At the 1898 Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition held in Omaha, Nebraska, visitors could take a ride on a lagoon on a swan boat. I included a stereograph showing the swan boat in my latest Flickr album Stereographs of Fairs and Expositions:
I’ve found more swan boats from other places and times in the varied holdings of the Prints & Photographs Division. Two years before the Trans-Mississippi Expo., in 1896, a photographer captured a group in Central Park in New York City. They are riding in (please forgive me) what appears to be a swan-toon boat. Get it? I’ve combined swan with pontoon!
From the Detroit Publishing Company Collection comes this early 20th-century view of two swan boats in the Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts:
A motor-powered swan boat crosses the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., in this 1941 photo from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photograph Collection. If you look closely above the Jefferson Memorial, which is under construction, you will see a blimp. This may be one of the airships that took tourists for a ride above the nation’s capital.
The great tradition of swan boats continues to the present day! This more personal-sized boat was photographed in 2018 in Providence, Rhode Island:
If you’ve been a passenger in a swan boat, let us know in the comments.
- View more images related to the Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- See the Detroit Publishing Company’s extensive coverage of Boston, Massachusetts.
- Bask in the assorted activities and scenes of Central Park.