- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Illinois teacher who spent two years creating a replica of an 1865 steamboat is donating the 14-foot model to a historical group in eastern Arkansas.

Gene Salecker of River Grove, Illinois, built the model of the Sultana steamboat, which exploded in April 1865 as it traveled up the Mississippi River near Marion. Salecker’s model includes small deck chairs, a stove in the pilot house and a miniature alligator the boat’s captain actually kept on board as a pet.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1vRTAzk ) reports the eighth-grade social studies teacher is giving his work to the Sultana Historic Preservation Society of Marion.

The organization plans to display it with Sultana artifacts and history in a temporary museum near the Crittenden County Courthouse until a permanent facility is built.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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