Lake Minnetoka, MN Pleasure Steamer MARY Explodes, July 1880

WESTERN STEAMBOAT DISASTER.

FATAL EXPLOSION OF A BOILER -- FOUR PERSONS KILLED AND SEVEN INJURED.

St. Paul, Minn., July 1. -- The steamer MARY exploded her boiler while lying at the Hotel St. Louis Dock, on Lake Minnetoka, to-day. The MARY is a pleasure steamer, that has plied on the lake for several years. Two other steamers, whose boilers came from the same factory, have previously exploded, causing loss of life, and the steamer was generally avoided. She had several passengers to-day, however, together with her crew, four of whom were killed by the explosion, and seven wounded. The boat was completely wrecked, and sank in five feet of water. It has been discovered that the owner of the boat, GEORGE B. HALSTED, of Excelsior, knew his boiler was sprung, but as there is no official inspection on Lake Minnetonka, permitted her to be run until she exploded. There is great indignation here at the carelessness with which these boats are managed.
The fireman of the MARY tells the following story: "I don't know what caused the accident. We had been at the Hotel St. Louis dock a little while, waiting for the passengers. I was standing on the pier, ready to let go the head line, and was in the act of freeing the line when the pilot, JOHN W. STEWARD, cried 'All aboard.' Just at this instant the explosion took place, and I was covered with ashes, and the steam scalding water was rushing all over me. I saw the engineer, WILLIAM CHADWICK, and he was instantly killed, going down in the midst of the wreck. I was talking to a colored boy named HARRY at the time, and he was blown out into the lake 100 feet. It was an awful sight. A lot of boats were got out, and pulled for HARRY and got him. The Illinois man was blown down on the dock and badly hurt. I can't twll why the boiler burst. When I left the boat the boiler carried more than two gauges of water and had very little steam on. There was scarcely and fire in the fire-box, and I was thinking I would have to build a new fire as soon as we pulled from the dock."
The way it came that the ladies on the after part of the steamer were not hurt was because the wreck all blew forward, and the ladies just stepped from the deck to the dock as the explosion occurred. Had they been forward instead of aft, all must have been killed. At the dock where the steamer burned there was not more than five feet of water, and, of course, the hull could not get out of sight. The explosion of the steamer badly damaged the dock. The boat was on her way to Wayzata to take on board an excursion party of 100 persons.
The following is a list of the killed and wounded:
The Dead.
CHADWICK, WILLIAM, engineer of the MARY, instantly killed.
GAINES, C. A., head-waiter at Hotel St. Louis, instantly killed.
PLATTENBURG, J. R., of Canton, Ill., a guest at the Hotel St. Louis, died after two hours of suffering.
STEWARD, JOHN W., pilot of the MARY.
The Wounded.
ADAMS, FRANK, chief clerk of Hotel St. Louis, scalded and hurt in the eye.
"COLORED JIM," porter at Hotel St. Louis, scalded and burned.
DIMOND, A. S., of Minneapolis, shocked and prostrated.
"ENGLISH GEORGE," scalded and bruised.
LANG, _____, porter at Hotel St. Louis, scalded and bruised.
PERKINS, EDWIN P., fireman of the MARY, scalded on the face and neck.
_____, HARRY, a colored boy, very badly hurt, his arm being dislocated, and his body scalded.

The New York Times New York 1880-07-02