Ronny Salerno's ('13) Ghost Boat Photos Featured by NBC and Daily Mail

Photo by Ronny Salerno ('13)
Photo by Ronny Salerno

Images of 186-foot Yacht Sitting Idly off the Ohio River Near Cincinnati Receive World-Wide Attention

By Tom Ramstetter
Web Marketing + Communications

Northern Kentucky University alumnus Ronny Salerno's photos of an abandoned steam-engine boat left in the Ohio River were featured in July by NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and the Daily Mail, a British publication.

Ronny Salerno

Salerno is a 2013 graduate of NKU with a Bachelor of Arts in studio arts from the Department of Visual Arts in the College of Arts & Sciences. He also had a concentration in journalism from the College of Informatics.

He has run the Queen City Discovery website since 2007 where he has worked to document abandoned and historical places in the Midwest through photographs and writing.

These photos were of a 186-foot steam-engine yacht sitting idly in a creek off the Ohio River in Indiana, roughly 25 miles downstream from Cincinnati.

"Last year, I went in search of an abandoned ship that was rumored to be in a tributary of the Ohio River, a popular geocaching spot," Salerno said. "Once we found it, I ended up going down a rabbit hole of research and wrote an article on my site. In the past year, the story was picked up by several viral Internet sites and some local press."

The ship was launched in April 1902 as The Celt by a railroad executive and was used by the United States in World War I and World War II. It once carried famed inventor Thomas Edison and later appeared in a Madonna music video for her song, Papa Don't Preach.

It was last used to ferry tourists around Manhattan for more than 40 years as The Circle Line V.

Fast-forward 30 or so years and Salerno was there to capture what was left of the once proud ship, drawing on skills and experiences gained at Northern.

"It was one of the best decisions I've ever made," Salerno said of transferring to NKU in 2009. "Having teachers like Barbara Houghton, Chris Smith, Matt Albritton and Matt Baker kept me going. The fact that I can recall these teachers by name from being able to work closely with them is what sets NKU apart."