The Passenger Experience
As a “family boat,” the Anderson family and crew of the Mary Powell worked hard to ensure that the atmosphere on board the boat was professional, safe, and welcoming. This was especially important in the mid-19th century when it was often dangerous for women and children to travel without an escort and some steamboats had an unsavory reputation. Not so the Mary Powell.
The Powell was a day boat, meaning she left Rondout and stopped at other Hudson River ports in the morning, returning from New York City in the evening, with about twelve hours between, including travel.
Upon arrival, passengers would purchase tickets from the purser, and check their baggage with the baggagemaster, in exchange for a small brass token. Once on board, passengers could relax, either in indoor saloons, with a special saloon or parlor for ladies only, operated by stewardess Fannie M. Anthony for most of the Mary Powell’s career. The dining room, originally located in the hull of the boat, was later moved up above the waterline, with large windows that could be used when seated, the better to enjoy the views while dining.
Out on the deck, which was a popular location during the warm summer months, passengers could relax in deck chairs, enjoy the scenery, and walk about the boat.
The Mary Powell was also available to charter for special excursions, and she was a frequent recipient of Vassar college girls, West Point cadets, fraternal organizations on outings, etc.
Upon arriving, passengers would disembark to waiting carriages, trolley cars, and later even automobiles.