Book Launch Party! The Sinking of the Steamboat Lexington on LI Sound

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Book Launch Party! The Sinking of the Steamboat Lexington on LI Sound

Join us for the OFFICIAL History Press BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!!! Book Release: The Sinking of the Steamboat Lexington on Long Island Sound

By Suffolk County Historical Society

When and where

Date and time

Saturday, April 15 · 1 - 3pm EDT


Suffolk County Historical Society 300 West Main Street Riverhead, NY 11901

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About this event

  • 2 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

This is the Official History Press BOOK LAUNCH PARTY and will include a Book Sale & Author Signing. The author will make his just-published book available for a flat fee of $26 each, by cash, check, or credit credit by PayPal or Venmo.

Maritime historian Bill Bleyer will detail the story of the steamboat Lexington--from its unique construction to its harrowing demise and current efforts to document the wreck--the subject of his latest Long Island history book. Commissioned by "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt as he built his maritime empire in New York, the Lexington was the fastest, most luxurious steamboat on Long Island Sound. On a bitter cold night in January 1840, a fire broke out that quickly spread throughout the wooden vessel. The lifeboats were swamped before the steamboat could be stopped, and no rescue boats responded in time. Only 4 of the more than 145 people on board survived after the vessel sank, northwest of Port Jefferson, by clinging to cotton bales, including second mate David Crowley who drifted for more than 40 hours until he came ashore in Riverhead. The disaster intensified the national debate about steamboat safety, and an image of the blaze launched the career of lithographer Nathaniel Currier. After initial salvage attempts, the wreck remained unseen until it was rediscovered by a team of divers in 1983.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A prizewinning staff writer for Newsday for 33 years specializing in history and maritime issues, Bill Bleyer retired in 2014 to write books and freelance for the newspaper and magazines. He is co-author, with Harrison Hunt, of Long Island and the Civil War (2015) and the author of four other books: Sagamore Hill: Theodore Roosevelt’s Summer White House (2016), Fire Island Lighthouse: Long Island’s Welcoming Beacon (2017), Long Island and the Sea: A Maritime History (2019), and George Washington’s Long Island Spy Ring: A History and Tour Guide (2021). The Hofstra University graduate has taught economics and journalism there and history at Webb Institute, the naval architecture college in Glen Cove.

About the organizer