California Boat Club In Coal Center Sinking Into Mon River

COAL CENTER (KDKA) — A unique restaurant and bar, moored on the Monongahela River in Washington County, once sat on a stationary steel barge.

It was floating until Wednesday, when it developed a massive leak. Now, it’s slowly sinking.

Water filled the barge, causing it to partially submerge; at the same time, it flooded the fully-equipped restaurant. The owners said the restaurant officially closed a few years ago, but it would still occasionally host private parties, graduations and other special events.

Nancy Victoria, owner of the restaurant along with her husband, Larry, told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “There’s a bar, a total kitchen, tables and chairs. There’s also a marina, but we take it out during the winter, so thank goodness the marina wasn’t there. If there were boats there, they would have been devastated.”

For many, the California Boat Club, as it was called, was like a small slice of Mon Valley history.

“My daughter was a waitress at the restaurant, and she loved it. She said it was fantastic working there,” Sandy Koterba said.

The barge had been leaking recently, and there were pumps in it. The owners said the pumps were checked daily.

Whether something in the river struck the steel hull of the barge, or a tear developed is unclear. Whatever happened, it didn’t take long for the barge to fill with water.

“I left to go to an appointment at 10:30 Wednesday morning, my husband left about noon, I got a call around noon, and they said it sunk,” Nancy Victoria said.

On Thursday morning, owners of the restaurant hope to get into the flooded area to try to salvage what they can.

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