Jamestown Historical Society

Night Boats to Newport: the Fall River Line

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Jan 25 2023
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

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Sign up for this FREE presentation by New York award-winning author and journalist John Henry by clicking below:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar, “Night Boats to Newport: Remembering the ‘Floating Palaces’ of the Illustrious Fall River Line.”

The Fall River Line, which operated year-round overnight passenger service between New York, Newport, and Fall River, Mass., from 1847 to 1937, called itself “the most famous inland water travel route in America.” That was probably no exaggeration. Noted for their reliability, impressive size and sumptuous public rooms, the company’s elegant white steamers offered a means of transportation that drew the patronage of many of the most powerful and prominent people in the land as well as ordinary folks, including many from Jamestown.

John Henry, a former reporter for Long Island’s Newsday and the NY Daily News, has written for decades on travel and transportation for newspapers in the US and Canada. His 2013 book about the largest fleet of passenger steamers ever to ply North America’s inland waters — “Great White Fleet: Celebrating Canada Steamship Lines Passenger Ships” — won him the C. Bradford Mitchell Award from the Steamship Historical Society of America for his dedicated service to the field of maritime heritage. He lives in New York City.

Steamship Commonwealth, Fall River Line – the last and largest of the fleet, measuring 456 feet in length, launched in 1908. (Courtesy of the Fall River Public Library)
Grand Saloon of the Steamship Priscilla, Fall River Line (Courtesy of the Fall River Public Library)