19th – 20th CENTURY CHESAPEAKE
BAY STEAMBOAT 
MODELS DIORAMA
 

 

       BALTIMORE STEAMBOATS by
W.C. Steuart

Presented is a collection of scratch built Chesapeake Bay
steamer models that plied the waters of the “Bay” from Baltimore, Maryland to Norfolk,
Virginia from the late 1800’s until WW II. Each model is carefully handcrafted down to the last detail, and hand
colored. The ships are all built to scale, true to their design, and carry their names. The models are housed in a glazed
Pine case with the interior artfully painted to represent the sea and cloudy sky. On the case’s top is a summary of the
ships with details of their size, tonnage, construction, ownership and routes.

All told, it is a highly attractive
presentation with special meaning to those interested in the Chesapeake
region and steam ships.  Titled “The 5 O’clock Parade“ the diorama depicts the Night boats leaving Baltimore
and day boats returning.  Since the steamer, “Chesapeake”, in 1813, nearly four hundred
Bay steamers operated by nearly seventy companies have made Baltimore
their home port.  In the early 1900’s, sixty five steamers made regular runs from Baltimore to bay and river landings from Baltimore south.

ALL PHOTOS ARE TAKEN THROUGH THE GLASS AND ACCOUNT FOR SOME
LACK OF CLARITY. THERE ARE REFECTIONS WHICH SHOULD BE IGNORED
 
            
 

The ships
include back row, left to right:
 

1. “General Cadwallader  384 tons, 186 ft. x 20 ft. x 7.4 ft., iron steamer,
1845-19-,

Baltimore
and Philadelphia Steamboat Co., “Ericsson Line”, overnight runs to

Philadelphia, alternating with other steamers.

2. “Chesapeake – 317 tons, 133 ft x 24 ft x 8 ft., wooden steamer, 1884 – 1914, Wheeler

Line, Baltimore Chesapeake
& Atlantic R.R., overnight to Eastern Shore points, alternating
with other steamers.

3. “Emma Giles – 500 tons, 178 ft x 38.5 ft x 7.5 ft., wooden steamer, 1887 – 1938,

alternating daytime trips to Little
Choptank River, South, West and RhodeRiver and Annapolis,
also to TolchesterBeach.  Tolchester Steamboat Co.
 

 

Middle Row Left to Right:

 


4. “Augusta
1968 tons, 252 ft x 46 ft x 9.3 ft., steel steamer, 1900– 1924, Chesapeake Steamship

 Co., overnight to Norfolk, alternating with other
steamers.

 5. Georgia , 1749 tons, 280 ft x 40 ft x 15 ft., iron steamer, 1887 – 1937, Baltimore Steam Packet

 Co., “Old Bay Line” overnight to Norfolk,
alternating with other steamers.

6.“Baltimore 1414 tons, 223 ft x 36 ft x 22.2 ft., wooden steamer, 1885 – 
1913, Chesapeake

 Steamship Co., “York River Line”
, overnight to York River with rail connecting to Richmond,
alternating with other steamers.

 

Front Row left to Right:

 

7. “Joppa 607 tons, 190 ft x 31 ft x 9 ft., iron steamer, 1885 – 1921, Maryland Steamboat Co.,

Maryland, Delaware & Virginia Steamboat Co., Baltimore & Virginia Steamboat Co., overnight

runs to ChoptankRiver,
alternating with other steamers.

8.“Eastern Shore 460 tons, 155 ft x 30 ft x 9.5 ft., iron steamer, Eastern Shore Steamboat Co.,

 Baltimore, Chesapeake & Atlantic R. R., Baltimore
& Virginia Steamboat Co. ,two nights and

a day run to Crisfield and lower Eastern
Shore
points, alternating with other steamers.

9. “Anne Arundel  (now “Mohawk) 795 tons, 174 ft x 36 ft x 10.2
ft., steel steamer, 1904 —-

Weems Line, Maryland,  Delaware & Virginia Steamboat Co., Baltimore & Virginia Steamboat

Co., two nights and one day and three nights and two
days to PatuxentRiver, Potomac River and RappahannockRiver,
alternating with other steamers.  Western Shore Steamboat Co., Potomac

 River, RappahannockRiver and PiankatankRiver.  As “Mohawk”, Rock Creek Steamboat Co.,

 to Fairview. 
As Tolchester Steamboat Co., to TolchesterBeach.

10.“ Petrel 50 tons, 84 ft x 17 ft x 5 ft., wooden steamer, 1892 – 1921, Rock Creek Steamboat Co.,

twice daily to Rock and Stoney Creeks.

11. “Westmoreland 847 tons, 200 ft x 32.3 ft x 12.5 ft., wooden steamer, 1883 – 1933,
Weems

Line, Maryland, Delaware & Virginia  Steamboat Co., three day and two
night runs to Potomac

 and Rappahannock Rivers, alternating with other
steamers.  Maryland,
Delaware & Virginia
Steamboat Co., and
Baltimore & Virginia Steamboat Co., twice daily to Love Point.

 

 

           Left section of diorama
         Center section

           Right section
            Left end of case

METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION: As best as
we can determine without opening the case, the hulls are made from wood blocks and the superstructures are mainly paper with
hand inked detailing and coloring. The lifeboats are wood and the davits wire. Masts and flag staffs are wood. All come together
in a very handsome display of the Chesapeake Bay steamer activity at the turn of the 20th Century until the late 1930’s.

 

BAY STEAMER HISTORY: Since 1607,
when the first settlers arrived here, Chesapeake Bay has been a multifaceted engine
of American history and commerce. The body of inland tidal water between the bay cities of Norfolk
and Baltimore, was large enough to require some means of efficient
transportation.  Covering the long distances between North and South was first done by sailing craft, which later gave
rise to steamers which filled in the nooks and crannies of the bay’s geography. By the mid-19th century, the skies over
the bay were lined with dark smudges of smoke in all directions. Strong machines built to master rough seas while small enough
for small harbors. Many steamers had life spans that crossed whole eras in the Bay’s history. Some were drafted
into distinguished service in domestic and foreign wars. The steamers plied the Bay and its rivers with a feminine grace well
into the mid-20th century, when they were overtaken by the rush of modern times. The last steamer sailed into oblivion exactly
150 years after the first of them appeared in Baltimore harbor.

DIMENSIONS of LARGEST MODEL, GEORGIA:     
LOA
 6 1/2″ L x 1″ B x  2″ H         
ACTUAL SIZE OF SHIP:   280′ LOA 
40
Beam 
CASE: 27″ L x 9 3/4″ H x 8 1/2″ D at base                    
Weight 12.5 pounds

CONDITION: The models are exceptional in all respects. Their rigging is taught, all the gear and fittings are in place
and nothing is broken or missing. The overall appearance of the model is quite remarkable and impressive. This is an
example where the object is much nicer looking than the photos indicate.
The Pine wood case has
knots and some marks of age all of which add to its character.


You will not find a Model of early American steam ships, making this a fine addition
to any nautical collection.