|"New Island Wanderer," Thousand Island Steamboat Co., 1901.|
The Cortland Democrat, Friday, July 24, 1891.
FROM THE THOUSAND ISLANDS.
A Reporter of the Democrat Takes an Outing—Graphic Description of Scenery—Condition of Crops, etc.
ALEXANDRIA BAY, N. Y., River St. Lawrence, July 19, 1891.
As "all roads lead to Rome," likewise the many branch lines of the widely diversified Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg railroad system terminate at Clayton from which point six steamers constantly run to Alexandria Bay and intermediate outing islands, where the mind's eye is ever treated to the realistic and not the overdrawn story of ardent friends of some railroad or other corporate monopoly.
Many Cortland people were embarked for this beautiful section on the morning of July 16, inst. Two special R. W. & O. day coaches were thoughtfully provided by the efficient management of the E. C. & N., and the disagreeable feature, transferring, of a journey avoided. The train was late out of Cortland but arrived in Camden on schedule time where a delay of thirty-nine minutes was enjoined upon the party in addition to the regular time allotted for dinner—one hour. Diversity in this delay was pleasingly supplied in a foot race between two noted sprinters of Cortland, viz: C. W. S. and E. E. R. with the versatile W. A. Y. as starter, and E. H. B. timer. After some discussion as to preliminary and adjustment the word was given, but owing to the failure of the former mentioned fleet foot the honors were accorded to E. E. R.
Nothing of importance occurred prior to arrival at Richland transfer and attention was directed to viewing the fleeting panorama of enchanting scenery. A short delay in transfer of vast quantity of mail and express to the main line at this point sufficed to convince an onlooker that the great R. W. & O. system was attempting to handle far too large a freight and passenger traffic for a single track road. Although remarkable time is made between stops, the unloading and taking on of freight causes much delay and annoyance to passengers.
From Cazenovia to within twenty miles of Clayton on the shores of the St. Lawrence the prospect of the hay, grain and root crops for the present year is most discouraging. Many fields of vast acreage will not pay the expense of cutting and gathering, still brawny arms were swinging the old time scythe or Mooley grain cradle in a manner as only one can when pressed by pending danger, whether real or imaginative, but the reality is no delusion in this vicinity. Everywhere each tiny tuft of grass is being gathered as worth its weight in gold. The shortage is measurably due to the absence of rain. Much rock abounding throughout this belt of country, much and frequent rain is required.
Many Cortland county agriculturalists are fearful that want will stare them in the face before the approach of the seed time of '92, yet from a personal observation I have no hesitancy in assuring all such that there is not a resident of the productive central county of Cortland who does not have just reason to be thankful that their lot is cast in a locality, where year after year the closing harvest witnesses full granaries of provisions for the family consumption during the period mother earth is covered with the snowy mantle. Residents of south Cortland have for all time been the handy tillers of stony soil but if they were to locate in the vicinity of Manville, Pierrepont Manor or even Orleans corners, where the rocks, larger than two men could move, are nearly as plentiful as ordinary cobbles, while flat-top rocks render useless any benefit of hundreds of acres, with here and there small clumps of grass or growing crops have the appearance of miniature oasis in some desert, they would think their lives had been cast in waste places.
The last delay or transfer by rail is occasioned at Philadelphia when the excursion was speedily whirled to Clayton, about an hour and a half late. The river boats, T. F. Maynard and Jessie Bain, were in waiting to convey the party to Alexandria Bay, a most delightful ride of 12 miles, which furnishes a most magnificent view of Round Island, Grenell Island, Thousand Island Park, Fine View. Central Park, Point Vivian and Alexandria Bay with the numerous pleasant dwellings, cottages and magnificent hotels, which are rendered strikingly pleasing to the eye through elaborate illuminations both by electricity and lanterns of various colors harmoniously arranged. Stops are made at all these points and many others upon signals displayed.
A number of the Cortland party disembarked at Fine View, just below Thousand Island Park, the remaining excursionists continued to the Bay, the terminal of the excursion proper and central point among the myriad of outings.
Alexandria Bay is a decidedly well laid out village, amply provided with pleasant drives, walks and all conveniences in keeping with the times. Ample accommodations may be obtained either at the One Thousand Island, Crossman, St. Lawrence, Marsden or Bay View hotels, the two former being the highest priced for board, while at the last three the table and lodging service is without fault and an army of clerks and other attendants promptly supply any order of guests, the rate being $2 per day. St. Lawrence hotel conducted by Fred D. Howland is situate on Water street which extends from the northeast to the southwest bay, facing the east, surrounded by plentiful shade, assuring cool rooms and great comfort to patrons of the house. It is situate [sic] but a minute's walk from the dock of all the Island boats as well as the line boats to Toronto, Montreal or other points along the river and lakes. Names of many Central New York people are inscribed upon the pages of the register.
Though situate upon main line there are numerous instances where steps and bridges are erected over solid rock which lies in the route of the sidewalks. Private residences and cottages are not a variety in being erected upon solid foundations of rock the structures being built from handsome face material taken from the site of the lot. Earth is carted upon this natural foundation and trees, plants and all essentials in the foundation of beautiful grounds grow in profusion. A large four-story school building is situate upon an elevation of ground a short distance from the business portion of the Bay. Means of worship are supplied in the ample edifices of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal and Reformed churches.
Constant pleasure trips may be enjoyed to any point of interest. One of the most enjoyable being the fifty-mile trip among the principal islands made by the [New] Island Wanderer at 8 A. M. and 2:15 for the expenditure of 50 cents, passing all the famous resorts, touching at Clayton, then crossing and touching at Oananoque on the Canadian shore, thence down through the Canadian channel, Echo Point, where the sounding of the whistle is distinctly returned as clearly as though made from an opposition craft, whether the blast be heavy, light or continuous sounding in either degree. Many of the party have had outings upon the fishing fields but up to date no returns have been filed, owing, doubtless, to the variance of localities selected.
A large party of Cortland and other people were bitterly disappointed this morning upon the contemplated trip by boat to Montreal, returning via the Grand Trunk railway. Owing to an excursion of the National Educational Association from Toronto overloading the boat to such an extent that nearly one hundred people were denied passage at Kingston and other points, and fully seventy people voluntarily left the boat at the Alexandria Bay dock, owing to the suffocating congregation of humanity and proceeded to Montreal by rail. The party expect to leave at 7:05 A. M. and should reach Montreal at 6:30 P. M.
There is a remarkable absence of fakers about the Bay, although on Thursday evening a well-known face to several late arrivals, was seen posing in a carriage, attired in the costume of a western cowboy who successfully worked the dummy watch racket upon several, who, though naturally tight-fisted, imagined they saw hidden bargain in the gold chain with watch attached, at a price ranging from $8.50 to $2. Upwards of $150 was taken from the Bay people within an hour and the faker faded. One speculative resident, who reads the papers, had the frozen face to approach the dealer and handing him a copy of the paper containing an account of his workings in Watertown, asked if it should be read. The faker passed out a sum of money and the dealer continued.
MONTREAL, P. Q., July 20, 1891.
That "there is no great loss without some small gain" was practically demonstrated in the experience of the Cortland party, who were disappointed in obtaining passage over the route of the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co., Saturday, 18th inst., from Alex. Bay to this metropolitan city of the provinces. Saturday's overloaded boat afforded little comfort, beside, the trip was made through the canal constructed around the rapids thus destroying the grandeur of the outing.
Sunday morning, however, two boats were dispatched and the Cortland party, consisting of Captain and Mrs. Geo. L. Warren and Miss Lelia Warren, Dr. and Mrs. Henry T. Dana, Major and Mrs. Aaron Sager, the DEMOCRAT representative and Mrs. George W. Fisher and daughter Edith, of Cortland, N. Y., and S. C. Reynolds and wife, S. C. Gooding and wife, of Groton, N. Y., embarked at 7:25 A. M. for a continuous sail of eleven and one-half hours. Among the passengers were a large delegation of state people from the west chiefly educators and provincial members of parliament doing the principle cities of North British America, in short a grand escort to the Empire state people. The utmost respect was manifest for the sacred day and general good nature was manifest.
The first stop was made at Brockville, on the Canadian shore, some twenty miles down from the Bay, so named in honor of Gen. Brock, who fell on Queenstown Heights in the war of 1812. Opposite on the American shore is Morristown, the terminal of the Utica & Black River road. From Brockville all stops are made at Canadian ports, in the following order: Prescott, opposite Ogdensburg; Cornwall nearly opposite which city on an island is placed the Canadian flag-staff as a marker of the boundry line between the United States and British possessions, the river thereafter flowing through Her Majesty's dominion.
A short distance after passing Prescott the brief but preparatory Gallop rapids are encountered, abreast of Gallop's island, the waves dashing against the bow with such force as to cause the impression that the boat has struck a rock or hidden bar. A beautiful stretch of shore scenery is then afforded until nearing Cornwall when the Long Sault rapids—nine miles in length—attracts all attention as the boat rushes along at the rate of twenty miles an hour after entering the winding channel, although the motion of the boat is not alarmingly unpleasant except for the sudden lurching from side to side as promptly she answers the will of the pilot.
Stopping at Cornwall barely sufficient time to land and receive passengers and baggage and a most delightful ride through the Lake St. Francis, as the river is called from Cornwall to Coteau du Lac— a distance of thirty miles—the average width of the stream from shore to shore being five miles, in many places being nearly eight, the lake proper terminating at Coteau Landing. A magnificent view of the Canada Atlantic railway bridge across the river is obtained from this point. After passing through the swing the Coteau Cedar, split Rock and Cascade rapids, none of which are serious, but extremely grand, especially so those of the Cascade, where numerous white crests foam upon the dark waters, and the short, rapid waves give the true sea motion to the boat and many find comfort upon the cabin settees. This series of four rapids have a descent (so stated) of 83 1/2 feet in a distance of 11 miles, when the shores again widen, forming Lake Louis, into which the black turbulent waters of the Ottawa river empty.
The next interesting feature is the Canadian Pacific railroad bridge which spans the river Lachine to Caughnawaga, an Indian village of much note and so named after the tribe known as "praying Indians," or the Caughnawaga [Kahnawake Mohawk--CC editor]. The village presents a marked degree of frugality and the structures are built of stone. A minute examination, however, is impossible since from this point the current rapidly gathers momentum. Attention is directed to the operations of the two pilots (the veteran, William McGannan, having come on board at Coteau Landing) the scathing waters in the foreground of the channel, the plunging and swerving of the craft as each realizes that the famous Lachine Rapids are to be encountered. It is pleasant yet serio-comic sublime. The deck hands are kept busily at work changing the huge casks and other heavy freight in the forepart of the lower deck from side to side or "even'er-up" as is boatman's parlance.
Montreal city is now the centre of sight-gazing, the rapids being far in our wake, Mount Royal, forming a harmonious background to the numerous church domes, towers and massive stone structures rising from different parts of the city. Victoria Bridge (railroad) also lays in our path and a grand view of this steel structure is obtained as the boat passes under. A detour of the boat affords a view of the wharves before the Algerian is brought to, alongside her dock, when short time in reaching a hotel marks the American tourist.
The course of the mail boat as the steamer route is [sailed], is along the north shore in Canadian possessions as well as prior to reaching Cornwell. The day was somewhat cool after the rain of Saturday, yet the sun was bright and a safe trip was made.
F. [reporter's initial.]
To Sylvan Beach.
Once more the Elmira, Cortland & Northern Railroad Co. will run another of their popular excursions Sunday, July 26th, to Sylvan Beach and return from Cortland and the following stations. Fare for the round trip, 75 cents. Train leaves Cortland at 7:20 A. M., East Homer, 7:35; Truxton, 7:45; Cuyler, 7:57; DeRuyter, 8:06; Shed's Corners, 8:16; Woodstock, 8:24; Delphi, 8:28; Rippleton, 8:34, arriving at the Beach 9:41. Train leaves the Beach at 5:20 P. M., arriving at Cortland at 8:00 o'clock, giving seven full hours at the Beach. For further particulars inquire of local agents.