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.