Monday, October 31, 2011

Steamboat HENDRICK HUDSON -Model In Miniature

           Hudson River Day Line stmr. HENDRICK HUDSON traveling downriver toward
          toward Poughkeepsie, New York c.1920.

Many articles and several film footages have honored this handsome steamer since her first appearance on the Hudson River in 1906. As a builder I had the opportunity to meet Alfred Van Olcott, the great-grandson and heir to the Hudson River Day Line.

Mr. Van Olcott saw my exhibition at the Hudson River Maritime Center when I held my first steamboat showing during the early '80s. He spoke about a builder's model that his family donated to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington,D.C. that he wasn't particularly happy with. In his own opinion he thought "it wasn't a great or good looking model". In turn, after several meetings -and viewing his impressive photo collection of HENDRICK HUDSON, he commissioned a model that he wanted to be of "superb quality".

I spent a month reviewing the HUDSON's history and re-worked the plans he loaned and, similiar to former steamboat projects endeavored, there were no available profile drawings. I had to build the sidewheeler from those references I produced on ROBERT FULTON a few years prior. The height between decks were fairly similiar in scale, so I followed the deck layout of Mr. Olcott's materials, along with the supporting photo data to arrive at a model that would be, in laymens' terms -accurate.

          Starboard profile, in detail, of wooden steamboat model HENDRICK HUDSON.
          At 1:160 Scale she's shown as she appeared in 1943, four years before she
          ceased service on the river.

Van Olcott would visit twice from Princeton, N.J. before viewing the final completion. He was elated that his favorite sidewheeler was "captured in her true appearance". He shared this model with many affluent personalities in the maritime, especially those whom were steamboat-connected. As a model HENDRICK HUDSON became the flagship of my fleet of contemporary models, being written about by several authors and featured in a documentary by a television station in Kingston, New York in 1990. Today, the model is part of the Hudson
River Maritime Museum's collective body of steamboats currently exhibited at the facility.

HENDRICK HUDSON was built in 1906 at the T.S. Marvel Shipyard, Newburgh, New York. She was a beautiful steamer throughout at 390 feet and the second largest vessel to operate for the Hudson River Day Line.

In 1935 and 1936, the Day Line achieved great success with its excursion programs. And in 1937 the Line used their largest steamer HENDRICK HUDSON which was to become an annual event. With her 5,252 passenger capacity, HUDSON was larger than either HAMILTON or FULTON. Because of this, the schedule was altered so that the excursion originated at Indian Point which added Catskill as a landing. The departure times from Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Kingston Point didn't change and the round trip fare remained at a dollar. The departure time from albany on the return trip was advanced to 4:30 p.m.

Also historic in 1937 was the final port to port passing of HENDRICK HUDSON with the largest nightboat on the river, the BERKSHIRE. This happened on a summer night in August
as the Day Liner left Newburgh shortly after 10 p.m. for its final destination upriver to Indian Point. Thirteen nights after that historic river passing the Night Line terminated service.

  Stmr. HENDRICK HUDSON backing out around the knuckle of the Albany Yacht Club
  on a summer afternoon c.1940.

HENDRICK HUDSON serviced many passengers during the War years since gasoline was rationed to automobile owners. Travel by car was limited, but the steamboat business has stellar years. The total number of passengers rose to 1,431,000 -the highest number since 1930. With so many pasengers traveling the Day Line's upriver excursions to Albany ceased and the Line converted to travel only.

HENDRICK HUDSON operated on the Hudson River between New York and Albany until 1948. She was later scrapped in 1951.

                         The wood model of HENDRICK HUDSON c.1943,  1:160 Scale

Mr. Olcott was a great help providing much of the data for this model. So many individuals whom had a love for these vessels are now departed, but their memories are with us and in these models that I faithfully produce in honor of them. And the histories that these vessels made during their tenure on the river is a tribute that can be preserved within these works for years to come.

For more information about commissioning a fine Hudson River or Northeast steamboat model email: or call 1-774-757-7137. You may also visit Social Share Toolbar


  1. Dear Rex, my dad is also a scale modeller and I am currently trying to help him to find the plans to build Hendrick Hudson Steamboat as he wants to make is his next project. I've contacted some New York Museums already but had no luck. I was wondering if you could advise on where I could find and buy these plans.
    thank you ever so much,


    1. Darya:

      Unfortunately, these plans don't exist anywhere in the Hudson River Valley or the United States. All the models shown on these blogs are researched and drawn from plans that I've produced. Because of my livelihood as a builder, and to respect and protect the collections of my clients, I have made these models to be a one-of-a-kind so that these will not be duplicated or mass produced.

      I can't advise you on the purchase of these plans, yet wish your father all the best.


    2. Hi Rex,

      Thank you for your reply.

      I'll keep searching :)

      Kind regards