On Board Steamer Baltic
Cleveland, June 30 1847
We reached Cleveland about 7 P.M. The sun was inking in the western sky, (of course,) and its rays being thrown upon the side of the city next to us, gave it a favorable appearance -- though Cleveland does not show to good advantage from the water.
After making fast to the dock, we went up town and took a rapid survey. Below the "hill," down by the river, Cleveland presents a most miserable appearance. The ground is rough and uneven -- the buildings generally old and crazy, though we noticed some new erections of a large and substantial character, principally warehouses. But aftger we got up the ascent, and a little out of the business streets, we found "a love of a place" -- fine broad avenues, beautifully ornamented with trees, and shrubbery -- tasteful dwellings, and the evidences of improved horticulture every where abounding, and of the prevalence of a rural taste, which leads to the adornment of home, the aggregate of which comprises the beautiful in city life. At little distances from the business streets there are beautiful country seats and villages, of which more anon, when a little leisure comes before us.
We found the harbor full of shipping, loading, or with their cargoes on, waiting for auspicious gales to waft them with the rich products of Ohio to Buffalo. We went into a few warehouses, and were surprised at the amount of produce, and especially of flour, yet in store, waiting shipment.-- Cleveland has already sent forward a million of bbls. this spring, besides an unprecedented amount of wheat and corn. But her warehouses now resemble those of Buffalo, and the long and high ranges of barrels show that there is to be but little let up in her commerce this season. The harvest is now near at hand, when another crop will be added to her resources, though the farmers have made so well from the high prices which have prevailed for a few months past, that they have become independent, and will not be in a hurry to bring out this year's harvest, unless prices shall again advance beyond the present rates.
We noticed the erection of two magnificent hotels, in Cleveland, since last we were there -- the "Weddell House," and the "New England House." The former is a magnificent structure, at the corner of Main and Bank streets -- pleasantly located, and somewhat resembles our "Mansion." the New England is below the Hill, and is intended, we should judge, more for the commercial business.
Cleveland is going ahead. it presents on every hand the evidences of enterprise and prosperity. There is a newness, a life, and an activity visible which tells well for the character of her citizens and for her future prospect and advancement.
We put out from Cleveland about half past 8, and turning her head westward, the Baltic was soon in motion. After clearing away the "tea things," the band came into the cabin, and cotillions were formed, and the evening was danced away to the numerous enjoyment of the participants. These large and long upper deck cabins are a great invention, and steamboat-goers owe a debt of gratitude to the genius who first brought them into being. Without these, how dull, tedious and monotonous would drag away the hours of steamboat pilgrimage. For, go as fast as you may, your boat may walk the water on if she scorned to touch, ennui will come to those who are accustomed to the activity and change of shore life. Thanks, then, to the investor of dancing cabins. The music of the dancers had not died away, when we were found rapidly sleeping in our berth, to awake this (Thursday) morning, July 1, to look out upon a most magnificent scene.
We were just entering Detroit River. The broad expanse of Lake Erie was hovering in upon every side, as the shores approached each other, to form the narrow channel of the river. The sun was just uprising from, to us, the western sky -- in the exact direction where we last saw it sinking to his nightly repose. But we suppose it was not the world, but our ideas of locality which had been reversed during the night. The face of the waters were dotted with white sails -- the green forests of the islands and of the shores on either hand presented a most lovely morning view. The huge wings of the old wind-mill -- antique relic of the French Canadians -- were still, for there was no breeze to move them. The river was of a glassy smoothness -- on the left, far in the distance, was La Plaisance Bay -- on the right was the village of Amherstburgh or Malden. We had passed, during the night, however, some beautiful lake scenery, which is to be found among the islands.
We made Detroit about half past six o'clock, having passed a large number of schooners in the river, bound up.
There is now a long stretch before us. After entering upon River St. Clair, we do not touch again until we reach Mackinaw, unless it be upon the Flats, over which we are in hopes to pass without lighters.