Celebrating 200 Years of Steamboating in Pawtucket, Rhode Island

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From the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council ,640 George Washington Hwy, Lincoln, Rhode Island 02865.

Historic and reproduction steamboats from the United States and Canada converged on Pawtucket, Rhode Island this summer to take part in the first International Steamboat Muster, August 21-23, 1992. The city celebrated 200 years of steamboating on the Pawtucket Harbor along the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.

Celebrated was the ride along the Seekonk River to Pawtucket, in the experimental steamboat built in 1792 by Elijah Ormsbee of Providence, Rhode Island with the help of David Wilkinson of Pawtucket, R.I. This event took place fifteen years prior to Robert Fulton's operating his steamboat to Clermont in the Hudson River Valley, New York.

Thousands of residents and visitors lined the waterfront to view the operating steam launches. The riverfront looked as it had in the 1800s. Riverboat tours of the Pawtucket Harbor brought passengers up close to the steam boats,

Waterfront activities took place Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and included an authentic Rhode Island shore dinner, ice cream treats, Fine Arts and Traditional Crafts Fair, New England Riverfront Music Festival with Country Dancing, special commemorative postal stamp cancellation, and exposition tent with exhibits and information booths.

During the week preceding the Muster, Pawtucket celebrated Steam Days with a Steamboat Film Festival at the Public Library, Steam Day at the Children's Museum, and Art, Model and History of Steam displays at the Slater Mill Historic Site.

The weekend's activities steamed up Friday evening with Governor Bruce Sundlun opening the festivities. The 18-piece Navy Show Band gave an outdoor concert, sponsored by the Slater Mill Historic Site, at the Hodgson Rotary Park along the Blackstone River.

The Muster featured the 10th Annual Antique and Classic Boat Show and Meet, sponsored by Beckmann Limited, of Wakefield, Rhode Island, builders of steam launches and tugboats. Twenty steam powered water-craft participated in the weekend's activities.

Next year, the Second Annual International Steamboat Muster will take place on August 20-22,1993 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. For further information call (401) 334-7773 or write the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, P.O. Box 7663, Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864.