Derby History Quiz

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The Naugatuck - part of the Naugatuck Valley Steamboat Co. fleet

We've had quizzes before highlighting some of the maritime history of Derby, and some find it hard to believe just how rich a history it is! The picture above provides further evidence about the extent of its importance.

In 1887, Col. H. Holton Wood (of Derby Public Library Fame!) established the Naugatuck Valley Steamboat Company. He was also an investor in the Derby Horse Railway which helped carry freight to the Derby Landing docks where the Steamboat Company's fleet was loaded for the trip to Pier 39 on the East River in New York City. (See 1888 ad above.)

The first two boats were the Housatonic and the Ruggles. The Naugatuck was then built for the Steamboat Company. It had an iron hull and was 159 feet long. Sometime in the 1890s it was lengthened by 29 feet by other owners and renamed the Tarpon. In 1937, she went to a watery grave in the West Indies. Thanks to information supplied by Randy Ritter, you can read about the demise of the Tarpon (and maybe even visit it yourself!) by clicking here.

The Naugatuck Valley Steamboat Company was hardly the first to provide steamboat service from Derby. Steamboat travel probably dates back to about 1824, and the Naugatuck Transportation Company was organized in 1843 with Derby, Milford and Stratford being serviced.

The information for this quiz comes from "The Derby Horse Railway and the World's First Electric Freight Locomotive" by John R. Stevens.

Correct answers were received from: Randy Ritter, Millie from Ansonia, Ann Searles, Eileen Krugel, Dominick Thomas, Jack Skelding, Jack O'Callaghan, Glenn Stevens, L. Nappi, and Joan Driscoll.

To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.