Charting a return for steamship trips on the Hudson

S.S. ColumbiaA group is aiming to bring back steamship service on the Hudson River between New York City and Albany by restoring a century-old ship. From the New York History Blog:

Although the S.S. Columbia is a newcomer to the Hudson - it plied the waters of the Detroit River for much of the 19th century - its history is strongly linked to New York City. The Columbia was designed by naval architect Frank Kirby and artist Louis O. Keil, who together built the celebrated Hudson River Day Line steamers Hendrick Hudson, Washington Irving, and the Robert Fulton.
Built in 1902, the S.S. Columbia included an array of design, engineering and aesthetic innovations. At just over 200 feet in length and 60 feet at the beam, the boat was designed to carry 3,200 passengers on her five decks. She was adorned with mahogany paneling, etched and leaded glass, gilded moldings, a grand staircase and an innovative open-air ballroom. Restoration of these features is expected to begin when the ship in New York. The Columbia will be powered by its rare and intact 1200 horsepower triple expansion steam engine; the massive engine is viewable by passengers.

The S.S. Columbia is currently in Toledo for repairs. The plan is to move it to Buffalo this summer, and then eventually up the Saint Lawrence Seaway and down the Atlantic Coast to New York City in 2016. According to the New York History Blog, the project is trying to raised $300k to get the boat to NYC. The whole project will ultimately involve $10 million, according to its website.

The ship is pretty rough shape now -- you can follow along with the repairs view the project's Flickr stream.

There's a long history of people taking day cruises along the Hudson, which Duncan wrote about last year here at AOA.

photo via S.S. Columbia Project

Comments

YES!

It would be sweet if they rented office/ticket space in the historic Hudson River Day Line building. The Hudson Harbor Restaurant is on the first floor, but I believe the upper floors are vacant now. http://albanynydailyphoto.blogspot.com/2009/09/hudson-river-day-line-office.html

To sing along with the others "YES, YES, YES!"

I can envision this, coupled with the agro-tourism blossoming in the Hudson Valley as being a huge win for the region and the city of Albany itself. For example, I'd totally sign up for a wine or micro-brew tour by steam boat from Albany.

I grew up in southeast Michigan - the Columbia and another similar ship, the St. Clair, were used as ferries between Detroit and an island amusement park called Boblo Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boblo_Island_Amusement_Park).

I was a kid when Boblo closed and the ships were docked along the river and essentially left to rot. They were in pretty bad shape the last time I saw them, which was probably 15 years ago.

I'm so glad that at least one of these beautiful ships is finding new life, especially in a part of the country where I now happen to reside.

... plied the waters of the Detroit River for much of the 20TH CENTURY ...

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