The Cornell Steamboat Company was founded in the late 1840s by Thomas Cornell in Rondout, New York: the best deep-water port on the Hudson River at the time. Starting out with passenger vessels, the company soon began to develop a fleet of tugboats which were specially built to work on the River. At its peak in the late 1800s, the company had more than sixty towing vessels in operation; soon after, in 1900, the company abandoned the passenger business to concentrate on its towing operations. However, owing to the deepening of the Hudson River, decreased demand for products such as ice and Hudson Valley brick, and faster transportation of goods by rail or truck, the Company eventually sold its assets in 1958 to their biggest customer at the time, New York Trap Rock Corporation. After building a new vessel in 1960 for the sole purpose of moving stone barges between New York City and quarries in the Upper Hudson, the company was acquired by Red Star Towing Company of Brooklyn, New York in 1964.