The pictures which we give herewith is an accurate representation of what is called the Floating Palace, as it lately appeared at Mobile, Ala. It was built for the purpose of equestrian exhibitions, and it has been improved at the Levee in New Orleans, and at various places on the Mississippi River, during some length of time.
It was rather a novel idea to construct a curious ship—a regular moveable theatre; but it is said to have succeeded far beyond the expectations of its owners. It is not a sham built affair, but it is really very finely fitted, and perfect in every respect. The interior is a most commodious amphitheatre.
The “dress-circle,” as it is termed, consists of eleven hundred cane bottom arm-chairs, each numbered to correspond with the ticket issued.
The “family-circle,” comprises cushioned settees for some five hundred persons, while the residue of the accommodations are comprised in nine hundred gallery seats. The amphitheatre is warmed by means of hot water pipes or steam, and altogether it is an exceedingly comfortable and pleasurable exhibition-room. The interior is lighted bye over a hundred brilliant gas jets, forming a great ornament in their construction, and supplied by a gas apparatus on board—this furnishes the entire light for the vestibule, the halls, offices, saloons, green rooms, dressing-rooms and the stable. A chime of bells is attached to the structure, and discourses most eloquent music previous to each performance, while Drummond-lights render the neighborhood of the floating palace brilliant during the exhibition. Every deception to delude the visitor into the idea that he is in a spacious theatre in shore is used, and it is difficult to realize that one is on the water during the performance. The whole is improved by Spalding & Rogers’s united circus companies. Taken altogether it is a most curious, original and interesting affair, and we have therefore selected it as something that would interest our readers. It is now in active operation in the waters of Alabama, and attracts as many visitors to see the structure itself, as to witness the excellent performances that are conducted within its walls by the enterprising managers.
Reprinted from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, February 19,1853.