Marine Commerce and Yachting, pp. 205–214.
The Patent Swimming-Baths, etc.
ROM an early period in the history of the town, and until the completion of the railroad (in 1848), the carrying business between Stamford and New York was done by means of small sloops, several being engaged in the trade, and in fair weather making trips with regularity and what in those days passed for speed. The older inhabitants remember
how the market-boats were brought up the old canal (most of which has been filled in) to Main Street. One of these boats was run from 1841 to 1848 by Capt. David Waterbury, who is still numbered among the active business men of the town.
It was not until 1852 that steam communication by water with the metropolis was organized on a permanent basis, though for more than a score of years prior to that time steamers were running here more or less regularly, in connection with calls at other Sound ports. In that year Capt. Edmund Lockwood (now deceased), Lewis Waterbury (still living, at Darien), and Capt. David Waterbury purchased the "William W. Frazer." She was commanded by Capt. Lockwood, while the other two owners managed the freight and passenger business. This was the beginning of the Stamford Transportation Company, which continued in existence until about six years ago. The "Frazer" made three trips a week. Her landing-place was near the Waterside Mill. The number of passengers carried was not large, but as a freight boat she became remunerative to the owners – so much so that, a few years later, they built a new boat, the "Ella," which was launched at Greenpoint, L.I. The "Frazer" was disposed of in part payment for the new boat, which had a much larger carrying capacity, and the "Ella" began making daily trips, to New York, landing her freight and passengers at Knapp's Dock, now known as the "old steamboat deck," at Waterside. The "Ella" was sold by the Company, in July, 1862, to the U. S. Government, and did good service during the war as a despatch-boat, a use for which she was especially adapted on account of her speed.
STEAMBOAT "SHADY SIDE."
Another steamer for the Stamford and New York route was soon contracted for and built. She was ready in the spring of 1863, and on the 13th of May made her first regular trip. This boat was named the "Stamford," and was an excellent vessel. She was about one-third larger than the "Ella," and, besides freight, had accommodations for three hundred passengers, though she sometimes carried as mane as five hundred. Among those who commanded her was Capt. Lewis Waterbury. The "Stamford" was disposed of in 1865 to the Housatonic Railroad Company. In 1866 another steamer built for the Transportation Company at an expense of $70.000 – the "Shippan" – began running daily to New York.
In 1868 the work of widening the old Canal was instituted by a company consisting of J. B. Hoyt, J. D. Warren and others. In the purchase of land and the excavations upwards of $ 200,000 was expended. The work was so far advanced in 1870 that the steamer "Shippan" was run to the present steamboat landing at Canal Dock, on January 7 of that year. Just four months later – on the night of May 7 – the "Shippan" was burned to the water's edge and the storehouses were also consumed. How the fire broke out on the steamer w as never ascertained. Most of the crew were attending a performance of Barnum's circus at the time.
|MOSES G. WRIGHT.
||JAMES T. JOHNSON
For three or four years passenger and freight boats – the "Americus" and others – were run on the Stamford route by Cornell White, of New York, and, later, the Stamford Freight Company ran the "Meta" as a passenger boat in the summer, and the "Alert" for freight purposes in the winter season. In 1886 the company disposed of their vessels and business to the North and East River Transportation Company which now conducts it. The present steamer, the "Shady Side," is one of the handsomest passenger-boats on Long Island Sound. With complete and comfortable accommodations for passengers and ample capacity for freight, the "Shady-Side" is well adapted to the needs of Stamford people. She is commanded by Capt. Sheldon Bullock. The officers of the Company are: G. Wright, President, G. A. Wright, Secretary, and M. G. Wright, General Manager and Treasurer. The superintendent and agent in Stamford is James T. Johnson, who has occupied that responsible position since the company extended its business to Stamford.
It is believed, from carefully made estimate, that the annual tonnage representing the marine commerce of the canal alone, for the year 1891, foots up 99,254 tons. The tonnage at the Waterside (the natural harbor at the mouth of Mill river) is believed to amount to 100,000 for the same year – a more than four-fold increase from the estimate made by the government engineers, before they began dredging the channel in 1887. The grand total of Stamford water-borne freight is still further increased by the large volume of such business done annually by the Cove Transportation Company, which employs a steam, sail and barge fleet numbering five or six vessels, exclusively in the service of the Stamford Manufacturing Company. These have their own docks and storehouses at the Cove, so called, making in all three main points of freight shipment which must be taken into account in an estimate of the total marine commerce of the port of Stamford.
STAMFORD CANAL AND DOCKS.
Picturesque Stamford, 1892
917.46 Stamford G