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Chautauqua County Historical Society - Member Activities - Chautauqua County - New York - USA

CHAUTAUQUA LAKE STEAMBOATS

"MARY GRIFFITH"
"GRIFFITH" - "WINONA"
"CITY OF ERIE" - "ERIE (ferry)"
"JOHN RAINES" - "J&LE ANNEX"
"GRIFFITH" (tug)
(1875 - 1902)

Chautauqua County, New York, USA


Griffith

"GRIFFITH" AT GRIFFITH POINT LANDING
ACROSS FROM LAKE VIEW (LAKEWOOD NY)
CHAUTAUQUA LAKE NY 1870'S




Mary Griffith Pass

1875 "MARY GRIFFITH" PASS
FROM FAIRPOINT (CHAUTAUQUA) TO JAMESTOWN
BACK SIDE IS RUBBER STAMPED STEAMER GRIFFITH AUG 17 1875




Mary Griffith Pass

1876 PASS FOR THE STEAMER "M.A. GRIFFITH"
SIGNED BY THE CAPTAIN FREDERICK W. GRIFFITH




Winona

"WINONA"




Winona

"JOHN RAINES"

BOATLANDING JAMESTOWN NEW YORK 1896


History

Built in 1875 at Jamestown NY by W.W. Loomis of Erie PA. She was 90 feet long with an 18 foot beam and launched on June 1st, 1875 under the command of Captain Fred Griffith. Apparently she was referred to as various combinations of "Mary A. Griffith". October 2nd of the same year her upper deck was burned off during a fire that destroyed the steamboat Jamestown (1st) at the Boatlanding. Fortunately her lower deck and machinery were saved and she was soon rebuilt.

Throughout her history she was aligned with quite a variety of owners / lines / companies. In 1883 the Chautauqua Lake Transit Company of which she was part, was sold to the Buffalo, New York & Pittsburgh Railroad. The steamboat line was renamed the Chautauqua Steamboat Company and the different company boats were given Indian names. The "Griffith" was renamed the "Winona"

During the Winter of 1889 - 1890, the "Winona" was drawn out on the ways at the Boatlanding and her hull was replanked. In 1890 it was said of her that "the "Winona" is the smallest of the Red Stack Line yet she does a larger business than any of the others."

In December of 1890 the Chautauqua Steamboat Company was sold to A.N. Broadhead, F.E. Gifford and A.C. Wade of Jamestown NY. Early in 1892 the Chautauqua Lake Steamboat Company renamed their boats using names of cities. the "Winona" became the "City of Erie".

On October 23rd, 1892 the "City of Erie" burned to the water's edge in a fire that totally destroyed the large 4 deck stern-wheel steamboat Jamestown (2nd). (Looks like she should have stayed away from steamboats named "Jamestown"). The next spring the remaining hull was purchased by Major Stevens of Lakewood NY. He rebuilt it into a ferry boat equipped to carry 3 or 4 teams and with a large cabin for passengers. Now called the "Erie" she ran ferry sevice between Greenhurst, Griffiths Point and Lakewood during the 1893-95 seassons.

In April of 1896 she was purchased by B. Tobias and West Frank of Celoron. In an attempt to beat the wet legislation passed in Albany the owners fitted her with a bar for serving liquor and made trips out of Celoron (the Town of Ellicott being dry). She was renamed the "John Raines" after the State Senator who authored the wet legislation. The novelty soon wore off and the undertaking was abandoned after one season.

In 1897 the Jamestown & Lake Erie Railroad took ownership and operated her as a ferry between Mayville NY and Chautauqua. She also made connections with the J&LE Railroad at Point Chautauqua. They called her the J&LE Annex. She was used one season as a ferry then tied to the old Waldmere wharf at Lakewood for 4 years and abandoned to rot.

Once again called the "Griffith", she found new life in 1901 performing dredging operations around Chautauqua Lake. Finally she was junked in the Fall of 1902 and her hull sunk in the steamboat boneyard just below Celoron.


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from the McClurg Museum - Westfield, New York
©2007 - Chautauqua County Historical Society, Westfield, NY