Saturday, November 21, 2009

U.S. History-Transportation (3)

Topic: New York City Area: 1786-1798

Old Brooklyn ferry-house of 17... Digital ID: 801621. New York Public Library


"In 1786, the Legislature granted to Isaac Van Wyck, Talmage Hall, and John Kenny, all Columbia County men, the exclusive right "to erect, set up and carry on, and drive stage wagons between New York and Albany on the east side of the river, for a period of ten years, forbidding all opposition to them under penalty of two hundred pounds. Notwithstanding the traffic, the roads were bad, the stages were uncomfortable, and the trip fatiguing, as the passengers were routed up about three or four o'clock in the morning and traveled until nine, or later, at night, putting up at poor and ill-kept inns. The stages originally started from Cortlandt Street, but later from Broadway and Twenty-third Street; the route, of course, was over the Boston Road from that point to Kingsbridge. The distance was 159 miles. Every one who could do so traveled on horseback, as the stage was not of the kind we read of in Dickens. The steamboat and the railroad sealed the doom of the old stages.


The first hack started in New York in the year 1792, by Gabriel W. Alston. There were about 200 at the time in New York. For a carriage to Harlem, and back, three hours the price was $4; to King's Bridge, all day was $5. The price per day for a hack, driven in any direction was $5. The penalty for a hackney coachman demanding more than the legal rates, is the forfeiture of his whole fare, and a fine of $10.


A) The next bridge was built at Third Avenue by J.B. Coles, in 1795 to 1797. He was at first reimbursed by tolls collected from the passengers over it. This bridge remained in use until 1855 or 1858 when it was torn down to give place to the bridge which has just been removed. The latter was completed and opened to the public in 1867. It was very low, being only 13.2 feet in the clear above high water, with an opening on each side of the centre pier of 82 feet.

B) The Catharine ferry was first established in 1795. To distinguish it from the "Old" or Fulton ferry, it was called the "New Ferry," and ran from what was then called "New Ferry street," in Brooklyn, to the foot of Catharine street. This ferry was leased to Rodman Bowne, 1811, and continued to him and his brother by renewals until 1852, when the ferry was purchased by Cyrus P. Smith and William F. Buckley, who obtained a renewal of the lease for ten years (1853 to 1863).


A) The first stage that ran merely on the island, was started, in the year 1798, by Barnard de Klyne. He ran from Wall Street To Greenwich or "the village" which was then separate from the settlements on the south part of the island.

B) As far back as 1798, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston had received from the Legislature, as the discoverer of the new power of steam navigation, the exclusive right to use this power in all the waters within the limits of the State for twenty years, provided that within twelve months he should produce a boat, the average speed of which should not be less than four miles an hour. This he failed to do; and the grant remained in abeyance until 1803, when having made the acquaintance of Robert Fulton, in France, and aided him in some encouraging experiments, he obtained a renewal of the monopoly for the twenty years ensuing, on the condition that he and Fulton, his partner in the grant, should fulfill the required conditions, within the space of two years. Fulton enjoyed his triumphs, reaching the place of his destination in thirty-two hours, and secured the monopoly of steam navigation over the waters of new York. The Nassau commenced running on May 10, 1814.

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