PALACE, Hoboken, NJ – 1931
Originally named the "IDALIA", this luxury steam yacht was built in 1899 by the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding & Engine Works Company at Chester, PA for millionaire Eugene Thompkins, owner and president of the Boston Theater Company. The yacht changed hands several times and was renamed "MALAY II" in 1924 when she was sold to Ms. Mary Weld of Brookline, MA. Like many yachts during the Great Depression, her owner could no longer afford to keep the boat and she was sold in 1930 to Louis Castellano for $36,000. Mr. Castellano moved the yacht to Edgewater, NJ and began converting her to the party fishing boat "PALACE".
Her deckhouse exterior was fine mahogany, her interior was finished with birdseye maple, she had polished brass oil lamps throughout, and even had a stylus player piano. Mr. Castellano gave her the name "PALACE" since he compared the yacht to a palace when he boarded her for the first time.
However, some of the modifications needed to allow her to carry passengers for hire proved costly (such as building bulkheads below deck and having her steel hull strapped.) Consequently, Mr. Castellano decided to sell the "PALACE" to Edward Baletti in April 1931 for cash and an agreement to retain the concession business aboard the vessel.
The "PALACE" began her fishing career later in 1931 and it was a great success for both men. Interestingly, this happened during a time when most other businesses were suffering the ill effects of the Great Depression economy. Photo courtesy of Phil Castellano.