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Allen Baker  has worked on four of the five Great Lakes in recent weeks and shares the next four fotos.  Massachusetts has that low, upswept “laker look” that reminds me of Grouper, which I’ve not received updates on.  Any guesses on location of the shot and launch date of Massachusetts?

For launch date, you were right if you said . . . 1928!  She’s 79′ x 20′ x 12′ and operates with Great Lakes Towing.  And then there’s Manistee, delivered in May 1943 to Reiss Steamship Company.  Since then, her original triple expansion

steam power plant  was replaced by a slightly-more powerful 2950 hp diesel engine and equipped with a 250′ self-unloader.  By the way, Reiss once owned Grouper, also.

Like most lakers, Manistee is long and narrow (621′ x 60′ x 35′), with a bluff bow, maximizing cargo space, and a wheel house forward with a stern “island” over the power plant.   The oldest laker operating on the “big lakes” is St. Marys Challenger, still hauling bulker cargo since its launch in February 1906!!  It still uses a Skinner Uniflow 3500 hp steam engine.

I took the next two fotos in Muskegon, MI, in June 2008, where Paul H. Townsend has been idled since 2005.  A fascinating detail about Townsend is its conversion:  built in Wilmington, CA in 1945, it was lengthened from 339′ x 50′  to 447′ x 50′ in 1952 . . . in Hoboken, NJ.   The wheelhouse was moved forward in a separate modification in 1958 on Lake Erie.  If you click on the link above, you’ll find before/after fotos.

When last sailing, she hauled gypsum or cement, now more frequently carried on barges pushed by the likes of  Samuel de Champlain.  Notice the same fleet colors.  In this 2008 post, notice the second vessel (in a Lake Ontario port)  down in the same colors as Townsend.

A “laker” moved into the sixth boro in the summer of 2005.  Ocean and Coastal Consultants and Bayshore Recycling use Valgocen (ex-Algocen) in the dredged materials decontamination process (See p. 2 in this newsletter.).  Valgocen currently lives along the Raritan River,

startling me every time I notice it.  A laker . . . in an estuary.  But there it is was, repurposed.  The foto below–as the one above– shows it in the St. Lawrence on its way to the sixth boro towed by tugs from Atlantic Towing Limited.  See important update at the end of this post.

Thanks to Allen Baker for the first four fotos, and to Kent Malo for the last two.

And if you hadn’t felt totally confident, Allen’s fotos were taken in the Calumet River, Chicago, an ocean port.

Unrelated . ..  I’ve been reading DieselDuck’s archives, not homing in on any particular post, just enjoying the sweep of their focus.  Check them out here.

UPDATE:  Jeff’s comment got me looking and –sure enough–Valgocen is no more, having reborn as  J W Shelley, back at work on the Great Lakes, as of this writing between Montreal and Lake Erie. Thanks, Jeff.

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