Panel of stereoview (1897) Dedication of Grant's Tomb-the Yacht Sultana. Only sold by Griffith & Griffith, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Liverpool, England. This stereoview was possibly taken by William Rau (1855-1920) of Philadelphia, who worked periodically for Griffith & Griffith.
A nearly identical photo of the Sultana attributed to John S. Johnston (c. 1839-1899). Courtesy Library of Congress. It appears to have been taken moments before or after the stereoview. She served in the U.S. Navy during the First World War doing coastal duty. In 1919, Edwin Levick (1868-1929) photographed her as well. She may also survive on an oil on canvas (privately owned) by that denizen of the Erie Basin, William G. Yorke. If indeed it is Sultana, Yorke got away with painting her hull black, which it wasn't.
by A.J. Peluso Jr.
If you collect pictures of boats, you may never know everything you wanted to know about them, but sometimes knowing just the clues can be fascinating.
The steam yacht Sultanawas the pride of Trenor L. Park, a ridiculously rich New York businessman and yachtsman. His 88,000-square-foot home, Hill Crest, sat on 220 acres in White Plains, New York. The yacht was commissioned for Park and his bride, Julia Hunt Catlin, in 1889.
The Sultana was a three-masted, steel, topsail schooner, designed by J. Beavor Webb and built by Handren and Robbins at Brooklyn's Erie Basin. She was 187' overall with a 27'6" beam. The New York Timesnoted, "The main saloon [was to be] furnished in quarter-sawn oak, decorated in cream, gold and blue after the Italian Renaissance period. The same splendor [was to] prevail in the private cabin of Mr. Park and in Mrs. Park's boudoir." It also had a photographic darkroom. All this came at a cost upward of $150,000. At the launch, the New York Times also noted that there "were at least 500 persons present by invitation and added to these were about 1500 persons who got in by cheek alone."
The Parks spent their honeymoon on the yacht and later crossed the Atlantic about 75 times, according Julia Park's memoirs. "We cruised from the Windward Isles to South America. One time we cruised for a year and a half from North Cape to Suez, stopping wherever and for as long as we pleased."
Trenor Park was a lawyer and banker, and he developed a silk merchant business during two years in China and Japan. He spent much of his time competing: with his yacht Vim he won the 1906 Roosevelt Cup; he sailed at Marblehead against yachts from the Kaiserlicher Yacht Club; and he competed with his Nathanael Herreshoff sloop Mimosa III. He was commodore of the American Yacht Club and a member of the New York Yacht Club and the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club. He belonged to the Metropolitan Club, the Union League, Lotos Club, Harvard Club, Racquet Club, St. Nicholas Club, and Westchester's St. Andrew's Golf Club.
When not cruising, Julia Park busied herself with many worthy causes. Trenor Park died in October 1907, and Julia Park later moved to France, where she befriended Rudyard Kipling and married French General E.M.A. Taufflieb. The yacht was, in the meantime, sold to Mrs. Harriman—a name sufficiently detailed as to identify her as the wife of the railroad mogul E.H. Harriman. During the First World War, Julia Taufflieb turned her chateau into a hospital, not far from the front. For her heroic work, she received the Légion d'honneur and Croix de guerre. Mrs. Taufflieb died in 1947.
It's all in the stereoview.
|Sultana (ex-collection E. Donald Roberts, Detroit, Michigan, 1897). Courtesy Library of Congress. Dictionaries give second meaning to "Sultana" as the mistress of the sultan, king, or prince. From the Italian feminine of sultano.|
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2012 Maine Antique Digest