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ments in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the canal-boats that made the limited trains on Dutch towns along the Hudson, the settlements the early Erie. If the colonists rapidly grew on the Delaware, and the scattered plantations rich, it was not alone because of the wealth on the Chesapeake, the Virginia rivers, and the of fish and lumber they found here, but also sounds and inlets of the Carolinas and Georgia. because of the wonderful facilities for water With the exception of a small district about traffic they found waiting the enterprising Philadelphia and another in Georgia there prows of their ships. were no good roads in all the colonies. In the Then came Fulton's first voyage on the province of New York there were only twelve Hudson. The times were ripe when he launched miles of land carriage. Villages, and even the Clermont. We had skillful and inventive churches and court-houses, in Maryland and mechanics, the finest boat-builders, and the best Virginia were always placed on the shore, for it wood and iron in the world. Better than all, was only by boat that the people could go to our mechanics and ship-builders had scant meeting or attend court. The traffic that grew respect for precedent or the traditions of their up between the colonies was almost wholly by trades. Fulton had struck the key-note-steamwater, and the great wagon roads that finally power afloat. At once appeared an entirely stretched westward from Philadelphia aimed novel system of moving freight and passengers, only to touch the Ohio. It was down this river and by a rapid evolution the modern Amerithat the first emigrants set out for the West. can steamboat appeared and became, like the One hundred and one years ago Marietta, Ohio, American locomotive, a model, and one on became the port of departure for the entire which nearly all vessels of its class are built North-west. Settlements beyond Buffalo in throughout the world. Before Fulton's first like manner followed the shores of the great voyage the Ohio was only available for flatlakes. The freight and passenger traffic be- boats drifting with the current. The Clermont tween Canada and New York was by way of practically created the Mississippi States and the Hudson, Lake George, and Lake Cham- opened the West to the immigrant. Naturally plain, and it was to maintain this highway that enough the first steamboats after the Clerone of the great battles of the Revolution was mont plied on the Hudson, on the Sound, and fought.
on the Delaware and the Chesapeake. The At the time of Washington's inauguration steamer Orleans was the first boat built for the the President-elect traveled by horse to Eliza- Western rivers, and was launched at Pittsburg, bethport, New Jersey, and then selected a bet- October 11, 1811. In August, 1818, the first ter route by taking a boat through the Kill steam vessel was launched on the lakes. von Kull to New York; and the messenger sent The people seem to have grasped Fulton's by Congress to Boston to inform Adams of his idea quickly, for his boat was immediately folelection to the vice-presidency took ship on lowed by others. In 1812 we built four steamthe East River“ with a fair wind for the Sound.” boats, the next year seven, in 1814 two, in Still later the early railroads were designed to 1815 five, and in the next year seven. In the be feeders for water routes, and to get to first ten years we built 131 steam vessels, and Philadelphia from New York you first took by 1832, twenty years after the first boat, we boat to Perth Amboy and then passed by had built 474 steam craft, one hundred being rail along the old post route to Camden. To launched that year. In the next three years reach New York from Boston you took rail the building of steamers fell off slightly; then for Providence to meet a boat on the Sound. it started up again, 145 being built in 1836 and Until the railroad came we had no good coun- 158 in 1837. Business depressions appear to try roads except in Pennsylvania, because both have checked building again, and fewer were passengers and freight went by water. To this built each year till 1846, when 225 steam vesday the good people of the old State of Ohio sels were launched. Through the early fifties, complain that they have poor roads, forgetting before the railroads interfered with the river that the Ohio and the lakes were their great traffic of the West, the business increased wonroads until the railways invaded the interior derfully, and we find that in 1853 and 1854 of the State and created a demand for country more than 280 steamers were launched each roads.
year. The unsettled times before the war From the very first the colonies began to again reduced the number; but in 1863 and build boats for their waterways, and in time 1864 great numbers of boats were built, no an immense fleet of vessels of all kinds covered fewer than 520 steam vessels of all kinds beour coast, sounds, and rivers. The canoes were ing launched in 1864. After the war the numthe first passenger boats, and from them sprung ber built each year rapidly decreased for a few the flatboats that were poled along the rivers, years and then slowly increased to 1874, when the Dutch pirogues, the catamaran canoes, 104 boats were built. In 1882 we built 502, the sloops and schooners, and the passenger and since that time the number built has once more rapidly decreased to 1886. Since that improved and made useful to their full capacity year the business has revived, and it is now in all seasons they would probably far exceed active on the coasts and lakes and slowly in- in value our entire railroad system. creasing on the rivers. In all, since we began Get out your atlas and trace the magnificent to build, we have launched, up to 1886, 14,214 lines on which our heritage is planned. It will steam vessels of all kinds, including naval repay the study if it leads to a right undervessels and a great number of small river standing of the splendid opportunities we have steamers exported to South America and for pleasure travel in every climate, in all other places.
waters, through all variations of scenery, and Taking the report of the Bureau of Naviga- in hundreds of boats all flying our flag. No tion for the year ending June 30, 1886, we find man can fairly be said to know this country that 230 steamers with a gross tonnage of until he has seen it from the deck of a Sound 37,080 tons were built that year, distributed or coastwise steamer or from the guards of a through the four great districts as follows: Atlan- Western river boat; until he has looked over tic and gulfcoasts, 95; Pacific coast, 18; North- the waters of the great Northern lakes, steamed ern lakes, 47; and Western rivers, 70. The chief through the Golden Gate, or gazed from his States interested in building these vessels were stateroom window upon Alaska glaciers. Maine and Massachusetts, 6 each; Connecti- Travel is called the great educator. How cut, 9; New York, 41; Pennsylvania, 29; can it teach at forty miles an hour? No man Ohio and Michigan, 14 each; Tennessee, 12 ; ever learned much from a car window. He Kentucky, 13; West Virginia and Florida, 8 may have a vague notion of trees and farms, each; Oregon, 9; California, 5, and other States squalid suburbs, and union depots, and yet a less number each. Dividing these vessels know nothing of great States and great cities. according to their motive power into three You can enter and leave Baltimore or Cincinclasses, we find that 17 were side-wheel boats, nati, Buffalo or Cleveland, by rail and see no 80 were stern-wheel boats, and 133 were pro- more of those notable and beautiful cities than pellers. On the Atlantic and gulf waters, 7 the Boston man reported of a Connecticut town. were side-wheel boats, II were stern-wheelers He had been there a hundred times, yet had (probably for Southern waters), and 77 were “seen only the cellar of New Haven.” It is propellers. On the Pacific, 8 were propellers quite possible to ride from New York to Aland 10 had stern-wheels. On the lakes the bany and by sitting on the right-hand side of majority were propellers, there being 44 of the car not see the Hudson. By taking the these and only one stern-wheel and 2 side- wrong chair in the drawing-room car a man wheel boats. On the Western rivers there were may skirt the glorious Sound for a hundred 8 side-wheel boats, 58 stern-wheelers, and miles and not know that it exists. People are only 4 propellers.
advised to “take the picturesque Baltimore In that year there were 5467 steamers in use and Ohio," and then engage a sleeper on acon our coasts, rivers, and lakes, distributed as count of cut rates. follows: Atlantic and gulf coasts, 2662 ; Pacific It is not all of life“ to get there.” Wherecoast, 425; Northern lakes, 1280 ; Western in does it profit a man to arrive on time, if he rivers, 1105; aggregating over 1,522,983 tons loses all sight of his own country? Who is the burden. Though there have been many wrecks happier or wiser or morally better to-day by on all our waters in the past two years, there is reason of more speed ? Let the drummer and to-day probably a somewhat greater number the fugitive from justice take the limited train. of steamers in commission, this being notably Flight is their only aim or salvation. The the case on the lakes. When does this great man who travels to see that he may learn, fleet sail, for what ports does it steer, and where the wiser people among those who travel for can we travel by these five thousand boats ? pleasure, go by boat. For the Western man
It is well now and then to take account of there is all the charm and novelty of salt stock of our heritage. It is estimated that we water. For the Eastern man the great rivers have over twenty thousand miles of navigable offer new and strange voyages of delight. For waters traversed for the whole or for a part of the Southern man, eager that his boys and girls each year by regular lines of steamboats and learn something of their country, there are the steamships. We have several great routes on great Northern seas where they may breathe which one can travel for a week without chang- new and bracing airs, spend days and nights ing his stateroom. There are hundreds of towns in voyages past strange headlands and great where the only means of communication is by cities, and see the sun set behind fresh-water water, and probably a million of our people horizons. receive their mail by steamboat. It is difficult Where can we go? Which of all our twenty to make a mental picture of the enormous thousand miles of waterways are the most extent of our available waterways. Were they attractive and convenient, and which afford the greatest variety of scenery and climate? Not Land to the soft airs of drowsy Cottage City. all are equally interesting, and it is not diffi- Should you venture farther into foreign seas, cult to select from 3000 to 6000 miles of pleas- there is a boat at Halifax for Newfoundland ure travel that will not require a “portage,” or a trip of a week along strange coasts. land travel, of over eight hours at any one When we come south of Cape Cod we enter time. A vacation of a month will be ample a new climate and warmer waters. We leave time to travel three thousand miles by water the arctic current and feel the influence of the and see something of the three great divisions Gulf Stream. The climate of the Vineyard of our water system— the coast, the lakes, and and the two bays which make up into Rhode the Western rivers. On such a trip a man, if Island and Massachusetts is quite different he is so minded, can really see the country, from that of Boston, and as a result these travel at ease, sleep in comfort, and dine sumpt- splendid waters are lined with pleasure cities. uously. In place of the dreadful roar of the Steamboats from Providence traverse the whole train by night he will be lulled by the musical of Narragansett Bay, down to Newport and swash of the waves; in place of the ill-smelling, Block Island. Nantucket and Martha's Vinediphtheritic car he can have the broad deck, yard both offer short voyages full of interest, the life-giving breath of the sea, fragrant airs and to the west opens the splendid Sound, perfrom farms along the banks, and the bracing haps the finest yachting ground in the world. winds of the lakes. Besides all this, there Along Long Island Sound lie the oldest waterwould be at the end of the trip a comforting travel routes in this country, and to-day are sense of economy in expense.
traversed by the finest and largest passenger First and most attractive on our Eastern steamboats in the world. Every Englishman coast is the grand gulf of Maine. The cold who visits this country includes a trip on the arctic current that slips in through the Straits Sound boats as one of the things that must be of Belle Isle circles round this noble sea be- done, however short his stay. There are sevtween Nova Scotia and Cape Cod, making eral boats for Boston and the East from New a great ice water cup for the cooling of the York every day, the longest and most famous nation. The breeze is always chill; but it is an route being the Fall River one. Another interarctic wind, instinct with life, and he who esting route is by the way of Providence, as can stand before its cold wins red blood and that includes
, in the summer, a trip up Narlength of days from its salty winds. From ragansett Bay by daylight. Boston steamboats and steamships skirt the It is a pity that we are, as a people, in such rocky shores, creep up the shining rivers, or a hurry. Were we more leisurely in our pleasinvade the inlets of wooded Maine. Here liesures there would be a daylight line through Mount Desert, and Thatcher's Island light- the Sound. Some day there may be a canal house points the way to summer homes on across Cape Cod, and then we shall have one Appledore. Picturesque old Halifax is 'cross of the most beautiful short voyages in the seas due north-east, and Plymouth Bay invites world — by day boat from New York direct to towards the south. For the Western man short Boston. There is now an outside line of fast voyages out of Boston or Portland might fill freight boats between Boston and New York, a month of most picturesque and delightful but only the happy friends of the owners can travel, with many pleasant stops along the take this charming trip. If the line were wise way. For one trip, to include several points, it would open its staterooms to the public in take steamer from Boston direct to Halifax, the summer months. and then a few hours by rail through Evange- Before leaving the Eastern coast it may
be line's land will bring you by boat across the noted that there are several short sea voyBay of Fundy to St. John. From St. John ages in good steamers sailing from Boston. a boat can be taken direct to Portland, past Steamers leave once or twice a week for PhilaGrand Manan, Mount Desert, and along the delphia and Baltimore, and include a fine sail shores of Maine. From Portland there is a across Massachusetts Bay, a run down the coast steamer direct to New York, crossing the to the capes, and pleasant trips up the Delabeautiful Massachusetts Bay, skirting the whole ware or the Chesapeake. A longer voyage of Cape Cod, and steering west through the is by fine, large steamers from Boston by the Vineyard, past the summer cities of the islands, way of Cape Cod, through the Vineyard, and and on through Long Island Sound to the past the gaudy banks of Gay Head across East River. Such a trip would take about seas to Savannah. To those worn out with fourteen days, and would touch three of our city life and business cares such short voyages most picturesque cities and two Canadian would be worth a dozen doctors. towns well worth seeing, and would include a From the earliest times New York has been very remarkable change of climate from the the port of departure for packets steering cold winds over the misty hills of Bluenose for our Southern ports, and to-day we find
sailing every week the finest steamships in greater than that of the two railroads on its the world. Not so large as European steam- banks. ers, they are quite as sumptuous, quite as ele- Before we leave the coast it may be noticed gant in point of decoration, and far more com- that the Delaware and the Chesapeake both fortable, because better ventilated, cleaner, and offer short voyages from Philadelphia and Ballighter. These boats offer fine voyages along timore. The sounds of the Carolinas will some our coast to Norfolk, Wilmington, Charles- day be fine pleasure seas. To-day they are ton, Savannah, Jacksonville, New Orleans practically unknown waters to the tourist. The and Galveston. For a touch of foreign shores inland waters farther south will also some day and voyages over tropic seas there are fine be pleasure routes and share the business that boats for Cuba, Mexico, and Central Amer- is beginning to tow through Florida waters. ica. All these tours, both long and short, are It may be noted in passing that a very pleasworth the taking for a summer trip, and the ant sea voyage from New York may be taken longer voyages make splendid winter trips that by boat to Portland, Maine, and then by in twenty-four hours out of New York ex- boat to Boston, or by steamer and rail direct change winter weather for spring or summer. to Boston, and then by steamer to Baltimore The Florida boats connect with small boats on or Philadelphia, and home by rail. the waters of our great winter pleasure State, The shortest portage, or run, across the Apand suggest charming inland voyages past palachian backbone to the rivers is from Philaorange groves and along the dreamy Indian delphia to Pittsburg. There is no intimation River.
of what is to come till you have left the depot From New York there are many shorter at Pittsburg and crossed the town to the water trips well worth the taking for those bridge opposite the Monongahela House. If who cannot travel far from home. Through you arrive in the evening, go to the bridge as the excursion season there are probably a soon as you are settled in your hotel; or, should hundred thousand people afloat every day you choose the Monongahela House, ask for a on the waters about New York. For two mill- room on the river side of the house. Draw the ions of our people these are the only voyages curtain and look out. For the Eastern traveler they can take, the only chance for a taste of going west for the first time it is perhaps the the sweet breath of the sea. It is said that most remarkable sight in this country. Imsince Coney Island was discovered the infant mediately beneath is the broad, sloping levee, mortality of New York has materially de- or landing. The wide space of blackness becreased. It is not the wretched island that yond is the river, running swiftly in the darkness has saved the lives of our babies, but the voy- and reflecting the glare of miles of furnaces on age down the bay. Among these shorter trips the opposite shore. Their flames and streamthe steamers to Sound ports offer very charm- ing fires light up the steep wall of rock that ing afternoon excursions; and by taking the seems to blot out half the sky. Those long boats for Stamford, Bridgeport, or New Haven, constellations are the street lights of the town and returning by rail, a breath of salt air and on the top of the mountain. The arched cona restful afternoon can be gained that is well stellation to the left is the great bridge. The worth the cost. Of course the ride home by blackness of the left is the entrance to this the rail is a serious objection, and a better plan is eastern port of our great river system. Suddenly to stay over night at New Haven or return a white gleam of light sweeps across the imby the night boat. Among other trips is the mense scene. It is the search-light of some excursion to Sandy Hook and back, as it in- steamer picking out a landing. The deep, discludes an afternoon on the bay in one of the cordant boom of her whistle echoes from the finest passenger steamers in the world. It was rocky hills, and the strange craft starts out vivthis water route that made Long Branch, for idly in the glare of the electric lights as she were we obliged to go by rail there never pushes her flat nose against the bank. would have been any Long Branch.
It is here that the Ohio is born. Here the MoThere are people who wonder why it was nongahela and the Allegheny, both navigable that New York became our chief city. The rivers, meet and send their waters westward answer is plain enough— the Hudson. From for a thousand miles till they mingle with the Albany to Sandy Hook the river, or arm of yellow flood that comes down from the Big the sea, made the first grand highway of the Muddy. It was here that the founders of States country. It opened the back door to New took boat; it was here that the West began; and England, and by easy portages carried our in- it is here to-day that an immense trade starts fant trade to Vermont and Canada. It joined for the great West and the greater South. Fourthe sea to our first great wheatfield in the teen States can be reached by boat from this valley of the Mohawk. To-day the money port. You can sail from this landing in reguvalue of the Hudson is probably twenty times lar passenger steamboats over thirteen thou
sand miles of river water. We have only to in detail let us see for what ports we may sail turn to the reports of the Lighthouse Board to from this harbor in the mountains. see that this is not a mere guess at figures. Before steering down the Ohio it will be Here we find that from Pittsburg to the mouth well, if time can be spared, to take a short trip of the Ohio, a measured distance of 968 miles, up the Monongahela. By inquiring of the clerks there are 448 lights serving as aids to naviga- on the afternoon boats you can find how far tion. On the Big Kanawha — not by any means the boat will go before dark, and as they stop a well-lighted river — there are 27 lights on the at ports along the way it is easy to find a train first 73 miles from its mouth. The Tennessee back to Pittsburg in the evening. In summer has 37 lights on the lower 223 miles. The Mis- this will give a trip of thirty or forty miles sissippi, from St. Paul to Cairo, 933 miles, has through the hill country above Pittsburg, and 364 lights, and from Cairo to the jetties, about will enable you to see a slack-water navigation 1000 miles, shows 390 lights. The Missouri, system. To salt-water navigators the handling from Kansas City to its mouth, has 38 lights of the boats and the tows through the locks and for 386 miles. Here is a total of 3582 miles the long pools of slack water are full of interest already lighted by 1299 lights. Yet the work and are well worth studying, because it is by this of lighting is very recent, as none of the rivers system of slack water that our shallow Western were lighted a few years ago, and the work rivers are made available. Ultimately it must is still very far from being complete. If we count be extended to the Ohio and other large rivers the unlighted rivers, we find that the Ohio and in order to make them useful through all seasons its branches are estimated by good authorities and stages of water. Unless something of the to give navigable waters for 3275 miles for a kind is done we shall some day see a great traffic part of each year. The Mississippi valley can greatly injured or lest defenseless against the be reached by steamboats for over 10,000 greed and selfishness of railroad corporations. miles, and, if we include the valley of the Red At one time the port of Pittsburg was pracRiver of the North, for 500 miles more, mak- tically valueless during every season of low ing a grand total of nearly 13,800 miles of water ; but since the Davis Island dam was steam navigation. Even Pittsburg is not by built there is a good harbor at all times. Such any means the head of navigation, for in a slack water system does not mean that boats good stages of the water steamers ascend the must always stop at the locks, as on the MoMonongahela for 140 miles and the Allegheny nongahela, for at Davis Island boats pass difor 110 miles.
rectly over the dam during high water. The view of Pittsburg by daylight, if not so From Pittsburg steamers sail three times a impressive as by night, is full of curious inter- week for Cincinnati, a voyage of 467 miles, est. To eyes accustomed to blue water the through a picturesque and curious country ranks of boats with bows turned upstream bordering four great States,- Pennsylvania, against the bank seem just a trifle dishearten- Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky,—and passing. Are these the famous river boats of the ing 23 large towns and cities and many more West? Where are the sharp bows, the beauti- villages and smaller places. The boats start late ful lines, the graceful stern of a real boat? in the afternoon and reach Cincinnati about The tall funnels and the naked stern wheels 11 o'clock of the third night. During the first certainly suggest business, but very queer evening the boat passes through the manufactbusiness. The boats seem like great dirty uring district below Pittsburg, with its wonderwhite houses set on flat scows only a few inches ful pictures of flaming furnaces and the strange above the water. Appearances are deceitful. fires of natural gas. The gas and soft coal belt, They lack indeed the brilliant white paint of the great tile and pottery country, the Ohio our anthracite-burning boats, yet they are sea- iron districts, the farming lands of southern worthy, safe, fast, and comfortable. This West- Ohio and Kentucky, and the coke country, ern boat is the evolution of science, Yankee with its long rows of fiery eyes, each in turn ingenuity, and the most peculiar navigation presents strange sights to Eastern observers. in the world, and it is undoubtedly the most The West Virginia hills, forest-clad, rocky, and perfect marine racing and carrying machine abrupt, give a curious and romantic aspect to ever designed. It is certainly the model for the river scenery, and both by day and night the river world, and floats to-day on the great cities, towns, and lonely farms seem to drift by rivers of Europe, Asia, and South America. in picturesque procession. If no more time can It is the shoal water triumph of marine archi- be spared from your vacation, for once leave tecture, for it will carry enormous burdens with speed and the greed of time to those who speed and safety over the slightest suggestion travel because they must, and make the portof water - or, as Lincoln is reported to have age to Pittsburg. One day or one night will said, “ will sail wherever there is an extra bring you to the river, and three days after you heavy dew." Before examining the river boat are landed at Cincinnati, only twenty-four hours