The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), July 14, 1872

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A NEW EXCURSION CRAFT. - The Harbor Tug Company have just become the purchasers of a craft 120 feet long and 25 feet beam, which is being fitted for day and evening parties and will be towed by a fast tug. Her decks the whole length will have a smooth surface, surrounded by high bulwarks, and well calculated for those desirous of tripping the light fantastic of an evening without fear of explosions or the disagreeable noise or heat from steam. Her name is the General Burnside.

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Here's one of the more unusual uses for a barge. There were a number of "General Burnside"s - I believe this one is US#37572, built at Saginaw, Michigan. I've not the slightest idea what ever happened to her or if this "party barge" idea worked, but I think it's a big plus to be able to go on a date without fear of boiler explosions.
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July 14, 1872
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Dave Swayze
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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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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), July 14, 1872