Sunday, July 19, 2009

From 1909: Down the River has the Call These Days

This article is from 100 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant on July 19, 1909.  The postcard and photograph are both of the steamboat Middletown, which traveled between the foot of State Street in Hartford and New Pier 19, East River, New York.  The photograph shows it docked in Hartford in 1913. The postcard may be from somewhat later in the early 1900s. Both images are from Connecticut History Online.

Many Hartford People Go to Middletown, But They Come Back.

In the summer, the fancy lightly turns to thoughts of afternoon-evening outings, which will help man, woman and child to get a good night's sleep after the heat of the day.  New trips are always looked for by the outing lover, the American always wanting something in the line of novelty.  Just at present a trip to Middletown by boat and a return journey by trolley seems to have the call.  For years Hartford people have found the sail to Middletown by New York boat a good cooling off stunt, but there has been one drawback, in that a hot train on the steam road did not offer a most enjoyable means of coming back, being in rather unpleasant contrast with the boat trip.  Besides, evening trains did not run with great frequency and often it was a case, when the boat was a little late in arriving at Middletown, of running for a train, or waiting a long time for another, with a change at Berlin. Of course the running the past few years of trolley trains on the steam road between Middletown and Berlin removed some of the objectionable features, but the opening of the trolley line between Hartford and Middletown has removed them all, as people can now keep cool all the way back.

The recent hot spell added to the number of those who took the trip to Middletown and return and some afternoons there were not far from 200 who made the round trip. Saturday is the big day of the week and last Saturday was a particularly big one. The regular cars leave Middletown for Hartford at twenty-three minutes past the hour and it is sometimes possible for Hartford people to connect with the car leaving Middletown at 7:23 p.m., but this is unusual at present, as the steamboat does not get to Middletown before 7:30 o'clock, as a rule these days.  Sometimes, on account of the low water, it is half an hour later than that and, accordingly, the trolley company has changed the leaving time of its extra car, which has been leaving for this city at 7:53 p.m. and hereafter it will leave at 8:15, eight minutes ahead of the regular. The extra car is an open one, while the regular is closed.  

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