Fifty-Five Years Ago This City
Wanted Ferry Service Improved
Minutes of Council Meetings of Over Half a Century Demonstrate
How Truly History Repeats Itself in Municipal Affairs in This City.
History repeats itself, municipally as well as otherwise. From minutes in the city clerk's office of the year 1854, when Ogdensburg was still a village, it would seem that the people were ambitious for improving ferry service then as they appear to be today. An advertisement appears stating that bids would be received for a steam ferry boat not inferior to the "O.S. Howard" or the "Gleanor," to be kept exclusively for ferrying and be able to make round trips every half hour from 6 a.m. to one hour after sunset.
The stipulated fares were to be six cents for persons over twelve years o age; under twelve, three cents, but no family was to be charged over 50 cents. The charge for a double team, wagon and load was 50 cents. Charles Lyon and isaac Plumb both put in bids, that of the latter being accepted for one year. The following year Charles Lyon received the contract. he was to run his boat from a dock built by lessee at the foot of State street. He paid $50 for the year's license.
That year the village trustees were desirous of improvement. They wanted a boat 100 feet long, with double end for convenience driving on and off because of such boar saving time in not having to turn around. They also discussed lengthening the license period to ten year.s They evidently didn't succeed in getting the improved boat as for several years following L.R. Plumb was given the license at $100 for one year terms.
In 1857 Sylvester Gilbert was village president, and in his annual report he has references to ferry matters which would hardly suggest the passage of 52 years. He says the matter of the ferry between here and Prescott had occupied much of the time and attention of the president and the members of the Board. One sound, safe ferry of suitable size and power and accommodation for the wants of this important point on the St. Lawrence should be secured, writes the chief executive of that particular period.
He says that the Board, as yet, has granted no license after April 1st, when the lease to Charles Lyon will expire. Prescott, he explained, was about to change control of ferry matters on that side to Parliament, and, h added, should they be successful, "I have no doubts but that a proper ferry can be established under the control of the Ogdensburg Board of Trustees and the Prescott Town Council."
Looking over the minutes of several of the years following this municipal effort it seems that the Board continued to license the steamer "O.S. Howard," the committee reporting it preferable to the "Gleanor."