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. See more of Murdock's articles in "Steamboat Biographies".
No. 33- Adirondack
The last and largest of the wooden hull steamboats built for service on the Hudson river- that’s the distinction that belongs to the 420 foot “Adirondack”.
The “Adirondack” was built in 1896 by John Englis & Son at Greenpoint, for the People’s Line, of which John Englis was vice president. She was one of the most handsome and one of the best equipped vessels ever constructed for river navigation, and was a great improvement over the magnificent “Dean Richmond,” “Drew” and “St. John.” Her hull was built chiefly of wood, the frames were of oak, chestnut, and red cedar. She boasted five decks, the main, saloon, gallery, dome, and the hurricane, and she had 350 staterooms, including 24 parlors and four suites of parlors.
All rooms were furnished with iron and brass bedsteads, and there were also 286 berths in the cabins and 120 berths for the crew. The dining room was on the afterpart of the main deck with a seating capacity for 250 people. The main saloon was decorated in white, green and gold. An electric plant furnished power for 2,000 lights, plus a powerful searchlight mounted on the pilot house which would reveal objects over two miles away. The entire vessel cost well over a million dollars when completed.
The “Adirondack” was known as one of the Hudson river flyers. In May, 1899, she made a remarkable fast run- traveling from New York to Albany with 350 tons of freight and 400 passengers in six hours and 24 minutes actual running time.
The “Adirondack” ran in line with the “Dean Richmond” until the advent of the “C.W. Morse” in 1904. She then continued sailing the Hudson until 1913 when the “Berkshire” replaced her. The “Adirondack” was used as a spare boat until 1915, and then in the summer of 1917 she was commandeered by the federal government and taken to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for the purpose of housing recruits for the war.
At the close of the World War the “Adirondack” was taken up the Hudson river to Athens and laid up. In December, 1925, she sank while laying at the dock and was then sold to a junkman and broken up.
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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