By Richard S. Alpine and Charles R. Mitchell
The grand age of steamboats on Keuka Lake began in 1835 and was vital to the development of the region. The boats carried excursionists--Victorian tourists--to the resorts and cottages that lined the lakeshore. The communities of Penn Yan, Hammondsport and Branchport that anchor the three branches of the Y-shaped lake flourished. This prosperity helped grow the area's grape and wine production that is so celebrated today. Though the last steamboats were taken out of service in 1915, the romance and nostalgia of the period are preserved in tales of glamorous steamers, the people who worked and traveled on them, the resorts they served and the history they made. Local historians Richard MacAlpine and Charles Mitchell capture the stories, anecdotes and photos from this bygone period.