In working in the archives today with volunteer G.M. Mastropaolo, we discovered this delightful timetable in the Donald C. Ringwald collection. Outlining travel times and locations for steamboats, steam yachts, ferries, stages/stagecoaches, and railroads in Rondout, Kingston, "and vicinity."
Among the many time tables is that of the ferry boat Transport. To learn more about the Transport, check out our past blog post about its history and use.
Of particular interest to the collections staff and volunteers at the museum was this time table for the steamboat Mary Powell, the star of our 2020 exhibit, "Mary Powell: Queen of the Hudson," opening April 25, 2020.
"Handy Book of the Catskill Mountains" was designed for those traveling to the Kingston area for access to the Catskill Mountains and mountain houses. Measuring just 4 by 2.5 inches, this tiny little handbook would fit perfectly in a pocket or lady's reticule.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is pleased to make this handbook available to the public. If you would like to view the entire book, chock full of both traveler's information and period advertisements, click the button below to download a PDF.
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Editor's Note: The following text is a verbatim transcription of an article written by George W. Murdock, for the Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman newspaper in the 1930s. Murdock, a veteran marine engineer, wrote a regular column. Articles transcribed by HRMM volunteer Adam Kaplan. For more of Murdock's articles, see the "Steamboat Biographies" category at right.
Hull built of iron by Cramp at Philadelphia, PA. Length of 115 ft., breadth of hull 20 ft., 5 in. depth 9 ft. 5 in, gross tonnage 318, net tons 226. Engine constructed by Harlan and Hollingsworth at Wilmington, Del., Vertical beam engine. Diameter of cylinder 32 inches by 9 feet stroke.
The Transport was launched in December 1874 built for the Windmill Island Ferry Company to operate between Philadelphia and Reading wharves and Windmill Island carrying freight cars for a time was laid up. In the early part of the year 1881, the Transport was purchased by Thomas Cornell of Rondout; after making several alterations, was put on the route between Rondout and Rhinecliff on September first 1881. With Captain Benjamin Wells of Port Ewen in charge, William Van Steenburgh Pilot, William Barber engineer, and Isaac Schultz fireman. The Transport was the third ferryboat to operate on the Rondout and Rhinecliff route taking the place of the Ferryboat Lark that had been on the route since the spring of 1860, with Captain B.F. Schultz, John Landers, Pilot; William Morrow, engineer, and Isaac Schultz, fireman. The Lark took the place of the Ferryboat Rhine which was the first steam Ferryboat to operate across the Hudson River at this point of the river in the 1840s. When the Rhine was first put on the Hudson she took the place of a horse boat that was propelled by horses, ran from what was called the Sleight Dock across the river to Kingston Point. That was before the Hudson River Railroad was built. After the railroad was completed in 1852, there was a station built at Rhinecliff, the Rhine ran from Rhinecliff to Kingston Point until the late 1850s, then changed her route to Rondout, where it has run to the present time excepting one year 1876 when it ran from Ponckhockie. When the Transport was put on the route the Lark was sold to the Port Richmond and Bergen Point Ferry Company to ply across the Kill von Kull, Staten Island. The Lark was renamed the Arthur Kills where she ran for several years. Last trip crew: Capt. Nelson Sleight, Pilot Ross Saulpaugh, Silas Wells, chief engineer.
George W. Murdock, (b. 1853-d. 1940) was a veteran marine engineer who served on the steamboats "Utica", "Sunnyside", "City of Troy", and "Mary Powell". He also helped dismantle engines in scrapped steamboats in the winter months and later in his career worked as an engineer at the brickyards in Port Ewen. In 1883 he moved to Brooklyn, NY and operated several private yachts. He ended his career working in power houses in the outer boroughs of New York City. His mother Catherine Murdock was the keeper of the Rondout Lighthouse for 50 years.
Editor's Note: The following text is a verbatim transcription of an article written by George W. Murdock for the Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman newspaper in the 1930s. Murdock, a veteran marine engineer, wrote a regular column. Articles transcribed by HRMM volunteer Adam Kaplan. For more of Murdock's articles, see the "Steamboat Biographies" category at right.
No. 72- Air Line
Today  we delve into the archives of Mr. Murdock’s steamboat collection to learn of the history of a ferryboat which ceased operating between Saugerties and Tivoli just 23 years ago. Many of our readers will well remember this vessel as she was somewhat of a curiosity as far as her type was concerned.
The “Air Line” was a wooden hull vessel built at Philadelphia in 1857. She was 73 feet long, breadth of beam 20 feet, depth of hold six feet, five inches, gross tonnage 71, net tonnage 52, and she was powered with a vertical engine.
Originally this odd ferryboat was constructed for the Air Line Railroad Company of Pennsylvania and was one of the first of the walking beam type ferryboats ever constructed in this country. Her great bar walking beam coupled with the fact that she had only one bow instead of the customary two which are the rule for ferryboats, labeled the “Air Line” as a distinct curiosity.
The “Air Line” also holds a doubtful record of having made the trip from Philadelphia to Sandy Hook via the Atlantic Ocean; her owner refusing to pay toll charges to the New Jersey canals.
A photograph in the Murdock collection shows the “Air Line” with her one bow, long narrow alleyways separated by the engine house down the center of the vessel. An octagon-shaped pilot house stands atop the engine house with the great bar walking beam directly behind and a high smokestack rising from the middle of the steamboat. Lifeboats were mounted on the roofs of the side cabins.
John N. Snyder operated the “Air Line” when she plied the waters of the Hudson River between Saugerties and Tivoli, and because of her single bow, the vessel had to be turned completely after each crossing. For this reason the fare on the “Air Line” was the largest charged on any ferryboat on the Hudson River- a situation which would make a New Jersey commuter rise up in wrath if he had to pay the fare of 25 cents each time he crossed the river.
The “Air Line” served the public between the two upriver towns for almost 58 years, continuing in service until 1915, when she was deemed worn out and sold to John Fisher, who took her to Rondout and dismantled her.
George W. Murdock (b. 1853-d. 1940) was a veteran marine engineer who served on the steamboats "Utica", "Sunnyside", "City of Troy", and "Mary Powell". He also helped dismantle engines in scrapped steamboats in the winter months and later in his career worked as an engineer at the brickyards in Port Ewen. In 1883 he moved to Brooklyn, NY and operated several private yachts. He ended his career working in power houses in the outer boroughs of New York City. His mother Catherine Murdock was the keeper of the Rondout Lighthouse for 50 years.
This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
50 Rondout Landing
Kingston, NY 12401
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