Hoosier Boy Remembered
By Fred Farley - APBA Unlimited Historian

Hoosier Boy [1909
Hoosier Boy by Dana Wolfe Hildebrand
Hoosier Boy Remembered

One of the most popular hydroplanes of the 1920s was J.W. (Row) Whitlock's Hoosier Boy, from Rising Sun, Indiana.

Whitlock was a power boating enthusiast for nearly three decades until his death in 1935. He built his first boat, a displacement craft, in 1907. Top speed was between 23 and 25 miles an hour.

His last -- and most famous -- boat was obviously patterned after Gar Wood's Miss America team. A step hydroplane, built a decade before the three-pointers made their presence felt, Hoosier Boy used a 12- cylinder Liberty aircraft engine, rated at 400 horsepower.

On October 9, 1924, Whitlock and Hoosier Boy set a never-to-be equalled distance record for a round trip between Cincinnati and Louisville. The craft covered the 267 Ohio River miles in 267 minutes and 49 seconds.

Although long absent from the competitive arena, Hoosier Boy is something of a legend in the Ohio River Valley and can be seen today as the star attraction at the Ohio County Historical Society Museum in Rising Sun, located about 50 miles upriver from Madison, Indiana.

Fred Farley. For reprint rights to this article, please contact the author at <fredf@hotmail.com>

Hydroplane History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010.
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at wildturnip@gmail.com
Leslie Field, 1999