|The East Coast Years: 1903-1918
Few vessels have had such a long life, gone through as many changes, or as many name changes or ended up as far from the place of her birth as the Asbury Park.
Built for service between New Jersey and New York in 1903, the passenger steamer was built by William Cramp and Sons Shipyard in Philadelphia for the Central Railroad of New Jersey and New York. She would operate as a commuter vessel between the two states.
Fitted out with two four cylinder, triple expansion engines and two nine-foot, six inch propellers, the vessel easily reached 20 knots.
However, her great speed and hull design proved to be a problem. She cast a tremendous wake that damaged boats and shoreside businesses. She was difficult to steer and had many near misses in New York Harbor.
The beautifully appointed vessel was not to work long for her builders. Even at a reduced speed her wake was still damaging, and when the New Jersey shore declined in popularity as a summer home destination, traffic on the vessel dropped.
She was removed from service in 1916 and sat out the duration of World War I.
After the war, however, the Monticello Steamship Corporation of San Francisco began scouring the east coast for a new vessel. They found the Asbury Park in good condition and purchased the vessel. She left the east coast for good on 16 September, 1918 and sailed to San Francisco via the Panama Canal, arriving on October 9th 1919. The second chapter of her long career was about to start.
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