Do you recognize this ship? Share what you know with us. Did it operate in Essex – if so when? When do you think this photo was taken?
Here are some comments we’ve already received that attempt to identify the ship and the location:
Real Mountie: This is the steamer Vermont, 1809. The world’s second commercial steamer and the first steamer on Lake Champlain. Sank in the Richelieu River in 1815. Owned by Champlain Transportation Company (CTC) who maintained the steamboat ferry service. [Learn more about it in this old newspaper article: The Montreal Gazette – Nov. 10, 1938.]
Dianne Lansing: Anybody recognize anything in the background?
Real Mountie: My guest would Port Henry NY as she was leaving the dock heating North
Greater Adirondack Ghost and Tour Company (Plattsburgh, NY): This is actually the “Vermont III,” launched at Shelburne, Vermont in 1903. At 263 feet long, she was the largest of the Lake Champlain steamers. Over the years, her various routes served many ports along the Lake including Plattsburgh, Essex, Port Henry, Burlington, etc. She featured 50 staterooms and could carry up to 900 passengers. Vermont III was eventually stripped to the waterline and her hull was used as a floating barge for many years. One eyewitness account reported her hull still being used as a scow along on the southern east coast for decades. What remained of her supposedly sank while under tow sometime in the 1940s / 50s.
I don’t know much about the various steam ferries that once traversed Lake Champlain, so it was very helpful to read the accounts above to help determine the exact identity of the steam ferry in the photo. I have to agree with the latter comment that this is the Vermont III because in the upper right corner of the photo it appears to state “copyright 1904” and if the original Vermont sank in 1815, then this cannot be that ship.
Yet, there had to be a Vermont II in between the original and the third, then perhaps the one in the photo is that ship? However, it is not because apparently the Vermont II had two funnels (I discovered that in the article below), and as you can see the ship in the photo only has one. So it is the Vermont III.
Learn more about this ship and steam transportation on Lake Champlain in this article shared by Real Mountie: “Picking up Steam on Lake Champlain: the Vermont III, the Ticonderoga, and the Champlain Transportation Company.”
Do you have more to share? Leave a comment!
Share Your Essex Artifacts
If you want to share your old photos of Essex (or brochures; postcards; menus; tickets; any artifact) on the blog please email us at editor [AT] essexonlakechamplain [DOT] com.
- Vintage Brochure: Visit Essex on Lake Champlain (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: View from Steamer of Essex, NY (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: St. John’s Episcopal Church (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Lake Champlain Steamboats Revisited (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Whallons Bay Painting by Barbara Irish Smith (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)