PS Washington Irving
Detroit Publishing Company photo of Washington Irving.
|Owner:||Hudson River Day Line|
|Route:||Hudson river between New York City and Albany NY|
|Builder:||New York Shipbuilding Company|
|Laid down:||23 May 1912|
|Launched:||7 December 1912|
|Maiden voyage:||17 May 1913|
|Out of service:||1 June 1926|
|Struck:||1 June 1926|
|Fate:||Collided with oil barge and sunk|
|Notes:||Largest passenger-carrying riverboat built until 1995|
|Length:||414 ft (126 m)|
|Beam:||47 ft (14 m)|
|Depth:||14.6 ft (4.5 m)|
|Installed power:||Steam via oil burners|
|Propulsion:||River side-wheel steamer|
The Washington Irving collided with an oil barge in the fog on 1 June 1926 on the North River. With the aid of tugboats, it reached shore at Pier 12, Jersey City, where it sank soon thereafter. Out of 200 passengers and 105 crew, three died as a result of the accident.
Its removal was complicated due to its sinking upon the site of the Holland Tunnel, which was under construction. It remained submerged there until 13 February 1927, when it was raised and determined to be a total loss. A bond was issued for its replacement.
The quadruple-decker Washington Irving was built in 1912 by the New York Shipbuilding Company for contract number 126 and measured 414 feet (126 m) in length and 86 feet (26 m) at its widest point with a weight of 4,000-short-ton (3,600 t). Together, Frank E. Kirby collaborated with J. W. Millard of New York City to design the ship. With a carrying capacity of 6,000 passengers, it was the largest passenger-carrying riverboat built at the time of its construction. Its beam engine was 6,200 horsepower (4,600 kW) with cylinders measuring 45 inches (110 cm) and 70 inches (180 cm) in diameter with a 7-foot (2.1 m) stroke. The ship was named after the author Washington Irving. Washington Irving was launched on 7 December 1912, and delivered 3 May 1913.
The ship had three smoke stacks amidships for its boilers, but the forward stack was non-functioning; only added for aesthetic purposes. The ship began service with the Hudson River Day Line as their flagship steamer from 1913 to 1926.
The Washington Irving operated daily leisure passenger service up and down the Hudson River. Its maiden voyage was on Saturday, 17 May 1913 from the Desbrosses Street Pier in New York City with a destination of Albany. On that voyage, fifty oil paintings by artists illustrating the Irving period were on view. The decorations included reproductions from the Alhambra; the Old Cock Tavern of London; Irving's study at "Sunnyside" and many other historical places. Tickets for the maiden voyage sold for $1.00.
Washington Irving replaced the Robert Fulton on the New York to Albany run. The ship remained in service up until its sinking in 1926 and was the only ship in service ever to be lost by the Day Line. The first pilot of the Washington Irving from 1913 through 1923 was Captain Van Woert.
Soon after departing the Desbrosses Street Pier on its way to Albany in the morning fog of 1 June 1926, Washington Irving was struck, a little after 9:00am, by one of two oil barges being pushed by the tug boat Thomas E. Moran. The collision damaged Washington Irving's starboard side below the water line just aft of amidships, allowing water to rush into the engine rooms. The collision resulted in a hole measuring 21 feet (6.4 m) long and 3 feet (0.91 m) wide. The Captain, David H. Deming, ordered all passengers to put on life preservers and whistled the "Ship's afire" signal of two long and three short blasts repeatedly. A chaos of shouts prevailed as the passengers tried to don life vests and locate their children in the fog. An inability to see any land increased the alarm of the passengers despite the Captain's shouts that all would be safe and he ordered the jazz band to resume playing their music and maintain their post until rescue.
Assisted by tug boats, Washington Irving reached shore at the then under construction Pier 12, Jersey City and sank five minutes later. Three passengers died as a result of the accident. Wylma Wood Hoag, (wife of Lynne Arthur Hoag and mother to Arthur Allen Hoag), their three-year-old daughter Mary, and B. Woods, a steward, who was trapped in a cabin far below deck.  The accident was determined to be unavoidable due to "the unusual and unexpected strength of the tidal current, possibly below the surface" after an inquiry by the United States Steamship Inspection Board closed on 9 June 1926.
Washington Irving was valued at $1,000,000 but insured for much less. The barge suffered only $8,000 of damages. At the time of the sinking, Alexander McKinney was the head porter. He had joined the Day Line in 1905 and continued in their service till at least 1964.
Washington Irving had sunk on top of the New York-New Jersey vehicular tube complicating its removal. The wreck became a menace to navigation and was struck at 3am on 16 June by a railroad car float. Washington Irving was raised on 13 February 1927 and towed to a dry dock to determine whether its condition warranted repair. In March, Washington Irving was determined to be a total loss and a bond was issued to refinance the company's debt and to provide financing for its replacement, the Peter Stuyvesant. The Peter Stuyvesant was originally estimated to cost $700,000, but when the boat was completed in June, the final cost was closer to $1,000,000.
- Str. Washington Irving, Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, Detroit Publishing Company, Between 1913 and 1920, retrieved 2008-04-18
- "Day Liner Is Sunk in Hudson by Barge; Two Are Missing", The New York Times, Display Ad (New York), 2 June 1926: 1, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-17
- McDowell, Michael P., Passenger Liners of New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden
- Colton, Tim, New York Shipbuilding, Camden NJ, Delray Beach, FL
- "Hudson River By Daylight", The New York Times, Display Ad (New York), 16 May 1913: 16, ISSN 0362-4331
- The Washington Irving was not exceeded in size until the June 1995 maiden voyage of the American Queen that was only 4 feet (1.2 m) longer, 42 feet (13 m) wider, and less than 3% larger in gross tonnage. The American Queen's overnight staterooms could carry only less than 10% of the passengers that the day sailing Washington Irving could carry.
- Dayton, Fred Erving (1925), "Hudson River Steamboats", Steamboat Days, Frederick A. Stokes Company, p. 83
- Adams, Arthur G. (1996), The Hudson Through the Years, Fordham University Press, pp. 154, 182, 187, 191, & 314, ISBN 0-8232-1202-5
- "Bob-Lo Boats / Frank E. Kirby", Passenger leaflet provided on a Port Huron cruise (boblosteamers.com), 28 May 1990, retrieved 2008-04-18
- Ringwald, Donald C. (1990), Hudson River Day Line: The Story of a Great American Steamboat Company, Fordham University Press, p. 161, ISBN 0-8232-1290-4
- "First Public Inspection Trip", The New York Times, Display Ad (New York), May 11, 1913: 16, ISSN 0362-4331
- Ryder, F. Van Loon (8 July 1965), Old Timers - Boats of the Hudson 1965, Greene County News, retrieved 2008-04-19
- Sagafjord; Hunt, Tom (1968), Steamboat Bill: Official Journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America, Bar Harbor: Steamship Historical Society of America, p. 22
- "Two Still Missing from Sunken Ship", The New York Times, 3 June 1926: 20, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-24
- "Think Mrs. Hoag Sank Hunting for Children", The New York Times, 4 June 1926: 23, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-24
- "Lay Ship Crashes to Tides", The New York Times (New York), 18 June 1926: 25, ISSN 0362-4331
- "Inquiry into Sinking of River Liner Ends", The New York Times (New York), 10 June 1926: 9, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-17
- "Divers Get $60,000 from Washington Irving; To Speed Removal of Liner, Now Over Tunnel", The New York Times, 5 June 1926: 1, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-24
- "Sunken Liner Is Struck", The New York Times (New York), 17 June 1926: 12, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-24
- "Day Line Boat Floated", The New York Times (New York), 14 February 1927: 12, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-17
- "Hudson Day Line Issue", The New York Times (New York), 7 March 1927: 32, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-17
- "Entertains on New Ship", The New York Times (New York), 8 June 1927: 43, ISSN 0362-4331, retrieved 2008-04-17