The steamboat Ticonderoga is America’s last remaining side-paddle-wheel passenger steamer with a vertical beam engine of the type that provided freight and passenger service on America’s lakes and rivers from the early 19th to the mid-20th centuries. Commissioned by the Champlain Transportation Company, the Ticonderoga was built in 1906 at the Shelburne Shipyard in Shelburne, Vermont on Lake Champlain.
The ship's crew numbered twenty-eight, and included the captain, pilots, mate, deckhands, engineers, and firemen to operate the boat. The purser, stewardess, freight clerk, bartender hall boys, cook, waiters, scullion, and mess boys attended to passengers and freight arrangements.
Initially, the Ticonderoga served a north-south route on Lake Champlain. Daily, she docked at Westport, New York, where she met the New York City evening train. The next morning she carried travelers and freight northward to St. Albans, Vermont. In addition to passengers, the Ti transported local farm produce, livestock, and dry goods on a regular basis, and during both world wars ferried U.S. troops between Plattsburgh, New York and Burlington, Vermont. Over the years she also operated on the east-west run from Burlington to Port Kent, New York and had a brief career as a floating casino.
The Ti measures 220 feet in length and 59 feet in beam, with a displacement of 892 tons. Her steam-powered engine, handmade by the Fletcher Engine Company of Hoboken, New Jersey, was powered by two coal-fired boilers and could achieve a maximum speed of seventeen miles per hour.