The Age of the Passenger Steamer
With the coming of the steam engine, it was only a matter of time before the sleek lines of wooden hulls and trim masts were replaced by riveted steel plates and tall stacks. By the mid-nineteenth century, the sounds of snapping sails, wind through the rigging, and water racing along the hull were replaced by the mechanical rhythm of steam-driven pistons and the churning of brass propellers. The Yarmouth-Boston ferry service was no exception to this transition from sail to steam. Larger, faster vessels soon plied the waters that stretched between Nova Scotia and New England, providing an economical and reliable service for the delivery of freight and relatively comfortable, convenient, transportation for passengers.
Yarmouth At The Forefront
For several years leading up to the middle part of the nineteenth century, the transport of passengers and trade goods by wooden schooners and similar sailing vessels was carried on between Yarmouth and Boston. In May of 1855 the steamship Eastern State went into service between Yarmouth and Boston, thereby inaugurating regularly scheduled steam service between the two centres for the first time. This service to the United States has continued through war and peace since that time. Several large and stately steamships
followed the Eastern State in service between Yarmouth and Boston - Linda, Dominion (ex Linda), Alpha, Boston, Prince George, Prince Arthur, Yarmouth, Evangeline - examples of the well-known names of great ships to remind us of the Yarmouth captains and crews who manned them.
An important part of the business trade between Nova Scotia and New England, steamships of the Yarmouth Steamship Company and the Eastern Steamship Line carried thousands of tons of trade goods, manufactured products and raw materials, all of which were vitally important to the economic life of the community. In addition, hundreds of thousands of passengers travelled between the two centres on business and as tourists - some going on to other destinations, while others stayed at great resort hotels in the Yarmouth area which catered to the seaborne visitors.
With a strong seafaring tradition, Yarmouth earned its position as the northern terminus of the old Yarmouth-Boston Ferry. Its reputation is well deserved and secure within the heritage of the Town and County of Yarmouth.
Nova Scotia to New England
Four companies, the Yarmouth Steamship Company, the Yarmouth and Boston Steamship Company, the Yarmouth Steam Navigation Company, and Eastern Steamship Lines offered their passengers the very best of staterooms, lounges, and
dining rooms on board their steam ships. Travel was measured in terms of comfort, luxury and service. Passage provided by the S. S. Yarmouth, one of two ships of the same name, was promoted as "the most direct, shortest and lowest cost route between Boston and Nova Scotia..."
"You are out on the boundless ocean. You pace the deck and drink in great whiffs of the salubrious salt of the sea. You feel its tonic instantly. When you turn into your berth at night, you sleep so soundly that the chances are much against your getting your eyes open before you tie to the Yarmouth dock early next morning".
- Company Brochure, 1899.
Yarmouth Along The Waterfront
The old Yarmouth-Boston ferries arrived and departed from a site near this location for nearly one hundred and fifty years carrying passengers and freight between Yarmouth and the New England states. The importance of the role played by the Yarmouth-Boston ferries in transportation and commerce can be measured in [?] of their contribution to the history of Yarmouth and the Province of Nova Scotia.
[Image captions, generally from left to right, read]
· The "Eastern State", the first steamer owned in Yarmouth, 1855
· Yarmouth Steam Ship Company wharf, 1900
· Postcard images from company brochure
· Promotional poster for the Yarmouth Steam Ship Company
· The Steam Ship "Dominion", (formerly the "Linda")
· The Steam Ship "Boston"
· The Steam Ship "Prince Edward"
· Leaving Boston for Yarmouth
· The Steam Ship "Prince George"
· The Age of Sail meets the Age of Steam in Yarmouth Harbour
· Captain Robert R. Blauvelt, Master of the "Alpha", the "Dominion", and the "Eastern State". Captain N.K. Clements, Master of the "Linda". Captain Frank Crosby, Master of the "Yarmouth".
· Sister ships "Yarmouth" and "Evangeline" at dockside in Yarmouth
· Horse carriages at the CPR Boston and Yarmouth steamboat landing at Yarmouth
· Mr. L. E. Baker, President, The Yarmouth Steamship Company, 1891.
· Partial deck plans of the sister ships "Evangeline" and "Yarmouth"
· Map from 1926 brochure illustrating direct route from Yarmouth to Boston.
· Summer time-table, 1899.
· Stateroom prices, Boston and Yarmouth Line, 1930
· Advertisement from 1926 brochure
· The S. S. "Prince George" and S. S. "Prince Arthur" in Boston