LAUNCH.- The steamer WESTERN METROPOLIS, building at the shipyard of Messrs.
Bidwell & Banta, will be launched this afternoon at 3 o'clock.
Buffalo Daily Courier
April 23, 1856
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LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER "WESTERN METROPOLIS" - The announcement of the launch of the new steamer WESTERN METROPOLIS, building at the ship-yard of Messrs.. Bidwell & Banta, on the Creek, together with the fact that the weather was warm
and pleasant, drew together a very large concourse of persons, many of whom were ladies. The shipping in the creek, the docks, the roofs of buildings in the vicinity, and in fact every available spot that would afford a view of the launch was occupied, and it was variously estimated that from five to eight thousand persons were present. Three o'clock was the hour named when the launch was to take place, but it was a little after four when all was made ready and the word given, when the vessel left the ways and glided handsomely into the water, amid the cheers and shouts of the assembled crowd. As she left the ways and when the block on her larboard, slid from under her, she careened slightly, and on coming up and showing so much of her red line another shout of triumph was given by those interested in her construction, which was joined in by all present.
As she left the ways she was christened the "WESTERN METROPOLIS," by the Rev. Mr. Southard, who broke a bottle of wine over her bow.
The WESTERN METROPOLIS is built for the Southern Michigan Railroad Company,
and will take the place of the steamer EMPIRE STATE in that line, between this city and Toledo. In her model, good judges say her equal is not to be found afloat upon any waters. She was modelled by J.W. Banta and Capt. C. Forbes, and was built under the superintendence of the latter gentleman. Mr. Forbes is well known to all interested and engaged in marine pursuits, and was for many years Agent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., in New York, and superintended the construction of several of the Company's steamers. The steamers SOUTHERN MICHIGAN, NORTHERN INDIANA, QUEEN OF THE WEST, and other of our crack steamers on the lakes, were modelled by Mr. Banta, which is sufficient evidence of that gentleman's perfect acquaintance with marine architecture and his skill as a builder.
The WESTERN METROPOLIS is 340 feet over all, 40 feet beam, and 14 feet depth of hold, and will register about 1,800 tons. When launched, she was found to draw 6 feet 5 inches by the stem, and 4 feet 6 inches by the bow, which would make her average draft of water 5 feet 5 inches and a half, which is several inches less than was allowed her by her builders, and considerably less than "knowing ones" predicted she would draw. When launched she had on board her cylinder, steam chest, bed plates, side pipes, &c. It is said that when ready for sea, she will not draw over 8 feet water. She has been built as strong and staunch as iron and wood could make her. She has five water tight bulkheads; any one of which would be sufficient to sustain her should she come in collision and be badly injured by another vessel. Her forward planking extends several feet beyond the bow, and is strongly fastened and covered with half inch boiler plate. Her bow for fifteen feet from the stem is solid deadwood, so that, should she, in a collision lose fifteen feet of her bow she could continue on her course, and reach her destination in safety. Not a single plank on her bow had to be steamed, but were all put on in their natural state. Such is her model that no two frames are alike; she has no straight sides as have the other lake steamers, but from her stem to her stern, there is a gradual increase and decrease in the swell.
Her gallows frames are made of yellow pitch pine, imported expressly from Georgia, and measures 24 inches square at the base, and 18 at the top. She is to have the engine of the EMPIRE STATE, which is one of the best on the lakes. Her boilers were made at the Buffalo Steam Engine Works. When further advanced we shall notice her more particularity, and shall then endeavor to describe her as she deserves.
Buffalo Daily Courier
April 24, 1856
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