Steam Boating on the Great Lakes


The first steamboat on the Great Lakes, the Frontenac, was built   on the shore of the Bay of Quinte (Lake Ontario) between Milford and Bath Ontario on property owned by the mother of Henry Finkle,  who put up the bond for the builder, to the syndicate that financed the building of the steamer. It  was launched in 1815, and sailed to nearby Kingston (Ernestown is part of Kingston) where the engines were installed.  It began service in 1816.

Frontenac was 152 feet long at the keel, 30 feet beam, depth of hold  11  feet, and drawing probably 5 feet and 6 feet when loaded.  She was powered by a 40 horsepower single stroke  Bolton and Watt steam engine.  The latest thing, and the best quality,   The Watt in the firm name being the son of the inventor of the steam engine. She was built to look and act like a sailing vessel, in fact was sailed from Bath to Kingston to have her steam engines installed.

GAC frontenac paintings004.jpg

I purchased  ($25.)  this pic from the Baldwin Room, Special Collections, Toronto Reference Library.  It is of a painting by George Cuthbertson for his book Freshwater published in 1930 and will be in my forthcoming book  Freshwater Navies./