The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Americana (Propeller), U205096, 22 Feb 1908

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      Snap-shot by News Photographer as the vessel struck the water
      in the upper left hand corner is George S. Riley, who will command the steamer.
      The passenger steamer AMERICANA that will carry a myriad of excursionists to Crystal beach next season was successfully launched at the Ganson street yards of the Buffalo Dry Dock Company yesterday afternoon at 3 o'clock. Mrs. Henry S. Fisher, wife of the general agent of the C. & B. Line, christened the boat as it started down the ways. It was estimated that more than 10,000 persons saw the boat dropped.
Early in the afternoon a steady line of men, woman and children began crossing the Michigan street bridge. At 2 o'clock they were trooping across both footpaths, while the impatient ones were trotting in the wagon road, in their anxiety to secure favored places. Elk street cars were jammed to the rails and many walked from Main street.
      They found the great steel hull resting on the ways at the east side of the slip in the Ganson street yards, with a struggling mass crowding to the very edge. Men and boys lined the roofs of box cars and nearby buildings that afforded an opportunity to peek over the high fence that surrounds the ship-building plant.
      A few minutes before 3 o'clock Mrs. Fisher mounted the platform built at the prow of the boat, carrying a magnificent bouquet of roses. She was followed by the launching party. There was not a moment's delay. A pistol cracked; the last blocks were knocked away, and as the hull started Mrs. Fisher swung a bottle of champagne, encased in ribbon, and the AMERICANA lunged down the ways with wine trickling down her bow.
      Superintendent Edward N. Smith, Jr., of the Buffalo Dry Dock Company, General Agent Fisher and others on the platform were drenched with the christening fluid. The bottle was squarely broken in the middle, leaving enough of the neck intact so that it can be mounted and used as a vase.
The vessel slid down the sideways and rocked back and forth at startling angles after hitting the water. After careening about for a time she rested and was towed out to have her engines installed. Following the launching refreshments were served and souvenir canes bearing pennants were distributed to the invited guests. General Agent Fisher and Manager H. B. Rogers of the Lake Erie Excursion Company, and Superintendent Edward N. Smith, Jr., of the Buffalo Dry Dock Company, were showered with congratulations upon the success of the launching.
      Among those in the launching party were Frank E. Kirby of new York, one of the most noted marine designers of the country, who designed the AMERICANA; Robert Logan of the American Shipbuilding Company's Cleveland plant; Captain Hugh McAlpin; E. T. Evens, vice-president, and James Cary Evens, general manager of the Anchor Line. George W. Smith, general manager of the Seneca Transportation Company; Captain George C. Riley, who will bring out the new boat; Captain J. H. Brown; Harvey L. Brown; Col. Francis G. Ward; United States Judge John R. Hazel; Adolph Rebadow, Street Commissioner; Thomas W. Kennedy; George A. Ricker; J. H. Stadlinger; H. L. Bryant, Fire Commissioner Russell H. Potter; Fire Chief, Bernard J. McConnell; Superintendent of Police, Regan; Dr. L. M. Waugh; Benjamin L. Cowles, the officials of the Lake Erie Excursion Company, many women and others.
      As the boat struck the water the whistles in the vicinity set up a demonstration.
The directors of the Lake Erie Excursion Company selected the name AMERICANA from a collection of 45,750 names submitted in a response to advertisements calling for suggestions. So widespread was the interest in the launching of the boat that suggestions for a name came from such widely separated parts of the country as Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Canada.
The name was selected by the Board of Directors without knowing the names of the persons submitting names. E. P. Peugeot, 10 Brown Building, Buffalo, sent in the winning name. The second choice was UNITED SHORES, sent in by E. R. Miller, of 414 Hoyt street, and the third choice was GENERAL JOY, sent in by W. H. Adams Jr., of 269 Summit avenue. CRYSTALINE was sent in by 2763 persons. CRYSTABELL by 2076 and CRYSTALIA by 1949. There were 4446 other combinations of the name CRYSTAL. One person submitted 285 names. The longest name was SCHIMMELPENNICK, and the shortest, IT.
      The new boat has a length over all of 216 feet, while the length between perpendiculars is 203 feet. The moulded beam of the hull is 45 feet while the extreme beam over guards is 56 feet. The AMERICANA is being built with a capacity of 4,000 persons.
The management announced yesterday afternoon that the AMERICANA will be commanded by Capt. G. S. Riley of Buffalo and that William Stern of West Park, O., will be the engineer. The other officers have not yet been appointed. The boat will be equipped with a triple expansion engine, two Scotch boilers for 180 pounds steam pressure and induced hot draft. In every detail she will be a complete, commodious and handsome excursion steamer. The boat will be ready with the opening of the excursion season.
      Solid hand-carved mahogany will adorn the cabins when the boat makes her first trip and the ceilings of all decks will be decorated by hand painted designs. The finish of the dining room and buffet will be mahogany and the equipment will be complete. A feature that will be appreciated by excursionists will be a dancing deck upon which 20 couples may dance with comfort. The deck will have a bandstand and a sounding board will convey the music to other decks.
      Steel trimming tanks will be arranged in the hull of the boat so that the vessel will not list, even though the passengers are arrayed along the rails on one side. The AMERICANA will be absolutely unsinkable, being divided into five watertight compartments by steel bulkheads.
      Buffalo Sunday Morning News
      Sunday, February 23, 1908

Steam screw AMERICANA. U. S. No. 205096. Of 1,009 tons gross; 558 tons net. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1908. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 203.0 x 45.0 x 15.8 Steel built. Passenger service. Crew of 21. Of 1,120 indicated horsepower.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1911

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launch, Buffalo
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Americana (Propeller), U205096, 22 Feb 1908