The Princess Donna was built in 1934. Imagine the stories she could tell....
She is the oldest operating commercial tour boat in Florida. A true piece of Florida History.
These boats were one of the first tourist attractions in the state and people came from all over the country for a boat ride and to view the beautiful pristine natural springs. At the time, Silver Springs was perhaps the most successful and elaborately displayed single tourist attractions in America.
She’s powered by an electric motor just like she was in 1934. At one time this wood boat had 15 sister ships. They were all being phased out in 1961 for aluminum boats that still operate to this day at Silver Springs Florida. Sadly, our boat is the only operational early circa boat remaining.
This boat operated for nearly 30 years and then left to rot for over 50 years before Captain Paul found her as an unexpected barn find. It took several years to rebuild, lots of money and an arduous process to get her approved to operate once again as a small commercial passenger vessel.
We don't have any record of the boats original name, just the year. When found, it was named 'Princess Anne' which was definitely not the original name. Carl Ray and W.M. "Shorty" Davidson leased the Silver Springs property for 50 years from Columbus Carmichael starting in July 1924. The following names are all the boats Ray & Davidson had listed with the department of commerce (Merchant Vessels of the United States)
Bonnie Ray, Hannah, Harriet, No Name, Ocala, Ocklawahn, Old Sawannee, Seminole, Silverliner, The Madden, The Richey, Uncle Dave, Walter Ray, Wenona, Bill Blue and Jane.
Our boats original name is one of those but most likely either Harriet, Seminole, The Madden, Walter Ray or Winona.
She's now named after my wife Donna