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June 17, 1911 - the day set for the maiden voyage of the Steamer Put-in-Bay, hailed as the biggest excursion boat yet built for Detroit River service.
Despite an early drizzle, the Ashley & Dustin Line dock at the foot of first Street was crowded with spectators as invited guests began to arrive for the trip. Detroit Mayor William B. Thompson headed a large delegation of civic leaders.
From the vessel's bridge, high above the dock, Capt. A.J. Fox saluted the arriving VIP's. George Finzel, a longtime favorite band leader among pleasure-seekers on the river, rapped his baton and the ship's orchestra blared forth a gay rendition of "On Moonlight Bay." Music master: Orchestra leader George Finzel never missed a sailing of the Put-in-Bay -- except the last.
Over the years, the tune became the ship's trademark.Most of the nearly 1,000 passengers who trooped aboard paid 75 cents for the round trip, but some smart travelers made it on soap wrappers. The Queen Anne Soap Co. advertised in The Detroit News that customers could exchange 75 queen's heads cut from the soap wrappers for a ticket.
Before the Put-in-Bay left the dock, excursionists swarmed over the decks, exploring accommodations that were unique on a day cruise ship in 1911.
On the main deck, murals in the cabins and dining room were much admired. But the biggest attraction was the ballroom on the promenade deck.
America was dance-mad in 1911. Oldsters shook heads when young folks jilted the stately waltz, but in 1911 there was something even newer -- ragtime. And it wasn't just the teen-agers who seemingly had gone crazy. As the No. 1 hit tune of the year put it, "Everybody's Doin' It Now."
Oliver S. Dustin, general manager of the Ashley & Dustin Line, saw the way the winds of the new decade were blowing. He wanted a dancing ship. He got it too, in the Put-in-Bay.The central portion of the promenade deck was devoted to the ballroom. On a ship that measured 240 feet from bow to stern and 60 feet across the beam, that was a lot of dance floor. Dustin also arranged for sliding glass doors around the dance area. It could be shut off from stormy winds without impairing the dancers' view.
Many passengers went no further than the ballroom, but those who climbed higher were well rewarded. The observation deck had a luxurious cabin and private parlors. The hurricane deck offered steamer chairs, and just as on ocean liners passengers could reserve chairs for use throughout the voyage.
As Put-in-Bay, Ohio, the greeting for the town's namesake ship was tumultuous. Most of the island's population came aboard to see the steamer's wonders. They crowded into the ballroom for a ceremony at which the island board of trade presented colors for the vessel.
The rival:The Tashmoo went into service 10 years before Put-in-Bay and competed for its passengers.
On the return trip, another innovation kept passengers from being bored. This was a giant search-light which made objects along the shore stand out "plain as sunlight."
As the Put-in-Bay gathered coronation-week plaudits in this brave new world, one grand lady of Detroit noticeably was silent. The flagship of the rival White Star Line, the Tashmoo, had reigned as queen of the river for 10 years, and she was not disposed to lightly give up her crown to the newer and larger steamer.
Their regular runs kept them apart. The Tashmoo headed upstream to the St. Clair Flats and Port Huron, while the Put-in-Bay was going down to Lake Erie. But the craze for dancing soon made moonlight trips popular, and the big excursion boats began sailing nightly on dancing cruises up into Lake St. Clair and back.
Fiery end: The Put-in-Bay was sold for scrap in 1953, towed into Lake St. Clair and burned so its steel hull could be recycled.
Whenever the Put-in-Bay and the Tashmoo found themselves on the river together there would be a competitive sprint. They never had a formal race to a decision, however.
Among the day excursion boats, the Put-in-Bay never was surpassed. Nor was the record set by the bandmaster of the maiden voyage, George Finzel, ever surpassed. He continued as the orchestra leader on the Put-in-Bay throughout the ship's career on the river, and he never missed a sailing.
Never, that is, until Oct. 3, 1952, when he kept a last rendezvous with the Put-in-Bay. This time he had to stay on shore, but he watched with a lump in his throat as the superstructure was set on fire in Lake St. Clair and the once-proud steamer went up in 150-foot flames, in preparation for the steel hull being dismantled for junk.
Finzel provided the requiem for the Put-in-Bay's last trip, too. He didn't have an orchestra handy, but he still could whistle. The tune he whistled, of course, was "On Moonlight Bay."
The task of setting the torch to the old steamer fell
Financial District, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
The Bennett Building, constructed in 1872-73 and enlarged in 1890-92 and 1894, is a major monument to the art of cast-iron architecture. Ten stories high with three fully designed facades fronting Fulton, Nassau, and Ann Streets, it has been described as the tallest habitable building with cast-iron facades ever built. Commissioned as a real estate investment by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the publisher of the New York Herald newspaper, the Bennett Building was originally a six-story French Second Empire structure.
Designed by the prominent architect Arthur D. Gilman, whose Boston City Hall was instrumental in popularizing the Second Empire style in America, the Bennett Building appears to be the architect's only extant work in the style in New York. Gilman was also an important pioneer in the development of the office building, and the Bennett Building is the sole survivor among the major office buildings he designed. Second Empire office buildings flourished in Lower Manhattan after the Civil War; this is one of two such buildings with cast-iron fronts still standing south of Canal Street. In 1889, the Bennett Building was acquired by John Pettit, a leading real estate investor who commissioned architect James M. Farnsworth to enlarge the building to its present size. Farnsworth replicated the Gilman's richly textured, ornate design, including the distinctive curving corners linking the facades and the crisply articulated details that are particularly well suited to the medium of cast iron.
The James Gordon Bennett. Jr. and the New York Herald
Founded in 1835 by James Gordon Bennett, Sr. (1795-1872), the New York Herald was "the most interesting, entertaining, and popular newspaper in [mid-nineteenth-century] America" — and the most profitable.2 Written in a straightforward manner atypical of the period, the Herald was noted for its unprecedented emphasis on local news.
It maintained an extensive network of reporters and correspondents in the chief European and American cities and kept a fleet of dispatch boats to intercept steamers bringing the latest news from Europe. It was the first paper in America to employ a corps of reporters to cover Congress; the first to make extensive use of stenography to print verbatim reports of interviews and political speeches; the first to treat the arts, sports, and religion as news; the first to print a regular column analyzing financial trends; the first to make extensive use of the telegraph; and the first to remain completely independent of any political party.
Its war coverage was unparalleled: during the Mexican War the paper initiated an overland express route that made it the nation's prime source of news from the Texas frontier, and during the Civil War its sixty-three correspondents reported on every aspect of the war. The Herald also devoted considerable coverage to society news and sensational crimes, laying the foundation for such popular publications as Joseph Pulitzer's World later in the century.
In April 1867, the management of the Herald passed to the founder's only son, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. Bora in New York in 1841, the younger Bennett had been raised largely in Europe and educated at the Ecole Polytechnique. He returned to the United States in 1861 to serve in the Union navy and, following his military service, began training at the Herald. In 1867, with financial support from his father, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., began publishing the Evening Telegram, a light journal featuring gossip and entertainment news.
On January 1, 1868, he assumed complete stewardship of the Herald as the paper's editor and publisher. Under James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the Herald became noted for its excellent coverage of foreign events and for sponsorship of expeditions to exotic locales, such as reporter Henry M. Stanley's search for Dr. David Livingstone in Africa in 1871. In the 1880s Bennett established London and Paris editions of the Herald; the Paris edition continues today as the International Herald Tribune.
In addition to his newspaper interests, Bennett derived a large income from the Commercial Cable Company, an international telegraph company, which he established in 1883 in partnership with John A. Mackay.4 Including the considerable real estate he inherited from his parents, it is estimated that Bennett made and spent over $30,000,000 from his various enterprises. He died in his villa in Beaulieu, France, in 1918. After Bennett's death the New York Herald, Evening Telegram, and Paris edition of the Herald were sold to publisher Frank Munsey.
The Downtown Office District and the Bennett Building
In 1842, after moving the Herald several times, James Gordon Bennett, Sr., acquired a new building at the northwest corner of Nassau and Fulton Streets, in the heart of the newspaper and printing district that was growing up around Nassau Street.
(That same year Bennett's
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