Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Alabama (Steamboat), 10 Jun 1848
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LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER ALABAMA.- On Saturday afternoon this staunch and neat modeled steamer, built near the Water Works, by our Detroit mechanics, under the direction of Mr. Wm. Gooding, was launched, passing into the water in fine style.
      Her dimensions are 240 keel, 29 feet beam, 12 feet hold, and of 1,000 tons burthen. She is built expressly for passengers to run on the Sandusky and Buffalo line, and from the appearance she makes to the water at this time drawing only 3 feet 8 inches of water, we should judge she will be a fast boat. The arrangements throughout are to be similar to the North River boats, with a cabin below the main deck, 178 feet long, 12 feet in width, between the state rooms. The state rooms are to be arranged on the sides of this lower cabin, fifty-two in number, well ventilated. On the main deck will be the ladies cabin, 78 feet long, 14 feet wide and fifteen large bedrooms, comfortably and conviently arranged for families and ladies. There is not to be an upper cabin on this boat at present, but one can be added at any time if required.
The engines are two seperate horizontal ones, now building at the Hydraulic Works, under the direction of Mr. G.W. Johnson, a gentleman well qualified for the work. They are each 28 inch cylinder, 7 feet stroke and of 350 horse power which will give then 700 horse power, sufficient for all purposes. The boilers also are building in this city, and on a new plan, similar to those used in locomotives. They are to be situated on the main deck, like the North River boats, and are constructed with a fire box, 7 feet square, 22 flues, 24 feet long and 7 inches in diameter, capable of making an immense quantity of steam. They will cost about $7,000 and are built for the burning cost. The construction is under the general superintendence of Mr. J.H. Morris, for the Sandusky Line. ---- Detroit Free press
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Thursday evening, June 15, 1848

      . . . . .

The brig VENICE and the schooner BUCKEYE are being rebuilt there. (Sandusky) The steamboat ALABAMA is nearly ready for service. Her length is 240 feet, breadth of beam 34 feet and depth of hold 11 1/2 feet. Two more steamboats are to be built there the coming winter, one to ply between Sandusky and Detroit; the other between Sandusky and Buffalo.
Two schooners have been launched here (Milan) this season, the CREVOLA and the SEA WITCH. The tonnage of each is 212. Both were built by Mr. S. Ruggles.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Wednesday, October 4, 1848

      . . . . .

THE STEAMER ALABAMA - This new steamer now fitting up at the wharf of B. Higgins & Co., for the Sandusky City and Buffalo Railroad line, is a most magnificent affair. Her model, build, finishing and furnishing are of the most perfect specimens of their various arts.
Her dimensions are as follows: Length 240 feet; beam 29 feet; depth of hold 12 feet; propeller by two powerful engines.
Her gentleman's cabin is situated under the main deck, which for persons predisposed to sea-sickness, the motion of the boat being scarcely fely, or for delightful coolness far srpasses the construction of any other boats on Lake Erie. This cabin is lined on each side with large state-rooms, containing but two wide roomy berths each, with at least from 12 to 18 inches more room than are allowed on steamers in general, and then such nice, new, clean springy matrasses - they would e'en court sleep from a dyspeptic. Each is light and ventilated from underneath the guards.
The Ladies' Saloon, on the main deck, is 100 feet in length, finished in an exquisitely neat and artistic manner. The state-rooms are large, all furnished with double French bedsteads, with spiral spring matresses.
She has sleeping arrangements for 230 passengers, all in the cabins. She will carry no steerage passengers nor a pound of freight -- everything being for the comfort and ease of passengers.
It is thought, from the fact that she is not made top-heavy by a cabin on the hurricane deck -- that catch wind on our lake boats -- that the ALABAMA can make her run from this city to Buffalo in 15 hours, and regularly three trip a week between these ports, and this too, when other boats are compelled to lie by.
She is to be commanded by Captain A.D. Perkins, well known upon our lakes as the commander of that old favorite, GEN. WAYNE, and for the last season upon the SOUTHERNER. - Sandusky Mirror.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Saturday, January 20, 1849

      . . . . .

      Steamer Alabama.
The "ALABAMA" is the name of a new steamer which has been building at this city, and is now nearly ready for service. She is 240 feet in length, 29 feet beam, and 12 feet hold, tonnage something over 800.
      The ALABAMA is built on a different plan from other lake boats. The hull is exceedingly sharp, and built with a view to the least possible resistance to the water. She carries no upper deck to make her unmanageable in bad weather or retard her speed. She has two engines, each being the same size as the engine in the steamer OHIO, both working upon the same shaft, and so arranged that one is exerting its power while the other passes the center, thus giving great regularity and steadiness to the motion. Her boilers, of which she has two, are built on the plan of locomotive boilers, and are placed on deck. Her wheels, we should judge, were near twice the dimensions of ordinary wheels for such a boat.
      She has two fine cabins, elegantly furnished; 65 state rooms, most of which are large, and all of which are to be comfortably, and indeed elegantly furnished. The state-rooms below are all to be provided with air-ports or windows, so arranged as to be open in pleasant weather, and closed like dead-lights in stormy weather; thus securing all the advantages of upper deck state-rooms without the disagreeable motion.
      The ALABAMA made a short trip in the Bay on Saturday, to try her machinery. Her pumps worked so badly that no effort was made to try her speed, but the remainder of her machinery appeared to work admirably, and the working of the engines no jar or trembling in the boat.
      It will be understood from the description given above, that for speed the ALABAMA is expected to be "one of 'em." ------ Sandusky Mirror.
      The Daily True Democrat (Cleveland)
      Friday, March 16, 1849

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STEAMER ALABAMA.- A new steamer bearing this name made her first appearance here this morning, and is now lying at Central Wharf. She was built at Detroit during the past winter by Wm. Gooding of that city, and is owned by Marshal Burton of Sandusky City. Her dimensions are as follows; length of keel 240 feet ---breadth of beam 29 feet ---depth of hold 12 feet. her burthen is 799.25 tons The ALABAMA will run in the Sandusky trade, making two trips a week, and is designed for cabin passengers only, having two cabins, one below and one on deck, being 170 feet in length and containing 46 state-rooms for gentlemen--the latter containing 20 state-rooms for ladies.
The new craft is propelled by two high pressure engines and is under the command of Capt. A.D. Perkins, who is so well and favorable known along the region of the lakes, that any complimentry notice we might make of him, would be deemed superfluous. The rest of the officers, although strangers to us, are perfectly competent and worthy men. The first mate is E.H. Thomson; 2nd. mate, Benjamin Perkins; 1st. Engineer, Thomas Smith; 2nd. engineer, Coilet; Clerk, Samuel A. Clarke; Stewart, G.R. Thomas. (poor copy)
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Saturday, April 21, 1849

Steam paddle ALABAMA. Of 799 tons. Built Detroit, Mich., 1849. First home port, Sandusky, Ohio. DISPOSITION:-- Foundered near Buffalo, N.Y., August 28, 1854. No lives lost.
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S.
      Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

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launch, Detroit &c.
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William R. McNeil
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Alabama (Steamboat), 10 Jun 1848