Wilson Lines ships photographic reproductionsCreation: 1890-1954
The Wilson Lines was a steamboat company that was popular for traveling between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware and Riverview Beach, New Jersey. This small collection of copy photographs contains mostly exterior views of several Wilson Lines steamboats between 1890 and 1955.
- Creation: 1890-1954
- Wilson Line (Wilmington, Del.) (Organization)
0.25 Linear Foot
General Physical Description
58 photographic reproductions : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
The Wilson Lines was a steamboat company that was popular for traveling between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; Riverview Beach, New Jersey, as well as on the Potomac up to Massachusetts. Although the company's roots go back to 1820, it founded in 1882 by J. Shields Wilson (1834-1903?) as the Wilmington Steamboat Company. The Wilson family sold the company in 1929 to a syndicate of Wilmington & Philadelphia interests headed by George B. Junkin and was renamed the Wilson Line, Inc.
The earliest ships were the Wilmington (also known as “Little Wilmington”), the Brandywine, the City of Chester and the City of Trenton. The Little Wilmington was the first Wilson Liner. In 1888 the City of Chester was built by Harlan & Hollingsworth; it was the second Wilson Liner. The ship was originally a passenger and a freighter, before it was converted and modernized. Wilson’s son, Captain Horace Wilson (1862-1948) was made master of the ship the Brandywine. Throughout the years the number of ships increased; most notably in 1923 when two identical ships the State of Delaware and the State of Pennsylvania were added.
In 1955, Wilson Lines Inc., both the fleet and wharves became a subsidiary of City Investing Company of New York and was renamed the Wilson Excursion Lines. Lawrence C. Campbell (former Wilson Vice President) was appointed as president of the reorganized Wilson Excursion Lines. Later Colonel Allan MacNicol formally the the director of Playland, Rye, New York, becomes president. As part of the revitalization of the Wilson Lines, two popular ships are refurbished and redecorated.
In 1960, the State of Pennsylvania made her last voyage and was retired to Wilmington. She foundered in 1970. By 1970 most of the steamboats had been sold; many were sold to Joseph Wilson Jr. (1888-1967), Captain Horace Wilson’s son. Hydrofoil boats began to take over and the time of Wilson Lines steamboats ended.
Scope and Content
This small collection of copy photographs contains mostly exterior views of several Wilson Lines steamboats between 1890 and 1955. The views of the steamboat show the full exterior generally from the side, sometimes from the bow or front of ship. The boats are either docked at a wharf or out on a river. There are a few interior views, mainly of ballrooms on ships. There are a few images of the engine room on one ship. There is also a portrait of a man identified as Chief Parson and views of a hot dog machine from off one of the Wilson riverboats.
Existence and Location of Originals
Originals returned to owner.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Wilson Lines ships photographic reproductions
- Laurie Rizzo
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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