“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Urbanna in Middlesex County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Steamboat Era

Urbanna, Virginia


— The Museum in the Streets® —

Steamboat Era Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 25, 2021
1. Steamboat Era Marker
Inscription.  The golden era of steamboats began when two steam-powered side-wheel vessels out of Norfolk named Petersburg and Albemarle arrived in 1821 at the mouth of Urbanna Creek. In 1828, a Baltimore firm started the first commercial steamboat route on the Rappahannock River. Urbanna was one of the main stops. Early side-wheel steamers were unable to turn around in the creek. The steamers had to anchor in the Rappahannock River and launches (small boats) met the stemers, which brough passengers, U.S. Mail and other goods from the city. Steamboat traffic increased as propeller drive steamers could maneuver inside the creek. In 1845, Alfred Palmer opened Palmer's Wharf here at the foot of Watling Street. By the 1880's there were two other wharves in town; Gressitt's Wharf (located at Upton's Point Marina) and Donaldson's (located near Queen Anne's Cove Condos). When Palmer sold his wharf to Columbus (Captain Lum) Burton in the 1880s, the name was changed to Burton's Wharf and, later, to Urbanna Wharf-No. 12. A Civil War veteran, Burton, with his wife Lucy, raised a large family and ran a boarding house (Burton House) in their home just
Steamboat Era Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 25, 2021
2. Steamboat Era Marker
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up from the wharf. The last steamboat, Anne Arundel, entered Urbanna Creek in 1937. As she stopped here on a final excursion trip from Baltimore, people closed their businesses and came out of their homes to watch an end of an era.
Erected by The Museum in the Streets®. (Marker Number 4.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Postal Mail and Philately 📭, and the The Museum in the Streets®: Urbanna, Virginia series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1821.
Location. 37° 38.016′ N, 76° 34.316′ W. Marker is in Urbanna, Virginia, in Middlesex County. Marker is on Watling Street (Virginia Route 1004) 0.1 miles east of Urbanna Road (Virginia Route 227), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 45 Watling St, Urbanna VA 23175, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bridge Over the Creek (within shouting distance of this marker); Overlook (within shouting distance of this marker); Watling Street and Urbanna's Master Builder (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cross Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Backyard Garden Was Essential (approx. 0.2
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miles away); Prettyman’s Rolling Road (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Hub For Commerce (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oysters (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Urbanna.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 25, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 30 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 25, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Nov. 30, 2021