Map of the Hudson River Line Steamers, 1883

Map of Hudson River Line Steamers, Albany and C. Vibbard. Courtesy of Wellcome Library, London. Click the image to enlarge it.
Map of Hudson River Line Steamers, Albany and C. Vibbard. Courtesy of Wellcome Library, London.
Click the image to enlarge it.

Here’s a nice route map of the Hudson River Line steamers Albany and Chauncey Vibbard during the Golden Age of steamboats.

The New York State Education Department has a fascinating account of Hudson River steamboat travel which includes descriptions of both boats and what was then called the Day Line.

Of the many Hudson River steamboat lines, the one which became the best known in this country and abroad was the Hudson River Day Line. Its “white flyers” were famous for their elegance and speed, and provided the most enjoyable way to travel the Hudson River. No one could claim to have seen America without seeing the Hudson River, and the only way to properly see the Hudson River was from the deck of a Day Liner. . . .

In the first full season of the Day Line in 1864 the steamer Chauncey Vibbard was launched and paired with the Daniel Drew to provide regular steamboat service between New York and Albany. Service was offered six days a week, but never on Sunday. As one of the steamboats was traveling upriver, the other was traveling downriver. The Day Line claimed its steamboats operated under the “nine hour system.” That is, it took nine hours for the boats to complete the trip between Albany and New York City, with Poughkeepsie as the half-way point for these trips. . . .

In the 1880s the Day Line, in order to better promote its business, felt that it needed to upgrade its fleet with new boats that were not only larger and faster, but also more elegant in appearance and décor. The Day Line introduced the Albany in 1880 and the New York in 1887.

These two new steamers, built on iron hulls 300 feet in length, could accommodate 1,500 passengers and claimed to be the fastest steamboats in the world. They were built exclusively for carrying passengers, and were said to be the finest boats ever constructed for the business. The Day Line advertisements emphasized that it was “strictly first-class—no freight.” 

These boats featured spacious cabins finished in highly polished woods; they were handsomely paneled, luxuriously furnished and adorned with statuary and paintings by celebrated artists. The dining rooms were on the main deck, where the traveler could enjoy an excellent dinner, which was served on the European plan, and lose nothing of the view of the most charming of American rivers.

See this previous post for images from Souvenir of the Hudson River, which has an inscription in the back that reads “Bought Sept. 1881 on Steamer Vibbard.”

This map is courtesy of Wellcome Library, London, which has 100,000 images—ranging from ancient medical manuscripts to etchings by artists such as Van Gogh and Goya—available for free download on their website.

Map Hudson River Line 1883_detail

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