The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Plymouth Rock (Steamboat), 3 Jul 1854

Full Text

Our citizens have, no doubt, been aware for some time, that two immense steamers were building at this port, destined to run in connection with the New York Central and Michigan Central Railroads. They are named respectively as above, and as they are now nearly ready for active service, we took occasion on Saturday afternoon to pay them a visit for the purpose of inspecting their appointments. We were not aware that so great a treat was in store for us, and considerably distrust our abilities to do them justice; nevertheless, having by the kindness of Wm. M. Dorr, been furnished with every facility for "taking notes," we herewith present to all those interested in our lake marine, "and to the public generally," the result of our observations. As the two were constructed after the same model -- are of the same length, breadth, capacity and power, and as their internal and external arrangements are precisely similar, a description of one will suffice for both.
      The PLYMOUTH ROCK and WESTERN WORLD were designed and built by Mr. John English, under the supervision of Isaac Newton, and for beauty of model, safety and strength are far superior to anything ever before seen upon the inland waters of the globe. Nothing has been neglected which could add in the slightest degree to their safety. The timbers of the hull are crossed and re-crossed, bolted and re-bolted until they present a solid mass of wood and iron. The hold is divided into four compartments by water-tight bulkheads to prevent the possibility of sinking. Wherever afloat these splendid monuments of his industry and skill, the name of Mr. English will be as familiar as a "household word." Length 345 feet ; breadth of beam 45 feet; overall 72 feet ; depth of hold 15 feet ; tonnage - builder's measurement - 2200 tons. The engines are from the celebrated "Allaire Works," New York, and are unusually magnificent in style and elaborate in finish.
      Diameter of cylinders . . . . . . . . . 81 inches
      Length of stroke . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 feet
      Diameter of wheels . . . . . . . . . . 38 feet
      Length of buckets . . . . . . . . . . . 11 feet
      Breadth of buckets . . . . . . . . . . 22 inches
      Horse power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,500
The joiner work is from the hands of Messrs. C.C. Crampton & Brothers, of New York, and is most splendidly executed. It is impossible for us to give a detailed description of their undertaking. Suffice it that the designs are at once more elegant, chaste, and elaborate than any heretofore seen on the lakes, which is saying a great deal, but as all will allow, we think not too much. The cabin accommodations are for 800 passengers, while as many more can find room in the steerage. In describing the internal arrangements, as a matter of convenience, as well as taste, we shall commence with
The Kitchen -- This is situated on the main deck, larboard side, forward of the wheel by the middle gangway. Adjoining is a large ice-house and refrigerators for the purpose of keeping meats, vegetables, &c., perfectly fresh. The kitchen proper is divided into two departments, one of which is exclusively the pastry department. The whole is airy, neat and convenient -- furnished with water by pipes leading from a reservoir on the upper deck, so that with the assistance of a small hose all the boilers in the furnace can be filled in a few moments.
Alongside of the cooking stove or furnace is an oven of huge dimensions and novel structure, the invention of Mr. Doty. It is calculated for boiling meats and baking pastry, for both of which purposes it will suit admirably. A batch of nearly 100 pies can be baked with ease in it at once. A private passage leads from the kitchen, which, after descending a flight of winding stairs, opens into the pantry. Here every convenience is to be found that ingenuity could suggest. Pipes from the kitchen afford abundance of water at temperatures varying from icy coldness to boiling hot. The dishes are all of the most costly material and elegant design, manufactured in Europe expressly for these boats; and the different arrangements, so as to -? ? --damaged type, bad line-- ? ? - tact and experience. From the pantry a trap-door opens into a cellar, (a cellar in a steamboat - think of that !) where butter, &c., are kept for the table. Another door opens out of the pantry into.
      THE DINING SALOON, which is on the lower deck aft, and is 108 feet in length. Here are tale accommodations for 200 guests, with every luxury surrounding which imagination can desire. On the starboard side forward is a door opening out of the saloon into the gentlemen's wash-room, which is conveniently and elegantly fitted up with marble basins, stands, &c., supplied with water by pipes from the upper deck the same as the kitchen. Between the wash-room and the pantry is the
      SILVER ROOM, or the place where the plate belonging to the boat is kept. This plate was manufactured in England expressly for these boats, and is the most extensive and beautiful we ever beheld. The whole service is of solid silver, and cost within a trifle of fifty thousand dollars for each set. Included in each service are twenty-four massive candelabra. The epun or fruit stand is a most magnificent article of workmanship, and is well worthy a visit. It represents a tree with spreading branches, around which grape vines are twining. In the branches sits a squirrel quietly munching some rare forest dainty, while at the base, a shepherd boy, and his dog are watching him at his noonday meal, and anxiously contriving how to effect his capture.
      About midway on the starboard side of the dining saloon, a flight of stairs leads to the main deck, and quite aft another flight leads up into
      THE LADIES' SALOON, situated on the main deck and directly over the dining saloon. On each side of this saloon are eight state rooms, sixteen in all, with one double and two single beds in each, and surrounded by drapery of the most beautiful description. The floors are carpeted with velvet tapestry, the furniture is of rosewood, elaborately carved and finished. Six large lounges with numerous chairs of the same material, upholstered with the finest satin; mirrors in which unrivalled beauty may behold her charms, fringed curtains of strange device and elegant design, and burnished chandeliers give to this apartment a dreamy luxuriousness from which one has no very particular desire to emerge.
      THE AFTER SALOON, on the second deck, is one hundred and twenty feet in length and eighteen feet in width, and together with the FORWARD SALOON extends the whole length of the boat. This latter saloon is, in length, one hundred and forty feet. Both are very high, spacious and airy -- arched overhead, and beautifully carved and finished with designs in relief. State rooms extend the whole length on each side, furnished in the most costly manner. Through a huge pane of glass in the after part of this saloon, a view of the workings of the monster engine is obtained. The sofas, lounges, tete-a-tetes, chairs, &c., are of rosewood, upholstered with satin. Each boat has two superb chairs of the style used on board the MAYFLOWER by our Pilgrim fathers.
      The BRIDAL ROOM of which there are two on each boat, are furnished with patent spring mattresses 5 by 7 feet. These rooms are curtained and draperies in the most magnificent style, and surrounded with mirrors. Adjoining these are single state rooms with double beds furnished in keeping with the rest of the appointments. Each state room is furnished with a marble wash bowl, and supplied with water by merely touching a spring connected with it. The whole of these arrangements for introducing into the various parts of the boat are the result of the ingenuity of Mr. G. S. Wormer, Steward of the WESTERN WORLD. The Captain's state room is forward of the upper saloon directly under the wheel house and is fitted up in excellent taste. The wheels-mens are provided with rooms on the upper deck adjoining the wheel house. On the larboard side forward of the wheel and directly over the kitchen is the officer's mess room. Beside this there are separate mess rooms for the servants and for the firemen and deck hands, so that none save the passengers are admitted to the tables in the dining saloon.
      On the starboard side of the main deck forward of the engine, are separate rooms for the 1st, 2d and 3d engineers. On the opposite side are rooms for clerks, stewards, &c. The Porter's room is on the same side forward. Bell wires leading from the wheel house and the Captain's office to this room enables the porter to be summoned at any moment. The Captain's office is abaft the engine on the main deck, immediately in front of the ladies' saloon, a very convenient and pleasant location. The engine room is fitted up with great taste, and is furnished with clocks, regulators, and all the modern improvements for regulating the machinery. Above and in front of the engine is a crank indicator, the invention of Mr. G.S, Wormer, by which the engineer may know at a glance the condition of the crank. The boilers are three in number, provided with all the necessary improvements to secure safety, and are quite of sufficient capacity to furnish any quantity of steam for the working of the engine. Each boat is supplied with 1,500 of Ray & Polletts patent Life Preservers.
      For simplicity and completeness of arrangement, and admirableness of adaptation of everything for its appropriate purpose, -- for richness and ingenuity of furnishing, and for beauty of finish, we can truly say that we never beheld anything at all approachable, and think it will be a long time indeed before any attempt is made to equal them on these waters. The furniture is from the extensive establishment of Messrs. Hersee & Timmerman of this city, and John White, of Gold street, New York. The painting and decorating is by Mr. James Smith, a well known Buffalo artist. The upholstery by Messrs. Cameron & McKay. The carpets were furnished by Mr. John Van Gaasbach, of Albany.
      We give the names of the officers as follows:
PLYMOUTH ROCK -- Capt. Geo. E. Willoughby; Chief Mate, Mr. Shook; 2d. Mr. Black; Chief Engineer, Mr. Hoover; 2d engineer, Mr. Sturges; Steward, Mr. Wm. N. Doty, late of the steamer TROY , on the North River and steamship FRANKLIN, of the New York & Harve Line. Mr. Barker is to have charge of the papers, and will be happy to settle with all who choose to call at the Captain's office.
      WESTERN WORLD -- Capt. C.C. Stannard; Chief Mate, Wm. McKay; 2d Mate, Mr. Power; Chief Engineer, Mr. Laurence; 2d engineer, Mr. Rockafellow; Steward, G.S. Wormer; Clerk, Mr. Noble. All, or nearly all of these gentlemen are too well known on the lakes to need commendation. We venture to predict that any one making a trip with them will be glad of the opportunity of doing so again; and that the PLYMOUTH ROCK and WESTERN WORLD, under their management, will acquire and maintain a reputation for speed, comfort and safety equalled only by their unparalleled magnificence.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Monday, July 3, 1854

Media Type:
Item Type:
building, Buffalo
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.

Plymouth Rock (Steamboat), 3 Jul 1854