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Steamers of Lake Memphremagog, Part 1

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medium_steamer.1.jpgSeveral commercial steamers have operated on Lake Memphremagog over the course of its history. This 44-km (27-mile) international lake, whose southern quarter lies within the state of Vermont, is the longest stretch of navigable water in the Eastern Townships. Newport lies at the south end of the lake, Magog, at the north. Between these towns, with stops along the way, have plied several boats, boats with names like the Memphremagog, the Stars and Stripes, and the Yiocco. The best known of all the steamers were the first -- the Mountain Maid; the largest -- the Lady of the Lake, and the last -- the Anthemis.

The Mountain Maid was built and launched in Georgeville in 1850. At 32-metres (105-feet), the steamer could carry cargo and up to 250 passengers. Sailing daily from Magog to Newport, with stops at Georgeville, Owl’s Head Mountain House, Knowlton Landing, and other docks on the lake. The steamer was piloted (and for a time co-owned) by Captain George Washington Fogg. Fogg had previously run a horse-ferry between Georgeville and Knowlton Landing, on the opposite side of the lake.

The Mountain Maid operated until 1870, when she was hauled out of the water near Knowlton Landing and condemned. In 1878, however, Fogg, who was by then captain of another steamer, the Lady of the Lake, salvaged the old Mountain Maid and had her hull, paddle wheel, floor plan and engine completely re-built. The new Mountain Maid, which looked significantly different from the original, operated until 1892.

(See Steamers of Lake Memphremagog, Part 2)