Of the hundreds of steamboats which operated on the Hudson River in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Mary Powell was the most famous of all. She was known as the Queen of the Hudson for her beauty, speed, and graciousness. The Powell was licensed to carry 1,500 to 1,800 passengers and often did. She was a Rondout boat. For all of her 57 seasons on the Hudson, from 1861 to 1917, the Mary Powell operated out of the Rondout running to New York City daily, except Sundays, from mid-May to mid-September. She left Rondout at 5:30 a.m. in season every morning, and after making seven stops arrived at her pier in New York City at 10:45 a.m. Returning, the Powell left New York at 3:30 p.m. and made the same seven stops before reaching Rondout at 8:30 p.m. The Mary Powell was speedy and those were fast times for boats of that era. Built for Absalom L. Anderson, an experienced steamboat captain and owner from Kingston, the Mary Powell had a perfect record for service, speed, and safety. A. L. Anderson and his son A. Eltinge Anderson served the Powell as owners and captains for most of her 57 year career, always maintaining her high standards. The Hudson River Day Line operated the Mary Powell during her final years.
The Mary Powell with a large crowd of passengers aboard, circa 1903. -- Donald C. Ringwald Collection, Hudson River Maritime Museum
View from above looking down at the mouth of the Rondout Creek with both the old and the new Rondout lighthouses, circa 1917. The steamer Mary Powell is at her winter location, Sunflower Dock, in Sleightsburg across Rondout Creek, while the Hudson River Day Line steamer Albany is at her winter berth in the foreground. -- Donald C. Ringwald Collection, Hudson River Maritime Museum
The Mary Powell waits at the Bear Mountain dock c. 1910. Day Line steamer Hendrick Hudson passes her in the background. -- Donald C. Ringwald Collection, Hudson River Maritime Museum