Tales From Macculloch Hall

The Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909

Earlier this month the 107th anniversary of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909 passed, without public notice. That spectacular two-week celebration took place in New York Harbor upon the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the river that would be named after him. The celebration also commemorated the 110th anniversary of the first voyage of a steamship on the river, Robert Fulton’s Clermont.

Our Macculloch-Miller family was heavily involved in the planning and proceedings. Captain Jacob W. Miller, Louisa and George Macculloch’s youngest grandson, wrote the nine-page proposal and outline for the inaugural naval tribute and parade of September 25, 1909, which is now in our archives. Think of that parade as the first “Op-Sail.” Miller served as the Commodore of the Naval Parade Committee. His son, Henry Wise Miller (husband of famous writer Alice Duer Miller) was an aide on the parade staff.

Also in our archives are two photographs from that day of the two replica ships, the Half Moon and the Clermont. One shows the (surely unplanned) collision between the ships in the midst of the festivities. We also have a souvenir chunk of wood broken from the Half Moon in the incident. You might expect a mini-exhibition of our archival materials for the 110th anniversary of this day in September/October, 2019.

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