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.
The "Rosedale" was featured in this week's Media Monday blog post, a 1911 film of New York Harbor.
Deemed one of the most handsome steamboats of her class ever to sail the waters of the Hudson river, the “Rosedale” enjoyed an existence of 45 years in which she saw service on many routes and finally was consumed by flames in the same port where she was launched many years before.
The wooden hull of the “Rosedale” was constructed at Norfolk, Virginia in 1877, being 216 feet long. She had a breadth of beam of 34 feet two inches, depth of hold 10 feet. The gross tonnage was 938 with the net tonnage rating of 677, and she was powered with a vertical beam engine with a cylinder diameter of 50 inches with a 12 foot stroke.
The “Rosedale” was built for service on the James river but was soon brought north to New York waters. Her first appearance in New York harbor created much favorable comment among steamboat men who admired her trim lines and considered her a very handsome vessel for her class. Few steamboats in and about New York harbor at that period carried their boilers in the hold and forward of the engine as did the “Rosedale.”
In the summer of 1878 the “Rosedale” was placed in service between Peekskill and New York as a dayboat. This period of service was short-lived and the “Rosedale” next appeared as an excursion vessel around New York harbor, also making trips to Coney Island.
On September 18, 1879, the “Rosedale” inaugurated a day service under the management of Captain Anning J. Smith, between New York and Bridgeport as an opposition vessel, and the fare from Bridgeport to New York was reduced to sixty-five cents or one dollar per round trip. This opposition was continued until 1892 when the “Rosedale” was taken into the rival steamboat line.
1902 marked the advent of several new steamboats for use on this route, with the result that the “Rosedale” was laid up for a time. During the summer months of 1905 and 1906, Captain Smith engaged in the excursion business, running the “Rosedale” to Coney Island and Rockaway Beach.
The spring of 1907 found the “Rosedale” running on the James river during the Jamestown Exhibition; the following fall the steamboat was back in New York harbor. In the spring of 1908 the “Rosedale” was again used on the Rockaway Beach route and for short routes around New York.
Philadelphia was the next port of call for the “Rosedale” as she appeared in and around the Quaker city on the Delaware river in 1917 and continuing there until 1920. She was then taken to Norfolk, Virginia and laid up at the Merritt & Chapman yard. Fire ravaged the Rosedale in 1922 while she was laid-up at Norfolk, ending the career which had begun 45 years previous at the same port.
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.
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