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Monmouth County’s First Steamboat Enters Service

On October 7, 1841, the steamboat Rainbow departed from New York City headed for Albany, “and the intermediate places.” The Rainbow was the first steamship to be built in Monmouth County; she was said to have been built in the yards of Roosevelt and Hoff, the present site of Keyport’s Marine Park. National Archives has Richard Jacques as her builder. Between 1807, when Robert Fulton’s Clermont became the first viable steam-powered vessel, and 1868, at least 55 steamships were built in Keyport, more than Hoboken, Jersey City or Camden during this period. In 1842, the Rainbow began service on the Delaware River, where she would end her years towing canal barges. No images seem to exist of SS Rainbow; the image above is the SS Express, an example of a steamboat that plied the Hudson River in 1841, around the time the Rainbow entered service.

Souces: The Evening Post (New York, N.Y.). October 6, 1841, P. 2.

Reuseille, Leon (1975). Steam Vessels Built in Old Monmouth 1841 – 1894. J. I. Farley Printing Service, Inc., Brick Township, N.J.

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