In 1902 Charles W. Morse acquired control of both overnight steamboat lines on the Hudson River - the People's Line, established in 1835, and the Citizens' Line, established in 1872 - and organized the Hudson Navigation Company to operate them. This company being one of the numerous Morse acquired for his Eastern Steamship Lines and Consolidated Steamship Lines companies.
They were collectively known as the Hudson River Night Line and were advertised as the Searchlight Route (as depicted on this piece's vignette.)The People's Line named its new 411-foot steamer C.W. Morse in his honor in 1904. Morse controlled the Hudson Navigation Company until its bankruptcy in 1921. The receivers quickly changed the name of the C.W. Morse to Fort Orange.
The reorganization was completed in 1926 with company renamed the Hudson River Navigation Corporation. But increased competition on the Hudson forced the company back into bankruptcy in 1932. Operations were taken over by D. F. McAllister and the Hudson River Day Line.
McAllister withdrew in 1935 and the entire operation was sold to Samuel R. Rosoff - a contractor sometimes known as "Subway Sam." He struggled to keep the line going before all night service was ceased in September of 1939.