The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

History

September 11, 2013

Agnes "Aggie" Schrader, Queen of the Mississippi

“Aggie.” What does that name call to mind? Do you remember “The Anchorage,” also known as Aggie’s Boat Dock? Clintonians of a certain age will immediately think back to those amazing years between 1943 and 1970, when “Aggie” Schrader Lutz ran the boat dock at the old marina, north of the Showboat. Boating season always rekindles fond memories of “Aggie” -- one of the most accomplished and interesting “women of the river” in its recorded history.

 

Agnes Garvey, raised on a farm, took to things that men-folk generally did. She was, for example, an excellent skeet-shooter and game-shooter. She came to Clinton from Boone, Iowa, with her second husband, who worked for the railroad. Agnes had two daughters who were graduated from St. Mary’s, Josephine Cramblet Gerke and Ruth Cramblet Romer, as well as three step-sons.

 

She loved the outdoors, and when Aggie and her husband decided to take on the marina in the 1940’s, after the kids were grown, she gladly supported the decision and pretty much ran the operation. She took up work repairing boat motors and fishing tackle, and pumping gas. She’d sein for bait, refinish and varnish boats so they were like new and, sometimes, make fishing nets for customers. She often worked 12 to 18 hour days doing such chores at her beloved boat dock.

 

Aggie and her husband lived right there at the marina, in a barge that had to be raised to street level because of floods. There is a wonderful picture of her, showing heights of different floods, while standing against the north-most lighthouse near her dock. She could look out her dining room window and see and hear the river traffic, loaded barges going by with a toot and a warning for the drawbridge to open.

 

Sometimes, she would go out and rescue an overly ambitious fisherman who ran out of gas; other times, she’d be asked to assist in looking for bodies of those unfortunates who had drowned. Aggie did it all and often said, “I can keep up with any man. - Just have confidence in yourself.” Her husband backed her up and was proud to say, “Aggie can do anything!” He died in 1956, and Aggie married Bob Lutz in 1963.

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