Although commercial steam-boating began well over 200 years ago, it was in 1817 that Lake George began to utilize the service as a means to connect its small shoreline settlements. Now 200 years later, The Lake George Steamboat Company is still operating pleasure cruises along the shores of Lake George.
After the Civil War the steamboat company became part of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. This merger allowed passengers traveling between New York City to Canada to take the railroad from Glens Falls to Lake George and then cross the lake to Ticonderoga for the continuation of their train journey.
Through the Great Depression the business slowly declined until World War II brought the commercial side of the business to a close. The business was downsized and changed hands before landing with Captain Wilbur Dow. After renovating and rebuilding the traditional steamboats, the Lake George Steamboat Company passenger service was reinvented and is still owned and operated by members of the Dow family.
According to Lake George Steamboat Company Vice President Patricia Dow, throughout the steamboat company history for one reason or another, there has always been a group that has stepped in to make sure the boats are always part of the Lake George community.
“Our boats mean Lake George. Our boats say Lake George,” Dow said. “We hear so many stories about how these boats have meant so much to people, whether its been through marriage proposals or trips with grandchildren. We love sharing the lake with people and providing them a way to get out onto the lake with grace and style. Lake George is truly the queen of American lakes. Lake George is accessible and invites you to come out and play, relax and enjoy. Lake George is welcomingly beautiful.”
Currently the LG Steamboat Company has three boats for pleasure cruises around Lake George. Each – no longer powered by steam – offer a variety of water activities including sightseeing, scenic, dining, evening fireworks, entertainment, and moonlight cruises around the lake. Of course, wedding parties and special private functions are offered as well.
Various Bicentennial events have been planned throughout the course of the 2017 summer season. The kickoff is this weekend with evening cruises to enjoy fireworks over the lake. A free dockside music fest will also take place Friday, August 25. “Rock the Dock” will include live music, food trucks, and craft beer from Common Roots Brewery of South Glens Falls.
Congratulations to the Lake George Steamboat Company’s Bicentennial. Spying the steamships on the dock or on the water is truly an iconic part of the Lake George scenery.
Historic photo of the Horicon is used with the permission of The Lake George Steamboat Company.