Albany and the Hudson River Daylines

Albany was removed from the regular Dayline route in 1947.

The last jewel in the crown was the “Alexander Hamilton” which became part of the New York Circle Line fleet, touring NYC harbor and traveling north part way up the Hudson, until a fire in the 1970s.

Robert Fulton successfully sailed his first steamboat “The North River Steamboat” (A/K/A “The Clermont”) in 1807.

By 1812 his North River Company (a/k/a the Hudson River) was operating 3 ships with regular schedules between New York and Albany. Competition developed and by 1822 the Hudson River Line was created.

We estimate that by 1850 there were at least 8 lines or individual ships you could use to book a trip to New York City.

After the Civil War came the golden age of Hudson River steamships. Two dominate lines emerged – the Hudson River and the People’s Line. Ships turned into floating palaces, with multiple restaurants, entertainment, promenade decks, attentive service.

The legendary ships in the period between 1870 and early 1900 were the “Daniel Drew”, “Dean Richmond”, “Hendrick Hudson”, “The Adirondack”, “The Berkshire”, “The Peter Stuyvesant”, “The DeWitt Clinton” and “The New York”. The People’s Night Line grew in popularity into the early 1930s.

The iconic ticket office of the Day Line was built in the early 1900s on Broadway. Mr. Elmendorf, the ticket master, was a legendary figure in downtown for decades.

The Hudson Navigation Co. invested in major docking and sheds in Steamboat Square (an area for passenger boat landings from the early 1800s) in 1918.

But ultimately the proliferation of the automobile, better roads, and improvements in railroads and better amenities killed the Hudson River steamship lines.

Copyright 2021 Julie O’Connor

The First Half Moon Replica and the Albany Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909

In fall 1909 there was a huge celebration in New York State, from New York City up the Hudson Valley to Troy and Cohoes to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River and the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s invention of the steamboat.


The Celebration was authorized by the NYS Legislature and almost a million dollars budgeted. It had several purposes. The first was to show off; to market the coming of age of New York State, and New York City in particular – we wanted the world to take notice of what an economic and cultural powerhouse we had become. The second was a bit more nuanced. During the last part of the previous century New York State , especially New York City and the towns and cities along the Hudson, had been flooded with immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. The event was to be a great lesson in the history and development of the Empire State, and would provide instruction for the “foreign-born population who may not be as attuned to our successes as the “native population.” It was showcase for American national identity and pride.

It  was designed to be a glorious excess of history, patriotism and pageantry, so over the top that no one could ignore. The Albany event included several parades, religious services, fireworks, ceremonies, concerts, speeches and historical exhibits. Commemorative medals were struck and a special U.S. postage stamp issued. Albany participated with gusto. it was awash in festivities, public and private. Patriotic bunting in red, white and blue festooned every building in Downtown, and when it looked like there was no more room, more bunting was added. Some buildings were outlined with electric incandescent lights. Over 70,000 visitors thronged the City. Business boomed for hotels, restaurants and merchants.



zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz17814555_1281455108569415_34704850139630384_oThe centerpiece of the celebration was a naval parade, including the Hudson River Navigation Co. and People’s Line Dayliners and Night Boats, private yachts, military torpedo boats, tugs, a U.S. Coast Guard revenue cutter – almost anything that could float its way from the City up the River. There were ships from England, Germany and France.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz17814475_1281456765235916_3457799But the stars of the flotilla were two replica ships. One, a replica of Robert Fulton’s “Clermont”, the first successful steamboat in the world. The naval parade traveled from New York City to Albany and then to Troy, paying homage to the first Clermont trip from New York City to Albany in 1807.


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz17795785_1281456868569239_4696420318525311707_nThe other was the first replica of the “Half Moon”, the ship in which Hudson traveled up the River to discover Albany in 1609. (Yes, there was another Half Moon replica before that with which we are familiar today.) While the Clermont was a wonderful model, constructed by the Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., the Half Moon was special.


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz17799479_1281460441902215_1131125809765460002_nIt was a gift from the Netherlands, built in a shipyard in Amsterdam, from ancient plans for a sister ship of the original 1609 Half Moon.





zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz17458269_1281458525235740_78885661024576745When the naval parade sailed to Albany it landed at Riverside Park. The small park was located just below Madison Ave., overlooking the River near Westerlo St. It was built in 1903 to serve the immigrant (mostly Jewish and Italian) populations crammed in tenement houses overflowing the South End. For the Celebration, a temporary triumphal arch was constructed and the crews of the Half Moon and Clermont were greeted with great pomp and circumstance. From there, the major parade of the event wound its way through the South End, past the Governor’s Mansion, and up and over to Arbor Hill and then down to Clinton Ave., across N. Pearl and up to Washington Ave. by the Capitol. After visiting Albany the naval parade proceeded to Troy, where the festivities continued there and into Cohoes.


The Hudson Fulton celebration was declared a resounding a success. Over 50 years later, my Gram still had vivid memories: a brilliant city wrapped in electric lights; the flotilla sailing up the River; astonishment that such a small boat as the Half Moon could have carried men across the Atlantic; large crowds thronging the streets, magical parade floats and standing on the Capitol steps with thousands of other Albany school children as part of the ceremonies.

But now we come to the sad part. Or what we call “why we can’t have nice things”

The replica of the Clermont was purchased by the Hudson River Navigation Co., owners of the “Day Line”, and initially moored as an attraction in New York harbor. It was then moved by the company to Poughkeepsie to be an upstate floating museum of sorts. Over time the fortunes of the company declined; there was one more move to Kingston Point to the picnic grounds owned by the Day Line and finally the Clermont was sold for scrap in the mid-1930s.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz17522833_1281463308568595_5806845155715114619_nThe story of Half Moon is similar. After the Celebration, the Half Moon was towed to Palisades Interstate Park near Bear Mountain, and moored in the Popolopen Creek as a tourist attraction. From there she went to Roundout Point near Kingston. At the behest of the Mayor of Cohoes, she traveled farther upriver. A small area called East Side Park was created just south of the Van Schaick Mansion (about near the area where Hudson finally gave up his search for a Northwest Passage).. Attempts to raise funds for her preservation were unsuccessful, there were few visitors, and she was beset by vandals and fires. The Half Moon became a “lonely hulk” and was finally destroyed by fire in 1932







Copyright 2021 Julie O’Connor