The Mary Bell
The Queen of Lake Keuka
Hammondsport Herald, Wed., May 11, 1892
The Launching of the Mary Bell
The long anticipated event, the launching of the new steel steamer, Mary
Bell, was witnessed on Saturday last, by as many as 5000 people.
The crowd began pouring in from every direction long before noon, the
most of whom were entertained throughout the day by the inspection of
the beautiful new vessel, in her dazzling array of flags of the various
nations floating to the breeze.
Shortly after four o'clock a small party of invited guests stepped aboard
the new steamer, now the center of attention of the thousands of spectators.
Judge Hanford Strouble of Penn Yan advanced to the bow and delivered a
very pleasing address, which was attentively listened to by all within
hearing of his voice. He referred to the many deeds of valor in the world's
history enacted on board of vessels. He reviewed the history of steamboating
on Lake Keuka, dwelling particularly upon the sharp competition of the
past few years, now happily ended. Venice, he said, the theme of the poet
and the wonder of the traveler, owed its fame to its boats. The Rhine,
celebrated for its many castles, and the Hudson, famous for its historic
residences and romantic scenery, were both indebted to the boats for their
fame. Mr. Strouble struck the popular chord when he said that if we had
more men like Mr. Drake, we should have to enlarge the lake. The Halsey,
Urbana, Holmes, Lulu and West Branch constituted a magnificent
fleet, but where are they now in comparison with the Mary Bell,
the Queen of the Lake. Mr. Strouble said that the people of Penn Yan are
as much interested in this new boat as you of Hammondsport. This makes
us neighbors but one hour apart. You should be proud of this boat. Every
person on Lake Keuka would be benefitted by this enterprise, consequently
all were proud of it. In closing Judge Strouble wished success to the
man who had undertaken this enterprise and expressed confidence that he
never would be disappointed in the Mary Bell.
As soon as the speaker had finished, Mrs. H. S. Stebbins, escorted by
D. C. Bauder, stepped forward, bearing a bottle of the Pleasant Valley
Wine Company's Great Western champagne, gaily decked in a cluster of red,
white and blue ribbons, which she broke over the bows of the vessel with
"I CHRISTEN THEE, MARY BELL," and at just one minute before five o'clock
the lashings were severed, and the gallant craft started on its downward
course to the water, amid the cheers of the crowd and the screeching of
the many steamboat whistles. The flight was retarded by the cooling of
the heated grease and soft soap, with which the ways were covered, in
an unavoidable delay awaiting the arrival of the steamer Halsey, that
her crowd of passengers might see the launching, and instead of rushing
madly into the water as was anticipated, the handsome creature stuck on
her timbers after having gone about half her length. It needed considerable
persuasion to coax her from her resting place, and finally at about 7:30,
aided by the pulling of the Urbana and the vigorous working of jack screws
at the bows, she slipped into the water, where she floats as gracefully
as a swan.
The Mary Bell was built for the Lake Keuka Navigation Company by the
UNION DRY DOCK COMPANY of Buffalo, under the direction of the superintendent,
Edward Gaskin, who has grown up in the company's service and who has full
charge of their extensive ship yards in the above city. In this work he
has been ably asssisted by Henry Selway, one of their most trusted workmen,
acting in the capacity of foreman, and George Chase, a ship carpenter
of skill and exactness. The contract for the boilers and engines was sub-let
to the Cowles Engineering Company of Brooklyn, whose workmen are in charge
of their Superintendent, Mr. Lysholm, assisted by Mr. Aiken. The company
is extensive manufacturers of marine boilers and engines under their own
patents, and with their improved boilers, such as are being put into the
Mary Bell, they have double amount of heating surface with half the weight
of iron and half the amount of water, of the ordinary boilers.
THE SPEED OF THE MARY BELL, is expected to be something quite unprecedented
on any of the inland lakes in this or adjoining states. The contract calls
for 18 miles per hour, with a bonus of $2500 for every quarter of a mile
over that amount. It is quite evident from the significant glances and
winks of those in a position to know that a much higher rate of speed
than that named in the contract may be looked for, perhaps 22 miles an
hour. (Every) expense or labor is to be expended in making her not only
very fast but very fine in every other particular. SheWILL COST FROM $45,000
TO $50,000, a handsome sum indeed, which in addition to the upwards of
$100,000, which the company have invested in boats, makes Lake Keuka unrivalled
in the cost and excellence of her steamboats, as she is already known
far and wide to be the queen of inland lakes. The company proposes to
wear these boats out, and not allow them to rust out. The present early
spring service is equal to that heretofore furnished for the summer traffic
and when the excursion season opens, the arrivals and departures will
be much more frequent, running the full capacity of all the boats.
THE MARY BELL, is 150 feet long, overall, 20 feet, six inches beam, involving
the very latest principles of boat engineering. Her hull is made of steel
plates averaging one-quarter of an inch in thickness. She is furnished
with two patent circulating boilers, two triple-expansion engines, of
600 horse-power, steam steering gear and twin screws. The displacement
is 125 tons.
Hammondsport Herald , Wed., June 22, 1892
Trial Run of the Mary Bell
"What is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days."
Last Saturday was an ideal June day, as faultless as the beautiful new
steel steamer of the Lake Keuka Navigation Company, whose trial trip occurred
on that day.
The Mary Bell, whose praises have been sung far and wide since
her keel was laid, on New Year's Day, lay quietly moored at the company's
wharf in this place, decorated with the brilliant flags of many nations,
suspended from a line strung from the tops of the flagstaffs, and a beautiful
pennant of red, white and blue, bearing the name, "Mary Bell."
In her coat of pure white, from the red water-line up, this beautiful
craft need only to be seen to be admired. The interior of Georgia pine,
finished in natural wood, is in pleasing contrast with the exterior. The
wire nettings about the first and second decks, and the brass railing
about the pilot house and the directors' room, give her a very neat and
At half past eleven o'clock, with about 100 invited guests on board,
her moorings were loosed and she gracefully moved away amid the shouts
of the crowd. The Halsey preceded her by about an half an hour,
and at her side silently glided the fairy-like Madge, the private
yacht of F. N. and James A. Drake of Corning.
Contrary to general expectation the event was not made the trial speed
trip for a premium. The Cowles Engineering Company, the builders of the
boilers and machinery, was unavoidably delayed in its work, and consequently
but one boiler could be used. However, in this particular, the speed was
quite satisfactory, from the fact that with 120 pounds of steam on but
one boiler, fourteen miles an hour were easily made, with but 240 revolutions
of the engines per minute, which fact promises not less than 20 miles
an hour, with the two boilers carrying 200 pounds of steam, and the engines
turning 400 revolutions per minute—the maximum calculations of the
On board all were in the best of spirits and exhibited much enthusiasm
in the easy motion of the fine new vessel, with its many faultless appointments.
On the promenade deck at the head of the main stairway was placed a wicker
canoe upon a standard, filled with ferns and daisies presented by Mrs.
H. S. Stebbins, and amidships, suspended by white ribbons from the hurricane
deck, was an Indian canoe filled with white roses, the gift of Mrs. C.
At "Mulvaruh," the delightful home of the Boerickes, a salute of many
guns was fired, which was answered by the cannon of the Madge,
amid the waving of handkerchiefs from shore and boats.
As the Mary Bell gracefully steamed along, many manifestations
of pleasure were observed from the residents along both shores. At the
Ark a short stop was made where the new candidate for public admiration
was witnessed, with exclamations of delight from hundreds who had assembled
on the decks of the steamers Halsey and Holmes, the wharf of the Ark and
many smaller craft on every hand.
Returning, an elaborate lunch was served upon deck by Mr. Owen of the
Grove Springs House, assisted by his wife and a corps of attentive waiters.
The refreshments consisted of sandwiches, salads, cold meats, ice-cream
cake, and Great Western champagne.
At half past three o'clock, ere the happy company was aware of the near
approaching end of their pleasant journey, Hammondsport was sighted. With
the most hearty congratulations of all present to C. W. Drake, President
of the Company, and H. S. Stebbins, the Manager, and, the many expressed
wishes for the future success of the most magnificent steamer on the queen
of the inland lakes, the guests took their departure, more than pleased
with the entertainment of the day.