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". See more Sunday News here.
No. 25- Albany - 1820s
The first steamboat on the Hudson river named the “Albany” was built in 1826 at Philadelphia by J. Vaughan for James A. Stevens to run on the New York and Albany route in line with the “New Philadelphia”. She arrived at New York from Philadelphia on April 8, 1827, and began her regular schedule on April 11.
However the first trip did not bring her to Albany as she broke several of her paddles after proceeding a few miles up the Hudson and was compelled to return to New York. Repairs were made, and Sunday, April 15, she set sail on her first regular trip under the command of J.G. Jenkins.
The owners of the “Albany”, the Messrs. Stevens of Hoboken, had spared no expense in an endeavor to make the new craft one of the finest on the river, even to having the panels in the cabins decorated with pictures by some of the finest artists in the country. But with all their preparations, the “Albany” did not turn out to be the fast vessel that had been expected.
Alterations were made to the “Albany” in an endeavor to make her into a better running vessel. Her original 147-foot hull was lengthened to 207 feet by the addition of another bow and stern. These changes had the desired effect and the “Albany” could then hold her own with the more up-to-date steamboats then appearing on the river. In 1839 the “Albany” was again lengthened to 287 feet and was widened two feet. With a sharper bow and finer lines aft, she made better time between New York and Albany. On September 25, 1840, she made the run in eight hours and 33 minutes as compared with her first record in 1827 of over 12 hours. The “Albany” served for a few more years, sailing up and down the Hudson river, and was finally worn out and broken up.
No. 28- Albany - 1880 to 1930s
The “Albany” was built for the Hudson River Dayline in 1880 and was the first iron steamboat constructed for the Hudson river travel since the building of the “Iron Witch” in 1846, later called the “Erie.” The new craft supplanted the “Daniel Drew” and made her first regular trip from New York to Albany on July 2, 1880. The 300 foot vessel was much admired for her graceful proportions, and when she is moving through the water at her regular speed, she causes but little commotion, and shows great stability when heavily loaded with passengers.
For the first time in the history of river steamboats, three boilers and three smokestacks were placed side by side instead of one behind the other, a deviation which gave the boat a very different appearance from the usual style. Other alterations were made from time to time until the present boat is a far cry from the original built in 1880.
The “Albany” made a fast trip on October 22, 1884, leaving New York and arriving at Poughkeepsie in three hours and 20 minutes. For 25 years the “Albany” ran on the schedule of the Dayline with her consorts the “Chauncey Vibbard” and “New York.” In 1906 the “Hendrick Hudson” joined the fleet and the “Albany” was made into a special boat plying between New York and Poughkeepsie on one round trip per day. She continued on this run until 1913 when the Washington Irving made her first appearance on the waters of the Hudson. At this time the “Robert Fulton”, which had also been running to Albany with the “Hendrick Hudson”, was placed on the Poughkeepsie route.
At this time the famous “Mary Powell” was beginning to show signs of wear and so the “Albany” was put on the Rondout-New York route, making her first trip from Rondout on Monday, July 7, 1913, and continuing on this route until 1917. In 1918 she was chartered out for excursions and also made a special trip to Albany each Saturday. The Albany was sold in 1935 and now [in the 1930s] plies the Potomac river as an excursion boat running out of the nation’s capitol.
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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