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Here are previous posts under the category second lives, a designation I use for vessels that are significantly modified from one owner or role to another. The approaching vessel in the next two shots–which I took on the Erie Canal west of Three Rivers in September 2014–show Grand Erie, the newest (built 1951!!) and largest tug in the Erie Canal.


Look at that low Erie Canal design carefully, because


she started life looking like this photo probably taken in 1951 when she was brand new in Pascagoula.  That’s probably the open Gulf of Mexico in the background.

All the black and white photos in this post are credited to Boat Photo Museum.  If anybody wants 8×10 photos, they are $5.00 each, plus postage through the Museum.

1 Chartiers For Tugster Use Only Boat Photo Museum 868

Chartiers was considered a dredge tender.  Here she’s pushing a scow somewhere in the Pittsburgh area.

2 Chartiers For Tugster Use Only Boat Photo Museum 869

And here she’s tied up at the Corps of Engineers repair base at Neville Island, Pittsburgh.  Look carefully at the upper superstructure in this photo, pre-1985.

3 Chartiers For Tugster Use Only Boat Photo Museum 870

In 1985, the vessel was purchased by the New York canals system, then still called the Barge Canal.  The name changed in 1992.  Then, Chartiers traveled to New York state from the Ohio River via St. Louis, the Illinois River, Chicago, and the Great Lakes.

Here’s Dan Owen’s description of the photo:  “This is how it [looked] when I first saw it going up the [Mississippi] Aug. 13, 1985 at St. Louis.  It was on the other side of the river.  The top part of the pilothouse roof was actually cut off to the level of the second deck cabin to get under the bridges in the Chicago area. I do not know how long the pilothouse was 100% air conditioned, all the way from Pittsburgh, or at a shipyard in the St. Louis area. Or, if the pilothouse was welded back on after clearing the Chicago bridges.”

4 Chartiers For Tugster Use Only Boat Photo Museum 872


5 Chartiers For Tugster Use Only Boat Photo Museum 873

Here’s more of Dan’s description:  “These two photos show Chartiers departing Chain of Rocks Lock, Granite City, Ill.  [Notice the helm,] complete with searchlight, sitting on the deck. Also visible are two spare rudders.”

6 Chartiers874

For more comparison, below are three photos of Grand Erie I took in September 2015.  In the photo she’s flanked by Tender #3  starboard and tug Waterford to her port.


Compare this photo of Grand Erie to the second b/w photo above to note all the changes.


And compare this one to the last b/w photo above.


Many thanks to Dan Owen of Boat Photo Museum for use of these photos.  All color photos were taken by myself, Will Van Dorp, in 2014 and 2015.

Here’s how you might be able to add to this collection:  in July 1986 the newly modified Grand Erie came to NYC waters  aka the sixth boro to participate in Liberty Weekend, the rededication of the Statue of Liberty.  Grand Erie served as Governor Cuomo‘s ride.  Does anyone have photos from that time  . . . Grand Erie in NYC in 1986?  I’d love to see them.

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