The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Plymouth Rock (Steamboat), 1 Jul 1854

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The two mamoth steamers building in this city for the Detroit route, in connection with the Michigan Central R. R., are to be called the PLYMOUTH ROCK and WESTERN WORLD. They will be the largest steamers afloat on any inland water, and in every respect superior to anything ever built. They are estimated to cost $500,000 each We learn that they are to be commanded by Capt. George E. Willoughby and Capt. C.C. Stannard, both long connected with the route, and faithful and competent sailors. The boats are built under the supervision of Isaac Newton, Esq., of new York. We shall have more to say of them in a few days.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      January 7, 1854

The new steamer PLYMOUTH ROCK made her maiden trip last Thursday evening. A large number of invited huests were on board.
      Cleveland Morning Leader
      Saturday, July 15, 1854

      The new steamer PLYMOUTH ROCK, made her first regular trip between Buffalo and Detroit, last week, leaving her dock at this port, on Friday evening, and on her return, reaching it again, about 6 o'clock, on Sunday evening, last. The weather was extremely favorable, and to both passengers, and guests--of whom the politeness of Capt. Willoughby there was a goodly number--the trip was perfectly satisfactory, and delightful. Among those who were present, and seemed most to enjoy the pleasures and novelty of the occasion, were, Hon. Mark Spencer and daughter, of N.Y. city; Hon. George D.W. Clinton and sister, of the same; William J. McAlpin, our late able State Engineer; Judge Hawkins, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; J.Y. Sanger, of St. Louis, and J.H. Fisher, of Niagara Falls. The PLYMOUTH ROCK, together with her consort, the WESTERN WORLD, has been too fully described, to need particular mention here. With untried machinery, and an average head of steam, considerably less than half the amount legally allowable she accomplished the out and return voyage, in an average of less than 17 hours This gives the assurance that, when the extensive detail of the vessel shall be completed, and her pumps, which at present, are quite inadequate for a supply of water sufficient to condense the steam, enlarged, the PLYMOUTH ROCK will take her place among the fastest of the splendid steamers of Lake Erie. One characteristic of this noble steamer is worthy of special notice, it is her remarkably equable and steady motion. Writing, or anything of the kind, can be accomplished as perfectly, as at our own familiar desk; and excluding the view of the water, it requires an effort of the imagination to convince one, that he is not in the quiet parlor of some princely mansion. Of Capt. Willoughby it is unnecessary to speak, but we may say, that on the inland waters of the world, it would be impossible to find a man, for general intelligence, friendly and genial spirit, and all gentlemanly and seaman-like qualities, more finely adapted to the duties and responsibilities of his situation. So lively was this sentiment
among the passengers that at a spontaneous gathering for the purpose of giving expression to their high sense of the admirable qualities of Captain Willoughby and his noble vessel, and at which Hon. Mark Spencer, of N.Y. city was called to preside, the following resolutions were offered and unanimously adopted.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Tuesday, July 18, 1854

NOTE : - ( the resolutions, five in number, were of a glowing description of Captain Willoughby, but did little to describe the vessel, they were therefore not extracted. )

Paddle wheel steamer PLYMOUTH ROCK. Of 1,991 tons. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1854. First home port, Detroit, Mich. -- Disposition, Abandoned 1857
      Merchant Steam Vessels of the U. S., 1790 - 1868
      . . . . .

THE NEW STEAMERS PLYMOUTH ROCK and WESTERN WORLD. -- We have before given our readers some idea of these two mammoth steamers, now building in this city, for the 'Michigan Central and New York Central Railroads, to run
between this port and Detroit, and are now prepared to give a more detailed doscription of them.
      They are built under the superintendence of Isaac Newton, Esq., of new York, a gentlemnan whose successful experience in steamboating on the Hudson river, peculiarly fits him for the responsible po8ition, and is a guarantee that in every they will surpass any steamers ever brought out, or now afloat.
Both boats are built af!er the same model, and the hulls are put together as strong as wood and iron can make them. It is astonishing to see the amount of iron used in the construction. Bulkheads, forming air tight compartments are made throughout the hulls, making them life preservers in every sense of tbe word. This is a decided improvement, and one that should be adopted in all vessels. Their dimensions are as follows:-
Extreme length on deck, 352 feet; breadth of beam. 42 feet; width over guards, 72-1/2 feet. Engines 81 inch cylinder, 12 feet stroke, 1500 horse power. The engines are built by the Allaire Works, Messrs. Secor & Co., New York, and designed by F. Saunders, Esq. - Low pressure beam engine. Diameter of wheels 39 feet - face of buckets 11 feet.
The main saloons, or after cabins, are 248 feet long, by 18 wide, with two rows of state-rooms extending the entire length, on each side. The outside rooms are arranged with slide doors connection with the inner row of state-rooms so they can be used as family rooms for parties. Halls also lead from the main saloon to the outside guards, where the outer row of state-rooms are entered from doors opening in that direction. The inside flank of rooms are lighted and ventilated from the top in a most admirable manner.
The ladies' saioon on the main deck, situated as on other boats, is 79 feet long and 17 wide, with a row of single berth, tastefully arranged on each side: There are also outside, connected by small halls from this saloon, 8 large family rooms on each side, arranged with all the comfort's of a well regulated hotel - wide, comfortable beds, sofas, &c. The dining hall is below tbe main deck, where there are 120 berths arranged on both sides. There are 127 rooms in all, (on each boat,) 64 of them double, or bed rooms, and ample accommodations for 535 persons in berths and beds - more than any steamer now afloat.
      The painting, gilding, and stained glass, is done by the well known, and world renowned artist, Jas. Smith, of this city, wllich is assurance enough that it will be well done. The main saloon on the upper deck will present a most gorgeous appearance. A dome 86 feet long by 18 wide, with gothic dome in the center, 16 feet in diameter, 20
feet from deck, covered with stained glass, cannot fail to give tbis saloon, with its rich covered furniture, massive mirrors and beautiful dccorations, a fairy-like enchantnent.
      The furniture is from the old established manufactory of Messrs. Hersee & Timmerman, of tbis city, vho bave turned out within the last few year's articles not surpasaed by any eatablishment in the Union. The sofas, chairs, &c., are rose-wood, covered with silk and satin damask, costing in New York from $7.25 to $9.50 per yard. The patterns and designs are original, being got up expressly for these boats.
The copper work of these steamers was all manufactured at the extensive establishment of Messrs. John Otto & Co.
      The mattrasses are manufactured by Messrs. Cameron & Mckay, and wilI be the very best that can be made of hair, weighing 25 pounds for the single one, and 37 pounds for the double ones. - The pillows are also made by this house.
      One important feature about these floating palaces is the arrangement for water. Each room has a marble slab wash-stand, tbe water supplied from large tanks on the upper deck by Iead pipes, and the waste water carried off in the same way. The plumbing is done by Messrs. Thompson & McFarlane, and the entire work, viI! cost over $14,000.
      There are to be two bridal rooms on each boat, whose fitting up will cost each $2,000. We were shown one pair of curtains for these rooms that cost $125.
The mirrors are to be furnished by Messrs. Waldbon & Rumsey, of which there will be four on each boat, costing from $300 to $800.
      The Captain's rooom is situated on the forward part of tbe boats directly under the pilot-house, and is of the dimensions of 17 feet by 12. This strikes us as an improvement in location.
      The crockery is to be procured in England, where it is made to order from original designs by Mr. G.S. Wormer. The silver ware is also to come from Europe, and will be selected by Capt. Willoughby, now in England, and marked with the name of the boat.
      To give our readers some idea of the extent and richness of tbe fitting up of these steamers, we give the following items, which have been furnished us by Mr. WORMER, who made all the purchases in New York, personally. Tbere have been and are to be employed throughout the entire winter, more tban 50 women in making up the linen, curtains, &c. Thse have already used over tbirteen thousand yards of linnen sheeting, two tbousand yards of linen pillow casing, two tbousand four hundred yards of toweling, one thousand eight yards of napkin linen, four thousand eight hundred yards of embroider curtain muslin, and two thousand four hundred yards of dimity.
      The boats, when complete, will have cost $250,000 apiece. They will be out about the 1st of June next, probably.
      And now, " honor to whom is due" To fit up a boat in such gorgeous style, uniting taste with magnificence and convenience, and utility with both, is no small affair, to be accomplished of a day and vithout experience or thought. We have beell shown some improvements in the arrangement of these boats, which cannot fail to strike others as they did us, as the results of much labor and experiment, and a perception of the defects in present plans, that have escaped an eye less quick, or a mind less intent upon pleasing than have been those of the originator of these plans. Heretofore in conveying the food from the kitchen to the dining saloon, an open space on cleck has oeen traversed, causing the viands, often to be anything but "smoking hot," and palatable when placcd upon the table. Tbis difficulty has been obviated bythe construction of a hall, running from the kitchen under the main deck, to the dinning-ball, wbich is free from all exposure. In each room, also, on the boat, are sinks for washing, similar to tllose used in our homes. The water, however, instead of flowing by means of a facet, is produced by pressure on a valve in Ih top of the the wash-stand, which causes the running to cease as soon as tile finger is removed. This prevents any disagreeable results of carelessness or haste, in neglecting to turn the spigot back again to its proper place. Other improvemcuts, small in themselves, but adding largely to the cnmfort and convience of the thousands that these palaces will carry, might be named had we room; but we must forbear.
      For all these inventions, for the exceeding good taste displayed in the purchase of raw material its fitting-up and disposition - in short for its interior arrangements of these boats from stem to stern, the Company is endebted to Mr. G.S. Worner, the popular Steward of the MAY FLOWER. He deserves all the credit that can be bestowed upon him, and will make for himself a monument of good taste, beauty and invention never surpassed or ewualed on a Lake Steamer.
      Buffalo Daily Courier
      Febuary 1, 1854

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first regular trip
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William R. McNeil
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Plymouth Rock (Steamboat), 1 Jul 1854