SS Columbia Project

SS Columbia Project Columbia, the oldest surviving passenger steamboat in the United States, will revive the grand tradition of the Hudson River excursion steamboats
The non-profit SS Columbia Project is restoring America’s oldest surviving passenger steamer, the National Historic Landmark vessel SS Columbia. Once restored, Columbia will: 1. Reconnect New York City to the Hudson Valley cities and towns; 2. Operate as a new event venue on the Hudson River -- a floating platform for arts and entertainment; 3. Offer immersive, interactive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs; 4. Self-sustain as a for-profit events space
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The National Historic Landmark vessel SS Columbia is the oldest surviving passenger steamer in the United States, and the best remaining work of Frank Kirby, one of America’s greatest naval architects. Built in 1902, the Columbia combines a spectacular array of design, engineering, and aesthetic innovations. At 207’ in length and 60’ in breadth, the ship was designed to carry 3,200 passengers comfortably on her five decks. Her beautiful interiors were created in collaboration with the painter and designer Louis O. Keil. The ship is adorned with mahogany paneling, etched leaded glass, gilded moldings, a grand staircase, and an innovative open-air ballroom. Columbia’s massive 1,200-horsepower triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine, surrounded by viewing galleries, are technology revealed. Columbia was built in Wyandotte, Michigan and served Detroiters for nearly a century. After undergoing extensive hull repair at a shipyard in Toledo in 2014-2015, Columbia was towed to the Empire State. The boat is now docked at Silo City in the Buffalo River. Columbia will be towed to the Hudson River in summer 2017.

Another magnificent shot from Jim Cavanaugh of James Cavanaugh Photography. Breathtaking view of Buffalo Silo City with ...
01/28/2020

Another magnificent shot from Jim Cavanaugh of James Cavanaugh Photography. Breathtaking view of Buffalo Silo City with Columbia dockside.

An aerial view of some of Buffalo's historic grain elevators along the Buffalo River.

Torn Space Theater
01/17/2020

Torn Space Theater

#tst BURDEN 2016, TST's Roaring 20s on the S.S. Columbia!

SS Columbia Project's cover photo
01/10/2020

SS Columbia Project's cover photo

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah from the SS Columbia!
12/23/2019

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah from the SS Columbia!

$5M Maritime Heritage Grant Funding Approved by Congress!
12/13/2019
$5M Maritime Heritage Grant Funding Approved by Congress!

$5M Maritime Heritage Grant Funding Approved by Congress!

December 12, 2019 Tim Runyan – National Maritime Alliance The House of Representatives last evening approved (377-48) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report authori…

“I would want Columbia to house a performance space where all different types of art would be showcased and experienced....
12/11/2019

“I would want Columbia to house a performance space where all different types of art would be showcased and experienced. And maybe even a cafe/bar— that’d be nice.” Julius Powell, Actor. @julius.jordan What would YOU do with SS Columbia? Travel upriver? Host an event? Let us know! #YourColumbia #sscolumbia #steamboat #nyc #waterfront #arts #theater #historic

“I’d enjoy food and drink on a mobile maritime museum about New York Harbor and the Hudson River, which could involve up...
11/27/2019

“I’d enjoy food and drink on a mobile maritime museum about New York Harbor and the Hudson River, which could involve updated exhibits that make use of state of the art projection and holographic techniques. It would be spectacular indeed if the vessel could be made self-sustaining by means of electric propulsion generated from on board fuel cells. Perhaps the hydrogen could be generated via electrolysis back at the mooring and refilled overnight?” -Chris Coccarro, Senior Broadcast Producer at Merkley+Partners @coccarochris Love your ideas Chris! #YourColumbia What would YOU do with a steamboat in New York? #imagine #sscolombia #historic #steamboat #nyc #sustainability #waterfront #maritime #museum

Save the Date!Giving Tuesday is December 3rd....We'll be in touch
11/23/2019

Save the Date!
Giving Tuesday is December 3rd.
...We'll be in touch

“I would use the boat as a high-end restaurant that also takes people up the Hudson River on a tour.” -Rahul Pillai, Man...
11/20/2019

“I would use the boat as a high-end restaurant that also takes people up the Hudson River on a tour.” -Rahul Pillai, Management Consultant. @rahul.sasi.pillai Next up on #YourColumbia ! Imagine a beautiful traveling restaurant! What would YOU do with a steamboat in New York? DM us if you’d like to be be featured 🚢#sscolumbia #steamboat #historic #nyc #waterfront #traveling #restaurant 🚢 🍽🚢🍽🚢🍽🚢🍽🚢

11/13/2019

We’re kicking off a new series on Instagram: Your Columbia. What would YOU do with a steamboat in NYC? We have been asking all kinds of people to share their ideas and we’re thrilled to open the series with Holly Carter, Founder and Executive Director of BYkids. Head over to our Instagram page to check it out! https://www.instagram.com/p/B40GlZpBIc-/?igshid=m273meu77cmr

11/01/2019
The scan of the SS Columbia

We have a couple big reasons to celebrate this week! November 2 will mark the 40th anniversary of the steamship SS Columbia being added to the National Register of Historic Places. And we're getting the first animations of the photo and laser scans of the ship! These are assembled from the dozens of scan points in and around Columbia. Each scan can contain millions of distance measurements which are saved in a database called a point cloud. Old technology meets new!

Very happy to announce that the crew from Persak & Wurmfeld has finished the laser scan of the Columbia!  Much more to c...
10/21/2019

Very happy to announce that the crew from Persak & Wurmfeld has finished the laser scan of the Columbia! Much more to come, but here's a sneak peak. The first image shows where the scanners were placed on the main deck; the second shows what's called a "dollhouse" compilation of the boat's decks. Very cool technology- old meets new!

We just sent out a very exciting newsletter with updates about restoration work and new people aboard! If you aren't on ...
10/03/2019
SS Columbia Restoration Leaps Forward!

We just sent out a very exciting newsletter with updates about restoration work and new people aboard! If you aren't on our mailing list and would like to be, please let us know. You can also read the piece by clicking the link. Full steam ahead!
https://mailchi.mp/sscolumbia/ss-columbia-restoration-leaps-forward

This past calendar year has been a busy one for us here at The SS Columbia Project. We have made great progress and have a few significant updates that we'd like to share with you.

09/24/2019

It's going to be a busy month on Columbia!
Beginning October 8th, the crew will be aboard prepping the boat for the laser scan. That means stowing equipment and supplies so that they are not in view of the scanner and do not obstruct access to of any portion of the deckhouse. We also need to set up lighting in each space.
The scan crew begins work October 15th It will take four days to scan the full boat.
In addition to the scan, we will be conducting an assessment of the deckhouse structure as the first step in creating a shoring plan to stabilize the decks in preparation for the eventual move from Buffalo to New York Harbor!
Exciting times!

HistoricDetroit.org
09/02/2019

HistoricDetroit.org

On this date 28 years ago, the Boblo boats Columbia and Ste. Claire make their final runs to Boblo Island. The park closed for good two years later.

Photo from the Detroit Free Press archives.

08/21/2019

Some of you have asked how we plan to "green" Columbia's operating plant. To that end, we're exploring the possibilities new technologies have to offer; They all won't necessarily work for Columbia, but we'd thought we'd start sharing some of cooler advances here (no, we have no plans to convert Columbia to a battery-powered car ferry. )
https://maritime-executive.com/article/electric-ferry-makes-record-voyage-in-denmark

Exciting news!  We've chosen Persak & Wurmfeld, www.persakwurmfeld.com, for the laser scan of Columbia's deckhouse and i...
07/24/2019

Exciting news! We've chosen Persak & Wurmfeld, www.persakwurmfeld.com, for the laser scan of Columbia's deckhouse and internal hull. The purpose of the laser scan is capture in great detail all of the scantlings and construction details of the upper deck house and the geometry of the hull. We'll create a permanent digital record of the Columbia, so that we will have in the future all sorts of information including accurate measurements and joinery details. We'll also use it for the basis of 3-D models of what the boat will look like once she's restored. See the photo for an example of the kind of detail we'll be able to reproduce.

We plan to spend about two weeks aboard Columbia in late September/early October. The boat crew will work to clear and prep the decks and cabins so the laser scanners get a clear shot of every portion of each space. The scanning itself should take 5 or 6 days. This work is being co-funded by your generous support and our recent NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and National Park Service grants. THANK YOU!

07/01/2019

An exciting update: Today is the final day of bidding for the laser scan of the SS Columbia. We'll announce the winning bid later this month!

HistoricDetroit.org
06/21/2019

HistoricDetroit.org

On this date 121 years ago, Boblo Island Amusement Park formally opened. For nearly 100 years, the island getaway would be a rite of passage every summer for darn near every Detroiter. Half the fun? Hitching a ride there on the Boblo boats, Columbia and Ste. Claire.

Photo from the Detroit Free Press archives

Crystal Beach memories
06/01/2019
Crystal Beach memories

Crystal Beach memories

In 1989, Crystal Beach amusement park closed its gates after 100 years. Be it the amusement park or the beach itself, many Western New Yorke

Photo by Florida Joe Russello.Please support the SS Columbia Project this holiday season! www.sscolumbia.org/donate
04/18/2019

Photo by Florida Joe Russello.

Please support the SS Columbia Project this holiday season! www.sscolumbia.org/donate

04/02/2019

Hi folks. We are always interested in seeing any photos of or on Columbia that you might have tucked away. Please feel free to share them here!

First up this spring: $ for a laser scan! The goal of the scan is to create an archival record of the existing structure...
03/04/2019

First up this spring: $ for a laser scan! The goal of the scan is to create an archival record of the existing structures, deckhouse and hull. The point cloud data will be used as 1. Reference during the restoration and reconstruction of the vessel 2. Reference for the creation of solid models 3. Basis for the creation of detailed drawings and plans 4. Basis for the creation of orthographic images. Link to donate in bio! #sscolumbia #history #restoration #boating #steamboat

The Project is now raising funds for a full laser scan of the SS Columbia, which will allow us to renovate, repair and r...
02/25/2019
SS Columbia Project | Restore | Protect | Revitalize | Educate

The Project is now raising funds for a full laser scan of the SS Columbia, which will allow us to renovate, repair and restore her exquisite features in exact detail!
Help us take the next step in bringing this historic vessel and premier event space to the New York waterfront and the Hudson River! Every little bit helps whether, it's $5 or $500!
Like our page or visit www.sscolumbia.org for more!

SS Columbia: The People's Boat A boat with 115 years of stories. Make her part of yours. Imagine what it will be like to journey on the restored 1902 passenger steamer SS Columbia as she steams north from New York City into the majestic Hudson Valley. People sun themselves on folding wooden chairs,....

Happy Holidays all!! We are nearing the end of 2018, and we need your help to bring our beautiful ship back to life! Con...
12/26/2018

Happy Holidays all!! We are nearing the end of 2018, and we need your help to bring our beautiful ship back to life! Consider making a donation. Link in bio. 🚢🚢🚢

Today is Giving Tuesday- a global day of giving fueled by the power of collaboration and support for the projects and or...
11/27/2018

Today is Giving Tuesday- a global day of giving fueled by the power of collaboration and support for the projects and organizations that make our world a better place. Please help us continue the great progress we've made in bringing our beloved steamboat to NYC. Link to donate in bio! 🚢🚢🚢 #givingtuesday #sscolumbia #history #steamboat #nyc

SS Columbia Project's cover photo
07/07/2018

SS Columbia Project's cover photo

Dear Friends -It is with a heavy heart that we read the news from Detroit:  Columbia’s sister-ship Ste. Claire was devas...
07/07/2018

Dear Friends -

It is with a heavy heart that we read the news from Detroit: Columbia’s sister-ship Ste. Claire was devastated by fire earlier today.

As so many of you know, the Boblo boats, Columbia and Ste. Claire, brought at least four generations of Detroiters — school children, church and civic groups, and hundreds of thousands of tourists — onto the water.

We were reminded in an email message we received recently of the Boblo Boats' magic - to watch the engines work, to hear them pump like heartbeats, and to feel the heat from the engine room are memories and sensations that will be treasured forever by the many, many people whose lives were enriched by these noble boats.

Happy 116th birthday Columbia!
05/10/2018

Happy 116th birthday Columbia!

On this date 116 years ago, the Boblo boat Columbia was launched. She carted generations of #Detroit families off to the island amusement park until 1991. After years of rotting at dock, she was taken to Toledo, Ohio, for hull work before being towed Sept. 1, 2015, to Buffalo, N.Y., where the SS Columbia Project hopes to renovate her and get her sailing in the Hudson River Valley.

Photo from the Library of Congress

It's spring in Buffalo! Columbia is looking good after a long winter.
05/06/2018

It's spring in Buffalo! Columbia is looking good after a long winter.

April showers bring May flowers!! Come on spring! Looking forward to beautiful days on Columbia's decks... Pic from 1979...
04/27/2018

April showers bring May flowers!! Come on spring! Looking forward to beautiful days on Columbia's decks... Pic from 1979.

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232 E 11th St
New York, NY
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Comments

I sailed aboard her in 1975!
i was on the great ship as a kidd in the 70s picked us up in wyandotte mi and my best part that i watched was the engine i am now a marina owner 1 mile north of wer it picked me up
I thought this article would be interesting to your sites followers.
An invitation to Columbia's launch.
This is a question that's been in my head for awhile, When the restoration of Columbia's funnel is complete, will there be some sort of design or coat of arms on it or will it just be a plain black funnel?
If you are a Canadian and you went to Boblo Island, we want to hear from you! This Saturday October 5th (tomorrow) the Boblo Boats film crew will be at the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market (from 9am - noon) and the Downtown Amherstberg Waterfront from 1pm - 3pm gathering Boblo memories. If you have stories or thoughts on your times at Boblo please send us a message and we will arrange a time to meet you. We are looking for diverse stories from all people. All participants get a free Boblo postcard! Please message our FB page Boblo Boats: a Tale of Two Sisters or send an email to: [email protected] Or just show up at the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market from 9am to noon or by the Amherstburg Waterfront from 1pm - 3pm. Thank you, Aaron Schillinger (Director)
Just curious, what source materials (Deck plans, photographs, passenger recollections, or a combination) will be utilized in the restoration of Columbia's interior?
Why does this boat sit idle in Buffalo, NY? I lived there until my recent move to Arizona, there hasn’t been any activity on board this vessel in 2 years. It sits like the ghost ship it is lonely with many people interested in seeing the inside. This could be a great way to raise some funds toward your restoration project. It isn’t doing you or the people of Buffalo, NY any good just being an eyesore on our water. Please come up with a plan to satisfy everyone.
I have a question about the Columbia: when everything is all said and done and you have a majority of the funds to complete the restoration, will the funnel of the ship remain the way it is, or will it be replaced with a funnel that is more accurate to when the ship was first put in to service? (Apologies if that's a little long)
The laser scan phase is ok. That said, as soon as people are convinced that the boat will become something more than a dockside museum attraction like the Queen Mary then donations will flow in....The cost outlay for reconstruction of the steam engine and totally replace the boilers will be prohibitive, not to mention bringing them up to NYS standards. Insurance costs for such a passenger vessel would be sky high.