The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
The Canal Packets
Utica Daily Gazette, 18 Apr 1845

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The Canal Packets. - We advise everyone, who has not already, to take a look at some one of the larger packet boats built within the last two years to ply on the canal between this place and Syracuse. Those who have not been through these "hundred footers," have no conception of the great advance which has been made to the comfort and style of canal traveling.

     The cabins are not only so high that a six footer can walk through them erect, with his hat on, but are provided with ventilators, which secure a constant supply of fresh air in the usually crowded apartment. In finishing and furnishing the cabins nothing has been omitted that can add to their appearance or to the convenience of passengers.

The seats are well cushioned and the ladies' saloons carpeted, and provided with every needful appliance. At this time, the boats, having been freshly painted, repaired and furnished, are looking their best, and it is an effort to resist the inclination to take a trip in them, for the pleasure of the thing along. Among other improvements, we noticed, in the Onondaga. that a snug room has been provided at the end of the gentleman's cabin, which in unpleasant weather on deck, will answer for those passengers who rely upon that great resource in canal traveling, smoking.

The great discomfort in traveling on the canals is in the sleeping. The introduction of ventilators has greatly improved this, although we confess it still requires a person of remarkably good nerves and insensible to snoring and not particular as to bed fellows, to make a comfortable night aboard a packet boat.

The best that can be said of it is , that there is no danger of being blown up, burnt or wrecked. No disagreeables, however, attach today traveling on the boats. With good company, or a good book, sixty or eighty miles can be accomplished in the pleasantest possible manner. We especially commend the notice of those who wish to make a short trip for pleasure, the day line between here and Syracuse. This leaves at six in the morning and reaches Syracuse at the same hour in the afternoon. The distance is 61 miles, and the fare, including meals, is but $1.50!

From Syracuse, west, there are connecting lines of excellent boats to Rochester and Buffalo. One of the boats from Syracuse is commanded by Capt. J. B. Cole, of this city, and those who are acquainted with him can appreciate the good fortune for happening to come right for taking his boat. At Syracuse also another route offers which has been rapidly gaining in popularity during the last few years. Two daily lines of packets run from Syracuse to Oswego, reaching the latter place in time for the steamboats on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence.

This is now the fashionable route to the Falls, and is generally adopted by travelers, either on their way to or from the great point of attraction.

We subjoin a list of the canal packets running from this city, east and west, with the names of their respective commanders.


8 A.M. and 7 P.M.

Utica, Capt. Dykeman; Montgomery, Brown; Schenectady, Capt. Rankins; Saratoga, Capt. Barney; Herkimer, Capt. Harter.


4 P.M. and 6 A.M.

Onondaga. Capt. Myers; Oneida, Capt. Green; Syracuse, Capt. Tingley; Utica, Capt. Brandt.

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Date of Publication:
18 Apr 1845
Richard Palmer Collection
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  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 43.10979 Longitude: -76.43105
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
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The Canal Packets