The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
St. Catharines Constitutional (St. Catharines, ON), January 24, 1855

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Destruction Of The Steamer Queen City!

Yesterday forenoon we were pained to learn by the following telegraph, via the Grand Trunk Line, that the steamer Queen City was burned to the water's edge at the Queen's Wharf, Toronto, on Monday evening; the Welland, Chief Justice Robinson, Mayflower, and some schooners also narrowly escaped sharing a similiar fate. This is rather a bad beginning on Lake Ontario for 1855.

Toronto, January 23 - 10 a.m.

About 9 o'clock last evening, the steamer Queen City was lying at the Queen's Wharf flames were discovered proceeding from the engine room. The captain and crew were all on board, but they speedily ascertained that all their efforts to extinguish the fire would be unavailing; and they turned their attention to saving the cargo. The steamers Chief Justice Robinson, and Welland were moored astern to the Queen, and were for some time in imminent danger; but, as quickly as possible, they were cut loose and were moved to a place of greater safety. The flames continued to spread and even extended to the wharf, so as to to cause some alarm for the safety of the Peerless, Mayflower, and some schooners moored off the other side; which, after some delay, the Queen was shoved off and suffered to drift to the eastward, where she came to contact with the ice opposite the wharf of the Northern Rail Road Company, and then burned to the water's edge.

The Queen City was owned by Mr. M.W. Browne, of Hamilton, having been purchased by him last year for the Hamilton route. She was worth about #4,000, and is said to be fully insured. She had about ten tons of goods on board, for the ports between this place and Hamilton, chiefly consisting of dry goods and groceries, only a small part of which was saved. The Queen City was built at Oswego about thirteen years ago, and was then known as the Lady Of The Lake, one of the crack boats on the waters, the honors being about equally divided between her and the Eclipse. Vessels of improved character have since been introduced, and the Lady fell gradually so low as to ply as a ferry boat from Cape Vincent to Kingston. She then fell into the hands of Mr. Browne, who ran her with considerable success, notwithstanding her age, between Hamilton and Niagara.

There is no reason to doubt that the fire was entirely the work of accident. It probably having originated among the wood in the engine room.

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January 24, 1855
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Peter Warwick
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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St. Catharines Constitutional (St. Catharines, ON), January 24, 1855