32¢ Sylvan Dell
Issue Date: August 22, 1996
City: Orlando, FL
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 11 x11.1
Steamboats revolutionized transportation by substituting steam, reciprocating pistons, and paddlewheels for human and animal power. The age of steamboats was magnificent, though short-lived. Beginning in 1807 with Robert Fulton’s Clermont profitably ferrying goods and passengers on New York’s Hudson and East rivers, steamboats were quickly launched on every navigable coast, lake, and river in the land.
The Sylvan Dell was the last and probably the finest and fastest of the five steamboats built for the Harlem & New York Navigation Company. She was a 440 ton, single stack steam and paddle boat that measured 178 feet long and 27 feet wide. On her maiden voyage in 1872, she steamed upriver from New York to Albany, without passengers or stops, in a record seven hours, 43 minutes, becoming the fastest boat on the Hudson River.
The Sylvan Dell generally carried commuters between Harlem and lower Manhattan, but with the opening of the Third Avenue Elevated Railroad in 1883, the company discontinued the service and sold its boats.
The Sylvan Dell then carried New Yorkers on pleasure excursions until 1889. She was sold again to ferry commuters between Philadelphia and Salem, NJ on the Delaware River. In 1919, she sank in Salem Creek.