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Hudson River Day Line

the Mary Powell on the river
The Mary Powell

(Fred B. Abele Transportation History Collection
SC22662, Box 26, Folder 11a)

click image for larger view

Alfred Van Santvoord, the Alida and the Hudson River Day Line

The exodus of Drew and Vanderbilt as major players in the steamboat business provided an opportunity for smaller, independent operators to offer day-boat service between New York and Albany. 

Alfred Van Santvoord, one of the founders of the Hudson River Day Line, seized this opportunity. He bought the steamboat Alida and entered the day boat business in 1856. Another steamboat, the Armenia, owned by Capt. Isaac Smith, also ran between Albany and New York, with little interference to Van Santvoord's boat. (When the Alida was going upriver, the Armenia was going down river.)  Although independently owned, the two boats provided regular service.

Steamer Mary Powell – “Queen of the Hudson”

Most beloved of all the steamboats on the Hudson River, and perhaps the best-known American side-wheeler of the nineteenth century, was the Mary Powell. Honored as the “Queen of the Hudson” for her style and speed, she dominated the river, becoming the standard of comparison not only for other passenger vessels but also for private steam yachts.

The Mary Powell, built in 1861, sailed on the waters of the Hudson River over 55 years. For virtually her entire career, she left Kingston early in the morning, made landings at Poughkeepsie, Milton, Newburgh and Cornwall, and arrived at her pier in lower Manhattan in the late morning. For her return trip, she would leave New York at 3:30 p.m. and arrive back at Kingston in the early evening.

The Mary Powell had but two captains for most of her years of operation: Captain Absalom Anderson and his son, Captain A. Eltinge Anderson. Known as a "family boat," Captain Anderson saw to it that all passengers conducted themselves properly. If they did not, it was said they ran the risk of being put ashore at the next landing.

Letter of Captain A. Eltinge Anderson to William B. Elmendorf, June 9, 1906