CENTENNIAL RESTORATIONIn December 2011, Captain Lance Holmquist and his wife Suzanne Holmquist signed a long-term lease with The African Queen Trust to restore and operate the vessel again in time for her 100 year celebration. The Holmquists have overseen repairs and have taken pains to date it as it appeared in the film, replacing steel in the hull, replacing the boiler and oiling the black African mahogany to condition the wood.
“We wanted it to look beat up, like it appeared [in the Congo] in World War I,” Suzanne Holmquist said, indicating that some $70,000 has been spent in the process. “It’s starting to get its sheen back, and its authentic look.” The support from our Key Largo community has been tremendous with people showing up ready to roll their sleeves up and work on her on a daily basis. Tommy Gallagher and his team at Gallagher Marine in Ocean Reef laboriously donated their time and parts to rebuild her steam engine. Pussers Rum supported our restoration by letting us join their TOTS club which supports the restoration of antique boats and supporting our fundraising efforts. Roger Hoke donated custom woodwork on her and handbuilt her new rub rail. Lloyd Beckman of Beckmann boatshop was commissioned in Rhode Island custom made a brand new boiler for her.
Lawrence Campbell helped re-align the engine with the new boiler and reworked the whistle. Mike Johnson worked on her wooden flooring and the installation of the boiler. Kenny from Key Largo Canvas donated a new awning. Sonny Bamburg assisted in repairing her davits. Keith Kropt helped with electrical. Russell Dockery, Jim Disser, Doc ,Larry Ward, Kipp Welding, CW Colt, Luke Knuttel, Steve Bitner and Randy Burt are among the long list of people who volunteered their time to help get the boat ready in time.