Martha's Vineyard (steamboat)

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Sidewheeler ferry Martha's Vineyard at Union Wharf in Vineyard Haven, MA in 1900.
Postcard image of Martha's Vineyard at Gay Head Landing in Aquinnah, MA circa 1907-1917.
Steamer Martha's Vineyard, from an 1890s souvenir booklet.

The Martha's Vineyard was a sidewheel steamer operating as a ferry serving the island of Martha's Vineyard during the second half of the nineteenth century.

It was built in 1871 in Brooklyn, NY. It was a 515-ton vessel,[1] 185 feet long, with a 29' beam.[2]

A 1961 Vineyard Gazette[3] article noted the beauty of the vessel: "The Martha's Vineyard...had decorated paddleboxes that made large, rhythmic and beautiful half-circles on the sides." as well as how exposed it was: " The Martha's Vineyard at first had no hurricane deck open to passengers, and eventually only a partial one." The same article also adds a quotation from 1871:

"The cabins, saloons, ante-rooms, etc., are comfortable and roomy, and finished in a handsome manner. The lower cabin, which extends from the stern to the after end of the engine, has locker seats on the sides, and the kitchen and stewards' rooms are adjoining, on each side of the engine. There is a flight of stairs, black walnut, from the after part of the cabin to the ladies' saloon, as well as a similar flight from the forward part. This saloon is nearly double the size of that of the Monohansett, and its ample space is handsomely carpeted and finished in a very tasteful manner. A flight of double circular stairs, of black walnut, aft of the engine, connects with the promenade saloon, which is 90 feet in length, extending from the stern to the forward gangway. The saloon is enclosed with broad handsome windows, opening on the guards and there is an open promenade deck fore and aft. A handsome carpet covers the floor of the saloon, and black walnut seats encompass the magnificent room. There is a handsome dome over the stairway with fancy glass windows. The painting and panel work of the saloon is particularly outstanding."[2]

From 1871 until 1886, the Martha's Vineyard and the Monohansett were the only two ferries serving Martha's Vineyard.[1]

In March 1886 the Martha's Vineyard became one of the initial four steamers operating for the newly organized New Bedford, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Steamboat Co.[4] (The other three were River Queen, Island Home and the Monohansett.)

In 1922, a new steam-powered ferry Martha's Vineyard began service to the island. It operated until at least the 1940s.[5]

In 1993, a new diesel-powered ferry named MV Martha's Vineyard started its service to Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole. It is the third vessel to be named after Martha's Vineyard.[6]


  1. ^ a b Banks, Charles E., The History of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., Volume I. (Dukes County Historical Society, 1911)
  2. ^ a b "Vineyard Gazette Online homepage". Retrieved 28 November 2010.  (from June 1961 article)
  3. ^ "Vineyart Gazette Online homepage". 
  4. ^ "Vineyard Gazette online homepage". Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Vineyard "Vineyard Gazette Online homepage". Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Serving the Islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket". The Steamship Authority. Retrieved 28 November 2010.