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from New York, with the memory of a quiet, from Pittsburg to Cincinnati takes three days, restful voyage over almost unknown waters and costs $7. The trip from Cincinnati to through four great States. The best season for Memphis, four days, costs $10. The longest a trip on the upper Ohio is in spring or early trip in one boat is from St. Louis to New summer, when the water is high and the country Orleans, a voyage of six days, and costs $20. is at its vernal best.
The trip up the Mississippi to St. Paul is made At Cincinnati the river still invites to the in four days, and costs $16. By changing boats West. Steamers sail every night from this port once or twice down the river the voyage may for Louisville, giving a night voyage on the be extended from Pittsburg to the gulf; a river resembling that on the night boats be- journey of nearly 2000 miles can be made with tween New York and Albany. This is, how- close connections in about two weeks. From ever, only a short trip, and there are longer St. Paul, by changing boats once at St. Louis, voyages stretching westward before the Ohio a voyage of about 2000 miles may be made meets the Mississippi. One of the best voyages in from ten to twelve days. The voyage upfrom Cincinnati is by the boats of the Memphis stream is always slower, and more time must and Cincinnati Packet Company to Mem- be allowed when round trips are made. The phis, a journey on the Ohio and Mississippi four trips already described, giving a journey of 738 miles, including calls at a dozen large of 2134 miles, can be made for $53, or about cities along the way. By adding this trip to 212 cents a mile. These are first-class fares the voyage down from Pittsburg, a journey of and include staterooms and meals free, though 1200 miles can be made in less than ten days, there is a disposition on some of the river lines and still leave 800 miles more of unexplored to charge less for fare and to serve meals on waters towards the far South. By changing the European plan. The first-class fare on the boats at Memphis this voyage may be con- railroads is usually three cents a mile, with not tinued to New Orleans, or the trip may be less than two dollars for berth or sleeper, one reversed by taking a boat going north to St. dollar for a meal in the dining-car, and waiters Louis. Another and shorter voyage can be and porters always anxious about fees. made by leaving the boat at Cairo, five hun- Shorter voyages than these can be made dred miles below Cincinnati, and taking an by taking the boats at points along the routes, up-river boat to St. Louis.
particularly on the upper Ohio and Mississippi, From St. Louis a long and notable voyage where the larger towns are close together on can be made by taking one of the Anchor each shore. For instance, from Pittsburg to Line boats direct to New Orleans, a trip of Wheeling, 90 miles; Marietta to Cincinnati
, twelve hundred miles, which gives six days in 296 miles; St. Paul to La Crosse, 173 miles ; one boat on our grandest river. It is a popular St. Paul to Rock Island, 397 miles; Burlingtrip in the West, and a round trip of from twelve ton to St. Louis, 249 miles; and St. Louis to to fourteen days is often made by travelers in Grafton, 39 miles. Beyond these well-worn search of a restful water journey through the water paths there are at least one thousand South. Far to the South other trips invite the miles more of “unknown rivers " dear to the hunter and the fisherman to wonderful voyages fisherman, the hunter, and the explorer who up semi-tropic rivers hundreds of miles beyond dares escape the palace boats and voyage in the well-beaten tracks of timid tourists. “tramp steamers” on the less familiar streams
St. Louis is also the port of departure for one towards the south or the north-west. of the finest river voyages on the continent. Thirty years ago these water routes were the By taking the boats of the St. Louis and St. only lines of traffic in the West and South. Paul Packet Company a voyage of 729 miles Then the rivers were crowded with fast boats, can be made on the upper Mississippi. This and all the world went by water. The boats is the “ Hudson of the West,” a river offering won a world-wide fame for speed, capacity, days and nights of varied and attractive scenery and elegance, and were uniformly regarded as that is often beautiful and is in many places extremely valuable property. Any man who full of curious interest to those who have never could build a boat was at liberty to sail these seen the West except from a car window. If thousands of miles of fresh water, and was cerno other trip is convenient, a trip either up or tain to find his decks crowded with freight and down should certainly be taken. The voyage every stateroom full. To-day the railroads foltakes about four days, and can be made as low each bank for nearly the whole length of the much shorter as may be wished by leaving the Ohio and the Mississippi, and have absorbed boat at any of the cities along the way. The the larger part of the once great river traffic. entire trip includes stops at twenty-two cities of At one time St. Louis was the port of denote in five of the north central States. parture for the far West by way of the Big
This gives in outline four of our most popu- Muddy. Kansas City could only be reached lar water routes in the West. The shortest trip by boat, and was itself a great port for river
crafts going still farther steamboat service was extravagant and costly west. To-day the Missouri in management, while rates were high and is practically a deserted profits large. The companies now conduct river. The race of fine old their business with more economy and seek to river captains, who owned attract business by regular departures and arand steered their racing- rivals, more comfortable boats, and better table palaces, is dying out, and and stateroom service. The lines now more there are people to-day in nearly approach the Eastern lines both in all the river towns who equipment and management, and while the look backward with regret old racing captains, who threw their freight to the great and notable into the furnaces rather than be beaten by a days of river boating in rival boat, are passing away, the new men are the fifties and solemnly as- real captains of safe and comfortable boats. sert that the entire traffic The romantic days have gone from the rivers will some day disappear,de- forever, but the travel is safer, and, in a way, voured by greedy railroad more civilized. The last of the famous racing
corporations. machines, the Natchez, was wrecked only a few Ross SECTION OF BOAT
It is perfect- months ago. The competition with the railly true that the roads has demanded a wholly different class of Western steam- boats, and the tourists will compel a better pasboat interest has senger service on all the lines in the future. been seriously In the opinion of those competent to speak impaired by com- on the matter, the prospects for the passenger petition with the traffic on the rivers is far from discouraging. railroads and that Once all the world had to go by boat or stay the number of fast at home. Now the larger number take the cars, boats has greatly and in order to retain any traffic at all the boat decreased. For lines must offer superior inducements in the way the position of of price, comfort, and attendance. This they steamboat prop- seem prepared to do; and it is safe to say that the erty in the past time will come when many of the river routes of was peculiar. the West will be as popular as the Hudson River Large numbers of or Long Island Sound, and a trip on these great
the boats were waterways will be regarded as quite as imporowned by the captains or their families, and tant to a right understanding of the country as in case of hard times or a cut rate war with a day on the North River. the railroads the boats could be seized for debt and the traffic stopped. The competing railroad, on the other hand, might be equally in debt, but in the hands of a receiver it went on doing business while the poor boat owner was tied up with his boat.
This is the common and the darker view taken of the steamboat interest on our great rivers. To offset this is the fact that the larger rivers are now well lighted, and more lights are added every year. The millions spent on the rivers have wonderfully improved navigation, and there are fewer wrecks than ever before. The slack water navigation, as on the Kanawha and the Monongahela, has greatly extended the season in which boats can run, and has thus extended the earning time of every boat on these waters. The ownership of the boats has also changed, and in place of single “tramp” steamers there are now regular incorporated companies owning large fleets of boats and having abundant capital. These companies are enabled to furnish better, cheaper, and more regular service, with less danger of ruinous competition with the railroads. Formerly the
CROSS SECTION OF A TYPICAL
WESTERN RIVER BOAT.
CROSS SECTION OF THE SOUND STEAMER
From the east a single portage from the lakes. The boat touches at eleven large cities, Hudson brings us to another grand water route and at all the landings along the way are excel– the lakes. These splendid inland seas are lent hotels and attractive pleasure resorts and just opening new and magnificent voyages over fishing and hunting grounds. Besides this long strange northern waters. The freight traffic of trip there are many shorter voyages, each full of the lakes is already very great, and is carried curious interest to the Eastern and the Southern on by large steamers equal in every respect to tourist. From Cleveland very fine large boats the best salt-water freighters. The passenger that are almost literal copies of the Sound boats traffic is as yet comparatively small and has run every night to Detroit, making a voyage been largely confined in the past to freight- quite as interesting in its way as the trip by boats having a few staterooms for passengers. Fall River. The boats of the Detroit and
Within a few years regular passenger boats, Cleveland Navigation Company connect with both side-wheel and propellers, have been steamers for ports on Lake Huron, with boats placed on the lakes, and now every port on our for Milwaukee and Chicago and other Lake inland seas can be easily reached by passenger Michigan ports, and also for ports on Lake steamers from Buffalo, Cleveland, and Chicago. Superior.
On the St. Lawrence we share with our The steamships of the Lake Superior Transit Canadian friends one of the most charming Company have their eastern point of departure water-parks in the world, and countless little at Buffalo and go direct to Lake Superior and voyages of pleasure may be taken in both great as far west as Duluth, giving a number of and small boats along placid waters among a voyages over these unsalted seas, where the thousand islands of summer idleness. Nowhere sea gull seems at home and the tingling can be found better short water trips than along breath of the plains sweeps over icy waters. this wonderful river and on the waters of Lake So far this pleasure travel seems to have been Ontario. The shortest portage from salt water is confined to the people of Ohio, Pennsylvania, across New York to Buffalo. From this port the western New York, and Indiana. Lake Susteamers of the Lake Superior Transit Company perioris only a geographical term to millions of sail west through Lake Erie, past Detroit and our people, and the idea that there are splendid through St. Clair lake and river, across Lake voyages in the Northwest will be new to thouHuron, and north ward through the “Soo” sands who travel west by rail. The shipyards to Lake Superior, or by the Straits of Macki- at Cleveland and Buffalo turn out every year nac west and south through Lake Michigan. larger and larger steamers, which are in every The longest voyage without change of boat is respect sea-going crafts and as well adapted to from Buffalo to Duluth, and takes about five their waters as any that steer along our coasts. days. It is perhaps the most notable and pictur- The traffic through the ship canal at Sault esque fresh water voyage in the world, and in- Ste. Marie during the last season of seven cludes the passage of two rivers and three of the months amounted to 6,419,273 tons, valued at
$92,293,000, a tonnage exceeding that of the learn more of the country than ever can be Suez Canal for a whole year. There is now a learned from a car window. disposition to put on larger and finer boats for Westward, on the Pacific coast, notable voypassenger service, and as facilities for business ages can be made both south and north that create business, there is reason to believe that will give a great variety of climate and coast there will be every year a larger number who scenery. Steamers now make excursions from voyage upon our great inland waters. If any Tacoma, Washington Territory, to Alaska, givman wishes to see a peculiar and interesting ing a round trip of eleven days past a coast part of the country, and can for once forego rivaling in scenery anything in Norway and this miserable desire to “get on,” let him steer making it possible to see the glaciers meet the west from Buffalo or Cleveland for any of the sea in Alaska fiords. lake ports beyond Detroit. The voyage can The writer in visiting London for the first be made long or short, for one day or for five, for time, many years ago, took an early opportunity there are railroad connections at every large to try a voyage by the penny boats on the port, and one may return to the cars and dis- Thames. The experience was discouraging. comfort at almost every hour of the longest The boats were simply long decked canoes of voyage. If wise he will stay by the ship and iron, with a little engine in the middle, and with
no shelter whatever for the passengers packed ships have been recently added to our coastlike sheep on the bare deck. Several years wise fleets, while in the West some excellent after, a visit was again made to these boats to new boats have been placed on the more see if there had been any improvement. There popular river routes. was none. The same burly captains stood on In considering these boats, the Western river the paddle-boxes waving their hands to the boats deserve attention because they are the helmsmen, who stood where they could see most distinctively American and because they nothing ahead; the same boys screamed to surmount more difficulties of navigation than are the engineers to “stop 'er, back 'er"; the same ever encountered by deep water crafts. On anuncomfortable seats for but a fifth of the pas- other page is an ideal section of a river boat sengers; the same wretched crowds on the showing the proportions of the hull to the “topcheerless deck suffocated by the smoke and hamper.” The waters are always shoal, parpelted by the rain. On asking one of the cap- ticularly on the upper Ohio and Mississippi, tains why his company did not put on better boats when they built new ones, a sin
corpse gular answer was given: “ What's the good o'improvin' the boats when we've got the old patterns?"
Here is just the difference between the American and the European boatbuilder. The pat
UDUT terns make the smallest item in the cost of an iron vessel, yet to save a fraction of a penny in the pound the English builders sometimes forego all attempts at im
BERGEN." provements. It is safe to say that in this country the cost of pat- and the problem is to carry a great burden at terns is seldom considered, for sister ships are good speed over these quiet yet treacherous not by any means common. The aim is always waters. The boat must be broad, shallow, and to make something better — to make every flat. It sprung originally from a flatboat, and, new boat faster, safer, more comfortable, or in like such a boat, its weights must be evenly dissome way better adapted to the waters it is to tributed so that all parts may have an equal traverse or the traffic it is to serve. This inde- duty. The depth of hold, six to ten feet, pendence of tradition, this continual seeking seems very small for such a lofty structure; but after improvement, is particularly noticeable the waters are smooth and the hull may be just now, for within the past year or two a submerged with safety close up to the deck. In number of boats have been launched that for the stern-wheel boats the amount of overhang speed, capacity, and comfort, and for novelty given to the deck is small because the aim seems and beauty of design, are worthy of careful atten- to be to make a long and narrow boat in preftion. The older routes on the Sound are em- erence to a wide one. The section shows the ploying larger and finer boats, and the famous position of the two engines, which are placed boats of the Hudson have increased in speed one on each side, at the extreme edge of the and comfort. A number of new and very large boat. If the boat has side-wheels, each wheel ferry-boats and transfer steamers have been is independent, and is moved by a separate enbuilt on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and on gine, so that the wheels can be used in steering. the lakes, and many new and very fine steam- This is essential in our very crooked rivers and