Long Island Communication by water on Long Island Sound dates back to 1813-14 when the Fulton was constructed for service from New York to New Haven by Cap tain Bunker, whose boats Hobe and Persever ance on the Hudson had been seized by Fulton and Livingston under their monopoly, and broken up. On account of the War of 1812 and the activity of the British naval vessels off our coast at the time, it was deemed prudent to Postpone the opening of the new line. It was not until 21 March 1815 that the vessel was placed on the route. The Firefly was the first steamer to round Point Judith and sail into Newport. This was in May 1817. In 1818 the Connecticut was brought out in the same inter est, and run from New York to New Haven, while the Fulton was run from New Haven to Norwich, Conn., as it was considered unwise to run a boit on such a long route as from New York to Norwich, Conn., at that time. These vessels thus ran until prevented by the passage of the retaliatory law by Connecticut in 1872, when they ran to Providence, R. I. The United States was purchased in 1822 by New Haven parties and ran to Byram Cave, N. Y., and this service continued until the exclusive privilege of Fulton and others was declared unconstitu tional, when the vessel was run direct from New York to New Haven. This was the be ginning of the New Haven Steamboat Com pany. Other vessels followed of improved con struction, and larger and better accommoda tions. They had their periods of opposition and low fares as on other important routes. One of the fastest vessels that has thus far been on the line has been the Richard Peck. In 1899 a du plicate of this vessel, the Chester W. Chapin, was added to the line. Providence, R. I., was first served with a steamboat line in 1822. In the following six years three new steamboats were built for the line to New York, and during this period opposition began on the route. This had then become the most popular route from New York to the Eastern States. In 1835 Cor nelius Vanderbilt placed the Lexington, then a new boat, on the route, and being one that de veloped in a short time higher speed than those on the old line, drew a greater portion of the passenger travel. The Boston and New York Transportation Company had the Boston, the Providence and the Massachusetts in 1836. The Lexington was again on the route in 1836, and having made it lively for the old company, they had the Narragansett built, to be on even terms with the opposition, as they thought; but they were mistaken. The Lexington was pur chased by the Transportation Company in 1838, as another opposition line with the J. W. Rich mond had presented itself for public favor. The Lexington took fire while on a trip from New York to Stonington on 13 Jan. 1840 when off Eaton's Neck, Long Island. There were at least 150 persons on board, and all were lost except four. After 1845 the passenger service to Providence fell off to a great extent, and it was many years before it was resumed with a first-class passenger line. Stonington had be come the popular route. The New Jersey Steam Navigation Company controlled the business of this route from 1840 to 1867, when they withdrew. their boats from the service. A first-class passenger line was not resumed to Providence until 1877, when the Rhode Island and the Massachusetts were placed on the route by the Stonington Steamship Company, and then began the war of rates that lasted so long on Long Island Sound. These boats were fol lowed by the Connecticut, and later by the Plymouth and others. The Joy line commenced running to Providence in 1899. After the Stonington line was closed up in 1867 there were no steamboats running to Stonington until January 1868, when the Stonington Railroad Company and others organized the Stonington Steamship Company, and ran the Narragansett and the Stonington. These vessels were suc ceeded by the Rhode Island (No. 3) and later by the two propellers Maine and the New Hampshire. The Fall River Line was opened in 1847 with the Bay State, much the largest and fastest steamer of her time, and the next year the Empire State was added, and a few years later the Metropolis. The company was reorganized in 1863 and a new fleet of boats built for the line that did service until the con solidation with the Narragansett Steamship Company in 1874. The two famous steamers Bristol and Providence, of the Merchants' Shipping Company, merit distinguished remem brance. The first iron hull vessel, built with 96 water-tight compartments, was the Pilgrim, added to the Fall River Line in 1883, and sub sequently the floating palaces, Puritan, Plymouth and Priscilla were placed in commission. The Commonwealth, the largest and fastest of the Fall River fleet, represents the very highest type of American river steamer of the sturdier class of side-wheelers. To New London and Norwich, Conn., there were several lines run up to 1860, when the Norwich and New York Transportation Company was organized, and the City of Boston and City of New York were built. A few years later three smaller pas senger and freight boats were built. In 1881
their first iron hull steamboat, City of Worces ter, was placed in service, and in 1894 the steel hull twin-screw propeller City of Lowell was added to the line. This vessel has proved to be one of high speed.
Lake Steam navigation on the Great Lakes dates from the year 1818 when the Walk-in-the-Water was built to run on Lake Erie. The most radical departure in steamboat design and construction on the Lakes was in the building of the Great Western in 1838, by the adding of the upper cabin with staterooms, and converting the lower cabins into steerage quar ters and freight compartments. There were several fine and large side-wheel passenger boats built after 1845, after the general style of the Long Island Sound boits. By 1849 there were 29 side-wheelers and 10 propellers running out of Buffalo; and by 1862 the number had in creased to 147 side-wheelers and 203 propellers. The extension of the railroads along the shore of Lake Erie soon made their business unprofit able. Since 1880 there have been several large iron or steel hull passenger boats built to run from Buffalo and Cleveland to Detroit, and fitted with large engine power, that have proved themselves to be vessels of very high speed. Lake Ontario had its first steam vessel in the Lake Ontario built in 1816. There were sev eral lines of beam-engine boats on the lake up to 1860, when the railroads, having absorbed the greater part of the business, several of the essels were brought to the coast by running the rapids of the Saint Lawrence River. The finest passenger steamer on the Great Lakes is the City of Cleveland, running between Detroit and Cleveland. The largest cargo vessel in those waters is the William M. Mills, with a capacity of 514,500 bushels of wheat, or 12,380 tons of iron ore. Prominent among the Cana dian-built lake steamers are the immense freighters Collingwood and Midland Prince.
Coast of Maine The coast of Maine was first visited by a steam vessel in 1823. There were many vessels running from Boston, Mass., to Portland, Me., and the coast towns up to 1845, when the Sanford line began operations. The Portland Steam Packet Company began their operations in 1843. The iron hull propeller Bangor, running from Bos ton to Bangor, Me., began its service in 1845. The International Steamship Company, run ning from Boston to Saint John, New Bruns wick, began operations in 1859. All the lines running from Boston to the coast of Maine were consolidated in November 1901.
Western River The first steamboat constructed for the Western rivers was the New Orleans, built at Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1811 under the supervision of Nicholas J. Roosevelt for Livingston and Fulton. Several vessels were constructed for these waters dur ing the next decade, but of a different form of hull and type of engine, several of them being more like those of a later date. The condi tions under which the steamboats on the West ern rivers are operated are so different from those on other rivers of the United States that they are required in design to conform more closely to the surrounding conditions. The shallowness of the channel makes it necessary for the hulls of these vessels to be of great length and width in proportion to the depth of hull. The engines are all poppet valves, worked by levers, with the cylinders set hori zontally on wooden frames, generally. The boilers are usually plain cylinder with two flues each. They are worked non-condensing under a pressure of 100 to 125 pounds to the square inch. They are usually fitted with side wheels, but the stern-wheel boat has been favored for some service. There were a few compound engines in boats on the rivers several years ago, which type of engine has gained in favor again on the Western rivers in more recent times. Before the railroads in the Western States be came so numerous, the passenger and freight business in that section of the country was largely carried on by the steamboats, and at that time there were many fine and fast steam boats on the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers, and a few of large dimensions. Among the earlier steamers on the Mississippi were the Moselle and Oronoko, memorable for their boiler explosions; and the Pioneer and Ontario, which raced often on the Ohio. There was in 1852 the Eclipse of 363 feet long with two en gines of 36 inches by 11 feet stroke each. The J. M. White of 1844 of 250 feet long, with two engines of 30 inches by 10 feet stroke each. Then at a later date the Grand Republic of 1876 of 350 feet long with two engines of compound type. The 1. M. White of 1878 was 321 feet long with two engines 43 inches by 11 feet stroke each, and water wheels 45 feet diameter and 18 feet 6 inches face. The fa mous race of the Natchez and Robert E. Lee on the Mississippi River began on the afternoon of 30 June 1870 from New Orleans, and ended at Saint Louis on the morning of 4 July. The latter made the 1,218 miles in 3 days 18 hours and 30 minutes. The Natchez had run into a fog and grounded about 300 miles below Saint Louis that delayed her about six hours.