The Main Stream Of New England

Flowing from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, nourishing both industry and agriculture, and carrying on its back sailing sloops, steamships, and pleasure craft, the Connecticut River has been for three hundred years.

A river is the most human and companionable of all inanimate things,” wrote the famous clergyman-educator Henry van Dyke. “It has a life, a character, a voice of its own.” Everyone, therefore, has his favorite stream, from Father Tiber to the mighty Pedernales. Ancient man revered and deified great rivers like the Ganges and the Nile, and along them have grown trade, settlement, and civilization.

Pride Of The Seas

Nineteenth-century American courage and resourcefulness carried our merchant flag to the world's harbors and our nation to world prominence. The proud affection of a sea-conscious nation is reflected in our portfolio of ships by artists of three continents. Our essay, by C. Bradford Mitchell, former editor of Steamboat Bill and information director of the Merchant Marine Institute, charts the curious historic twists of public attitude and official policy that have alternately fostered and stunted our merchant navy.

On February 6, 1783, nine weeks after the Revolution ended, a new flag flew in the Thames. It flew, said the London Times, from “the ship Bedford, Captain Mooers, belonging to the Massachusetts [sic].” That oil-laden Nantucket whaler was, the report continued, “the first vessel which displayed the thirteen rebellious stripes of America in any British port.” Read more »

Heyday Of The Floating Palace

Nicholas Roosevelt’s fire canoe transformed the Mississippi.

More than 270 years had slipped by since Hernando de Soto first stumbled onto the Mississippi, and in all that time the river had been host to an increasing variety of boats. For longer than anyone could reckon, the sleek canoes of the Indian had been there, but slowly and almost imperceptibly they began to be outnumbered by the arks, keelboats, and flatboats of the white man, laden with furs and less romantic cargoes, making the lazy trip down river.