouds of realistic steam, a large riverboat model called the Robert E. Lee looks poised to make its way down the Mighty Mississippi, as it sat near a woodcut relief of the “Old South” riverboat inside Mark Twain Dinette.

With its stacks puffing out clouds of realistic steam, a large riverboat model called the Robert E. Lee looks poised to make its way down the Mighty Mississippi, as it sat near a woodcut relief of the “Old South” riverboat inside Mark Twain Dinette.

Owner Jody Bogue said he had been looking for a riverboat for the restaurant after seeing a similar model in a window in Keokuk. The search went on, until Bogue came across a recent Craigslist post from a Wentzville resident who was selling what he had been searching for. The two pieces of art display details that conjure images of the sprawling riverboats that have steamed by America’s Hometown since its early days. Bogue said he plans to find a prominent place to display the model so everyone can see it.

“We always thought it would be really cool to have one of those in the restaurant,” he said.

Currently, the Robert E. Lee rests atop two tables in the private meeting room, measuring six feet long, 20 inches wide and almost 40 inches tall. And it doesn’t just look like it’s ready for a voyage — Bogue said the model sports a 12-volt motor to turn the paddlewheel and a layer of foam underneath to make it float, noting with a laugh that he didn’t plan to test out that ability.

The model sports a trio of tiny wooden trunks on the deck, with one labeled Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum on its side. A sign on the bow reads “Clarksville, Mo. Departures Daily: 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. Sharp!” Just above, a captain and co captain are visible through the windows of the pilothouse. Intricate metalwork spans the towering black and gold stacks, topped with cottony clouds of steam drifting skyward.

The Old South woodcut relief shares the Robert E. Lee’s constant sense of motion. Many of the features carved into the wood plank are delicate: wisps of steam float toward the boat’s stern, bright red flags flap in the breeze and the rippling waves of the river seem to lap at the hull of the riverboat. A paddle box near the middle of the boat announces in large red letters: “Old South” and “Mississippi River.”

Soon enough, Hannibal’s riverfront will be home to riverboats once again. Thanks to these two additions to the Mark Twain Dinette, visitors can stop by to fulfill their dreams of a riverboat cruise all year.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com