The 1898 steam tugboat Mathilda has been a permanent feature of our museum yard since her arrival in 1983 courtesy of her previous owners, the McAllister Towing Company. Mathilda was built in Sorel, Quebec, and operated on the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes attending ships for many years before coming to New York City. Her last working year was 1970. After sinking at her pier in 1976, Mathilda was taken out of the water to preserve her and stored on a Cunard pier. McAllister, seeking a more suitable permanent home for Mathilda, found the Hudson River Maritime Museum to be a suitable place. She was brought upriver on a barge by McAllister and put in place in the HRMM yard by a huge Witte crane, and has become our symbol.
One of the last few steam tugs in existence, Mathilda is undergoing cleaning and restoration in order to make her more accessible to museum visitors.
Mathilda, though not originally local, represents the hundreds of steam tugboats which once operated on the Hudson River and around New York Harbor.