Reuben E. Lee Riverboat Restaurant

Reuben E. Lee Riverboat Restaurant pc1Reuben E. Lee Riverboat Restaurant pc2

Divided back, deckled edge, unused postcard. Published by Photo Art, 200 Neptune Ave., Encinitas, California 92024. Series or number 54226-C. Circa early 1970s.

Availability status:  SOLD

“Reuben E. Lee. Riverboat Restaurant. Harbor Island, San Diego. Overall Length 204′ – 8”     Width 55′     Overall Height  65′     Weight 1,000 Tons.   Owned by Far West Services, Inc. Operators of Snack Shops, Reuben’s, Coco’s, The Whaler, Wu Ben’s and Reuben E. Lee Riverboat. California, Arizona, Missouri, Hawaii.”

The Reuben E. Lee Riverboat Restaurant was built in 1969, and was a restaurant that was constructed on a barge and built to resemble a Mississippi Riverboat. For about 34 years it was a very popular destination for dining, birthdays, wedding parties and the like, but there were issues with water leakage and in 2003 it was closed down, being deemed structurally unsafe. In April of 2012 it was towed from it’s longtime location to a local shipyard in the San Diego Bay, and sank at the end of that year, due to it’s hull giving way. (How sad.) ….Well, even though the Reuben E. Lee never steamed up or down any waterways, it went the way of many a vessel, and maybe that is poetic, in a sentimental sort of way, for the restaurant that was built to look like a riverboat.

As to the date of this postcard, the cars in the photo are the major clue. Many appear to be mid-1960s models but the orange wagon (center) appears to be either a 1970 Opel Kadett Station Wagon or maybe a 1972 Opel 1900 Sport Wagon. Maybe the red-orange color was not available in both years? Any Opel experts out there, feel free to post your comments, please! Parked next to the Opel is what looks like a 1965 Dodge Charger (comments welcome, of course.)

Sources:  Fiorina, Steve. “Landmark floating restaurant Reuben E. Lee sinks at local shipyard”. ABC10 News. 11 Dec 2012. Web. Accessed 25 May 2014.

Blauer, Phil. “Restaurant plans afloat to replace sunken Reuben E. Lee”. CBS8.com. 31 Jan 2013, revised 1 Feb 2013. Web. Accessed 25 May 2014.

Hill, Taylor. “Harbor Island’s Reuben E. Lee Towed Away”. The Log, California’s Boating and Fishing News. 21 May 2012. Web. Accessed 25 May 2014

One thought on “Reuben E. Lee Riverboat Restaurant

  1. This postcard of the Reuben. E Lee is it for sale ? If so how much ? I worked on the Reuben E Lee in 1969 she was a beautiful shop and still is ! Well let me know ! THANK YOU AND STAY SAFE

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