“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hague in Warren County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Wreck of the Steamboat John Jay

Lakes to Locks Passage


— Lake George Region —

The Wreck of the Steamboat <i>John Jay</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, August 21, 2021
1. The Wreck of the Steamboat John Jay Marker
Tourists and visitors to the Lake George area relied on steamboats to get to Hague from Ticonderoga or Caldwell. The journey was always relaxing and enjoyable, until the evening of July 29, 1856, when the John Jay left Cook's Landing at 6:00 p.m. with 80 passengers aboard. A half-hour into the trip, as the craft passed Friend's Point, flames and suffocating smoke suddenly billowed from her fireroom. The woodpile had caught fire and was burning out of control. The tiller ropes burned making it impossible to steer the craft. Captain E.S. Harris tried to make for shore, but the John Jay slammed into the rocks just south of Harbor Islands and nearly capsized. Distraught passengers jumped overboard, clung to chairs, life preservers, tables – anything that would float.

Its hull destroyed, the John Jay slid back into deeper water, where it sank. Six people drowned and rumors still [obscured] of others who were never found. With the pandemonium and smoke, no one on board, including the captain, realized the shoreline was mere yards away. A plank or two strung between the ship to the ledge of a nearby rock would have
The Wreck of the Steamboat <i>John Jay</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, August 21, 2021
2. The Wreck of the Steamboat John Jay Marker
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allowed frantic passengers to scramble ashore. After this incident, everyone called the ledge Calamity Rock.

The John Jay at Cook's Dock. The John Jay, named after wheeler-dealer and Supreme Court Judge John Jay, was constructed in 1850. It measured 142', weighed 250 tons, and had a powerful 75 horsepower engine that enabled it to cruise at speeds up to 13 miles per hour, a rapid pace for the time. "Steamboat John Jay departing southward from Cook's Landing” by W.R. Miller courtesy of Russell Bellico.

Caldwell Village, New York Woodcut by W.R. Miller from Geason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, 1854. Courtesy of Russell Bellico

Detail Map of Lake George drawn and published by S. R. Stoddard, 1893.

Hague Steamboat Landing Steamboats made daily stops at this landing carrying passengers to Ticonderoga to connect with Lake Champlain [obscured] or south to catch the train at Caldwell (now Lake George Village). Artwork courtesy of the Hague Historical Museum.

Funding for the development of the partnership for Lakes To Locks Passage has been provided by New York State through the Department of Transporlation Scenic Byway Program and Empire State Development as part of Governor George E Pataki's Lake Champlain and Lake George Waterfront Revitalization Initiative.
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New York State, NY Scenic Byways.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is July 29, 1856.
Location. 43° 44.678′ N, 73° 29.919′ W. Marker is in Hague, New York, in Warren County. Marker is on Lake Shore Drive (New York State Route 9N) south of Graphite Mountain Road (New York State Route 8), on the right when traveling north. Marker is at The Hague Visitors Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9060 Lake Shore Dr, Hague NY 12836, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Working Side of Hague (here, next to this marker); Legendary Rocks (here, next to this marker); Town of Hague Centennial (here, next to this marker); Garfield's Hotel & Tavern (within shouting distance of this marker); The Dairy Building (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Hague Market (about 500 feet away); Hague Central School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Hague Heritage Cemetery (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hague.
Additional keywords. The Wreck of the Steamboat John Jay
Credits. This page was last revised on August 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 25, 2021, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 194 times since then and 141 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 25, 2021, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 29, 2022