In the summer of 1873, St. John's Guild in New York City hired a barge and gave two excursions for sick children. During the trips, the children could be given basic medical treatment. In 1874, 18 more trips accommodated more than 15,000 children. The success led to the guild establishing the Emma Abbott, the first floating hospital. It made its trial run on this date in 1875. The ship became known as the "poor children's yacht." It cost $20,000 and was 215 feet long and 40 feet across. The ship operated until 1902.
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