In 1807, Robert Fulton sailed up the Hudson River from New York City to Albany in his steam-powered paddle boat, the “Clermont,” thereby, inaugurating the first commercially successful steamboat service in America. The following year, the Winans Brothers from Vermont built a similar vessel on Lake Champlain, which provided an impetus for steamboating on Lake George in 1817.
The following are a few of the early steamboats that plied the waters of Lake George:
James Caldwell – 1817-1821
The first steamboat on Lake George that made the trip through the lake as fast as a man could row the distance of the lake. She was equipped with a third-hand engine salvaged from a Lake Champlain steamboat, but could not make the trip from one end of the lake to the other. In 1821, after just 4 years, she burned mysteriously while lying at her dock in Caldwell (formerly the name of Lake George Village).
Minne-Ha-Ha I – 1857-1877
The first vessel to resemble a modern steamboat and was the last wood-burner on the lake, with a round trip requiring six cords of wood.
Ganouskie – 1869-1883
The smallest of all steamboats. Made entirely of wood with a single main deck, it was the first propeller-type having a single screw.
Horicon I – 1877-1911
Placed into service 60 years following the first steamboat, it was the most lavish of steamers.
Ticonderoga I – 1884-1901
Last steamboat on Lake George made entirely of wood and which marked the end of the old steamboat design of masts, hog-frames, and hand steering gear.