The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
City of Buffalo (Steamboat), 11 Apr 1857

Full Text

LAUNCH. - The new steamer CITY OF BUFFALO, for the Michigan Southern road, will be launched tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock, from Bidwell & Banta's ship yard.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Friday, April 10, 1857

      . . . . .

LAUNCH OF THE CITY OF BUFFALO. - This new and magnificent steamer, intended for the Michigan Southern Railroad Line, was launched from the shipyard of Messrs. Bidwell & Banta, on Saturday afternoon last, according to announcement. Her dimensions are as follows:
      Length over all . . . . 340 feet
      Breadth of beam . . . . 40 feet
      Depth of hold . . . . 15 feet 8 inches
      Capacity . . . . . 2300 tons
      Paddle wheels . . . . . 10 feet stroke
      Cylinders, diameter . . 76 inches
She will cost, when completed, in the neighborhood of $250,000. She was designed by Capt. Forbes, and is said by experienced judges to be a model of speed, safety and beauty. Her engines are from the Morgan Iron Works, New York. As soon as she is completed and ready for commission, we shall take occasion to notice her more at length.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, April 13, 1857

      LAUNCH:-- .The steamer CITY OF BUFFALO. Of over 1,800 tons. Built by Bidwell & Banta at Buffalo, and launched April 10th. her dimensions are 350 x 40 x 14.
      Toronto Globe
      April 15, 1857
      . . . . .

      BUSINESS AT THE DOCKS. - A visit to the shipyards discloses many interesting facts which we can only briefly lay before our readers.
At Bidwell, Banta & Co's, we found just launched, Captain Perkins' leviathan steamer CITY OF BUFFALO, of 2260 tons burthen, built for the Michigan Southern and Northern Railroad Company, at a cost of $250,000.
She is in rapid progress of completion and will be out at an early day.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Tuesday, April 21, 1857 ( part of article)

      . . . . .

      The splendid stmr. CITY OF BUFFALO, building by Bidwell, Banta & Co., for the Michigan Southern Railroad Line, will be out in about 2 weeks. She will probably make a trial trip next Saturday. We understand that a set of colors are to be presented to her by some of our citizens in the name of the City. They will cost between $500 and $700.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      July 9, 1857 2-5

      . . . . .

      We see it stated that the CITY OF BUFFALO will make her regular trial trip to Toledo on Thursday night of next week. She is magnificently, or rather extravagantly fitted up, and it is intended to eclipse her consort the WESTERN METROPOLIS.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      July 9, 1857 3-2

      . . . . .
      Saturday morning, before the sun had risen, the new steamer CITY OF BUFFALO, of the Michigan Southern Railroad Line, was loosened from her moorings, at the foot of Main Street, and started on her trial trip. As the preparations for the departure were making, anxiety was depicted on more than one countenance. Capt. Forbes, who has been the master-spirit of the enterprise and who had before successfully demonstrated that the era of improvements in the construction of lake steamers has not passed, was on board, looking as though his reputation hung on another triumph. Capt. Perkins was present, waiting for his confidence in the performance of the boat to be verified, and overseeing all the arrangements. Mr. G.W. Quintard, one of the proprietors of the Morgan Iron Works, of New York, and Mr. T.J. Grady, the engineer, who superintended the putting in of the engine, were also present, sharing in the common solicitude for the success of the CITY OF BUFFALO. Among others, were Mr. Sheppard, of the Iron Works, Mr. Bidwell, Capt. Dorr, several lake captains and members of the press.
      At last signal was given, the engine answered to the call, and the steamer moved, as noiselessly and steadily as if she had been long accustomed to her element. She scarcely disturbed the water at her brow, and at her stern the wake was hardly perceptible. With only twenty pounds of steam she made the run to Point Abino in three-quarters of an hour - a distance of twelve miles. After a trip up the lake to a point opposite Barcelona, she was headed for home. With her journals rough as they came from the lathe, and all the embarrassments of new machinery, the CITY OF BUFFALO made sixteen revolutions with twenty-three pounds of steam, and subsequently, when her steam was put up somewhat, she made eighteen and a half revolutions with twenty-nine pounds of steam.
      The trial trip was everything that could be desired, and the performance of the boat far exceeded the most sanguine expectations of her warmest friends. In point of model, beauty of finish, elegance of equipment and convenience, she is unsurpassed by any steamer afloat. She is thoroughly built, and every possible precaution has been taken to provide against accidents. Five solid timber bulkheads, fourteen inches thick, divide her keel into compartments, so that in the event of a collision she could not sink. The boilers are enclosed in an iron tank, which is kept filled with water, and no wood work is in proximity to the fire. She was modeled by Capt. J.W. Banta, who has no superior as a naval architect in the country. The following are the dimensions and particulars of construction of the new steamer:
      Length over all . . . . . . 340 feet
      Width of beam . . . . . . 40 feet
      Depth of hold . . . . . . 15 feet 8 inches
      Diameter of wheels . . . . 38 feet
      Length of paddles . . . . 10 feet
      The cost of the steamer is about as follows:
      Engine . . . . . . . . . $60,000
      Boilers . . . . . . . . . $30,000
      Hull and Joiner work . . . $85,000
      Furniture . . . . . . . . $20,000
      Equipment . . . . . . . $40,000
      Total $235,000
      The engine has a 76 inch cylinder with 12 feet stroke of piston. It was made at the Morgan Iron Works, New York, and is a beautiful piece of machinery. The arms of the State of New York and Michigan are elaborately engraved on plates and attached to the upper works of the engine. This was done by Mr. Jamison, of this city.
      The boilers and other machinery were made by John D. Sheppard.
      The furniture is from the manufactory of Hersee & Timmerman, and is of excellent workmanship and tasteful patterns.
      The carpets, oil-cloths, bedding, upholstery, &c., are from the establishment of A.T. Stewart & Co., of New York.
      The CITY OF BUFFALO has six large parlors with bed-rooms attached, designed to take the place of what have been termed Bridal Rooms. There are forty-two rooms with double beds and a berth above, and about one hundred state-rooms on the upper deck. The principal Saloon is a spacious and airy room, splendidly furnished and ornamented. One of Boardman, Gray & Co.'s Pianos is to adorn the saloon. The instrument, which cost $550, can be seen for a few days at the music store of Sage & Sons, of whom it was purchased. The other boats of this Company are already supplied with these pianos, as they have been found to withstand the dampness of the lakes better than any others now in use. The Dining Saloon is forward the shaft, and will be furnished with small tables, like the WESTERN METROPOLIS.
      The Reception Room is superbly fitted up, and a tasteful fountain sends its silvery stream up in the center. The Clerk's and Stewards office are connected with it.
      Back of the Reception Room is the Ladies Cabin, and beneath it the Ladies' Dressing Room, supplied with Bath Rooms, Washing Rooms, and every convenience.
      We neglected to state that the wood-work was made by Bidwell & Banta, and in a manner which reflects much credit on them.
      The following is a list of the officers of the CITY OF BUFFALO:
      Commander - Commodore A.D. Perkins.
      Clerk - C.J. Bowles.
      Steward - B. Logan.
      Engineer - Samuel Nesbitt.
      First Officer - William McKay.
      We understand that the steamer will take her place in the line on or about Tuesday of next week, when our citizens will have an opportunity of admiring this product of the handiwork of Buffalonians, and of adding their testimony to ours that she is the most perfect steamer afloat. We congratulate Capt. Forbes on the success that has crowned his effort, and Capt. Perkins on the honor of commanding the noblest vessel ever launched on the lake. The city of Buffalo may well be proud of her name-sake.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      July 13, 1857
      . . . . .
      SHIPBUILDING. - We give below a table showing the names, tonnage, valuation and builders of the new vessels turned out from our shipyards during the present season. This statement is a gratifying evidence of the prosperity of this branch of trade in our city, affording as it does, employment to a very large class of our citizens.
Class Name Builders Tons Value
Stmr. * CITY OF BUFFALO Bidwell & Banta 1,800:00 $225,000
Stmr. CITY OF CLEVELAND Bidwell & Bants 788:15 80,000
Stmr. CYGNET Notter & Co. 26:64 5,000
Prop. HUNTER Bidwell & Banta 667:07 50,000
Prop. EQUINOX F.W. Jones 620:65 50,000
Prop. EQUATOR F.W. Jones 620:65 50,000
Prop. ECLIPSE F.W. Jones 620:65 50,000
Prop. QUINCEY Van Slyck, Notter Co. 396:02 30,000
Prop. CITY OF MADISON Van Slyck, Notter Co. 394:53 30,000
Prop. BURLINGTON O'Connor 384:74 30,000
Prop. LA CROSSE O'Connor 397:76 30,000
Prop. DUBUQUE O'Connor 399:74 30,000
Prop. M.B. SPAULDING Hitchcock 383:88 30,000
Prop.Tug RAPID Bidwell & Banta 77:00 5,000
Prop.Tug H.P. CLINTON O'Connor 67:83 5.000
Prop.Tug H.N. MARTIN F.N. JONES 87:34 7,000
Prop.Tug LEVITHIAN B.B. Jones 315:64 30,000
Prop.Tug A.E. HART Van Slyke, Notter Co. 71:74 5,000
Prop.Tug ST. MARY Van Slyke, Notter Co. 62:23 5,000
Prop.Tug STILLMAN WITT O'Connor 127:92 10,000
Prop.Tug N.P. SPRAGUE F.N. Jones 173:08 10,000
Prop.Tug JOHN ELY Van Slyke, Notter Co. 29:65 5,000
      Total steam 8,515:39 $772,000
Schr. EUROPA O'Connor 391:88 18,000
Schr. MAZAPPA O'Connor 391:42 10,000
Schr. ETHAN ALLEN F.N. Jones 339:91 18,000
Schr. MARIA F. JOHNSON F.N. Jones 287:59 13,000
Schr. A.E. HART F.N. Jones 445:11 18,000
Schr. DIE VERNON F.N. Jones 414:04 18,000
Schr. LONE STAR F.N. Jones 383:76 17,000
Schr. YORK STATE F.N. Jones 389:37 17,000
Schr. GREY EAGLE Bidwell & Banta 380:91 17,000
Schr. SEA BIRD Bidwell & Banta 381:73 17,000
Schr. ROCKET Bidwell & Banta 478:38 18,000
Schr. COMET Bidwell & Banta 478:16 18,000
Schr. MARY BOOTH Bidwell & Banta 141:02 6,000
Schr. CORNELIA Bidwell & Banta 359:63 13,000
Schr. DAUNTLESS B.B. Jones 437:80 18,000
Schr. IMPERIAL B.B. Jones 437:80 18,000
Schr. INVINCIBLE B.B. Jones 437:80 18,000
Schr. J. THURSBY La Paige 359:92 17,000
Schr. WARECAN Kingston 371:44 17,000
      Total sail 7,308:24 $311,000
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      September 7, 1857
      . . . . .
      Paddle wheel CITY OF BUFFALO.* Of 2,062 tons. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1857. First home port, Detroit, Mich.
      * rig changed to a screw April 11, 1864. Burnt at Buffalo July 30, 1866. No lives lost
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States
      Lytle - Holdcamper List, 1790 to 1868

Media Type:
Item Type:
Launch & trial trip
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
William R. McNeil
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

City of Buffalo (Steamboat), 11 Apr 1857