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She started out as S. O. Co. No. 14 from a shipyard not far from her current Penn’s Landing berth and worked for almost 80 years.   For more on that story, read this article from the historiccamdencounty.com.

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The next two photos are credited to Bonnie Halda, who took them last week.

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Baltimore, completed in 1906, was built at the same yard as Pegasus,  1907.

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Except for the two credited to Bonnie Halda, all photos were taken by Will Van Dorp.   For a post with more photos of these old-timers and others, click here.

For an even older and much modified one, click here for a post I did on Charlotte, built in 1880 as a sandbagger.  Click here for info on Swell, a repurposed 1912 tug operating in British Columbia.

Here and here are previous posts that feature this vessel, LV-87 Ambrose.  The first two photos below come from Birk Thomas in late winter 2012, as Ambrose was finishing up some yard work and then

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in March headed back to South Street Seaport Museum. 

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I took the remaining photos, the one below as the lightship was bathed in fireworks light on July 4 this year.

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The next two photos I took last week, trying to highlight Christmas red.

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By the way, next week I plan a post of any work vessel–or replica thereof–decorated for Christmas in some way.  I have a few already, but if you have such a photo to share, send it along soon.  Click here for some Christmas-related workboat photos from two years ago.

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Two older sister ships of Ambrose are Barnegat, LV 79, ex-Cape Lookout Shoal,  and delivered on 1 December 1904, now languishing in Pyne Point NJ; and

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Swiftsure, LV-83, ex-Relief, and delivered on 22 December 1904.  I’m wondering if there’s a photo showing both vessels in Camden at the shipyard in –say–October 1904, just prior to delivery.    I took both photos in summer 2010.

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Going back to this record of New York Shipbuilding history, does anyone know what became of LV 88 Columbia River, supposedly sold to Japan in 1988?

This post shows a photo of LV 84 Brunswick and tells of its demise.  Click here for other posts on lightships.  One lightship I’d really like to see is this one from 1911 in Surinam.

The top two photos credit to Birk Thomas;  all the others to Will Van Dorp.

 

The top three photos in this post come thanks to Kyle Stubbs, who has contributed photos here before, not to mention many photos on uglyships, which is how we first met.   He’s not Seabart.

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I’ll tell you more about this fishing boat in a bit, but that mud says it has been below the surface of the water, and it ain’t a submarine.

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Some claim it’s the most famous fishing boat in the world, although that sounds hyperbolic.   Guesses?

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It’s Western Flyer, the boat chartered by John Steinbeck AND Ed Ricketts, which served as the platform for their expedition to the Sea Of Cortez aka Gulf of California.  Click here for an interesting article on how marketing removed Ricketts’ name from the Log from the Sea of Cortez account.  The vessel is currently undergoing a $2 million restoration.

Log from the Sea from Cortez is well-worth reading, although my favorite is Cannery Row, in which Ricketts is portrayed as the marine biologist.  For a portion of Log, click here.  My favorite pages in that excerpt are the second half of p. 6 and all of p. 7,  and the second half of p. 14 onto top of 15.

Tangentially related:  the elusive bowsprite has responded to an updated book on the Sea of Cortez here.

Many thanks to Kyle for these photos, taken in Port Townsend. 

 

Two tugboats built that year are still around:  Daniel McAllister (108.9′ x 23′) was built in Collingwood on Lake Huron, and Pegasus (96′ x 23′) on the Chesapeake in Baltimore.  Pegasus was launched as S. O. Co. No. 16 and Daniel  . . . as Helena.  Daniel worked until the 1980s;  Pegasus worked until 1997, retiring after nine full decades of service. Pegasus still runs, making its most recent trip here.

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Off Pegasus‘ stern, that’s the lightship/luxury yacht Nantucket.

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Daniel is in the old port of Montreal, certainly a place to wander around for awhile.

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Here Pegasus was about to depart Caddell Dry Dock back in March 2010.

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And here Pegasus was returning to the sixth boro from Mystic back in October 2010.

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I’m wondering about the claim that Daniel is the second largest preserved tugboat in the world.  I believe Hercules–also 1907!!!–is the largest at 151′ x 26.’  Where does Pegasus rank in this comparison:  third, fourth, ??

 

All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

 

I did two posts on Badgerhere and here–back in 2012.  But until these photos this week, which I’m using with permission from FB’s SS Badger: Lake Michigan Car Ferry, I’d never seen her underwater ship lines.

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Above, that’s a ice-reinforced hull.  Read about her dry dock visit here.

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As I write, she’s in dry dock for a few more days at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

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Here are some photos I took back in 2012 as she was departing Ludington MI for Manitowoc WI.

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Yes, she burns coal to this day, (one of) the last vessel (s) fueled by coal in the US.  For a good summary of her old and current technology, click here.  To see what goes on in her engine room, click here.

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When she entered service in the 1950s, she was designed primarily to transport railcars across the Lake.  Click here to read a story on the vessel published in Professional Mariner about two years ago.

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The next two photos are NOT of Badger but rather her twin, Spartan.  By the way, the badger is the mascot of University of Wisconsin and the spartan . . . of Michigan State University.   There was a double christening in September 1952,  but since 1979, Spartan has been laid up at the dock in Ludington.

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I hope to ride the Badger, 60 water miles of an almost 600-mile US Route 10,  again this coming summer.

Many thanks to SS Badger for use of the first four photos, taken this past month;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

And to close this with a digression, here’s a one-of-a-kind I saw displayed at the dock in Manitowoc when I was there.

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I’m thrilled to discover entirely new stories, like this one, which I found after following up some info I’d seen on a historical marker sign in Bath, NC, a month ago.  Click here and scroll to see the historical marker.  I saw it briefly in the headlights but took no photos.

When I googled “floating theater bath nc,” I learned a book had been written about this barge and immediately ordered a copy of the book, where I got the stories, including the one about “G-string” shows, which I’ll explain at the end of this post.  I guarantee you’ll be surprised.  Click here for some details about Prof. Gillespie’s process in writing the book.

James  Adams used two tugs–Elk and Trouper— to move the “floating theater” from town to town in the Chesapeake and the estuarial fingers of North Carolina back in the days when movie theaters and certainly mass entertainment penetrated into all the hamlets and backwaters of this portion of the US.

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Although I’d never heard of this entertainment in the backwaters where I was born, it’s fairly well covered with blogposts like this and newspaper articles like this. The Chesapeake Log has done a story.   In fact, there’s a group that wishes to recreate the barge.

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Needless to say, any project on the water always faces this danger from its element, among other perils.

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November 1929

Between venues, Elk and Trouper would tow the barge, like horses moving the old time traveling carnival to the next town.

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Now about “G-string” shows . . . From page 63 of the book, “there were three primary comic characters in the repertoire theater . . .[one was the G-string character], an old man, the geezer.  He was evolved from the 19th century comic Yankee character, sometimes with a dose of the frontiersman thrown in.  …  squeaky male voice and a goatee-like beard.  The cartoon Uncle Sam is a G-string character.”  I’ve looked online for other references to this meaning of G-string . . . with no corroboration.

Who knew?  Edna Ferber and her Showboat . . . which I don’t know well . . . I thought that was based on Mississippi traffic.  The sixth boro and the Hudson have their very own Lehigh Valley 79 Showboat Barge as in here, here, and here.  There was once the floating entertainments of Periwinkle and Driftwood . . .  now all gone.And the whole eastern seaboard has Amara Zee . . . (scroll) Caravan Stage Company.

I think it’s high time Edna Ferber’s story gets reinterpreted as a movie, this time including Elk and Trouper.

 

Earlier this “classic boat” month I posted contemporary photos of Millie B, ex-Pilot, USACE.

The first two photos below and the last one come thanks to “Barrel.”  I can’t accurately characterize what each is;  I’ll leave that to you.

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The middle two photos below come compliments of William Lafferty, frequent commenter, here, who writes, “[This photo] shows it at work, escorting McAllister tugs moving the sections of a floating drydock on the C & D Canal in April 1966.  One can barely see her Smith sister, Convoy, aside the drydock on the left in the foreground.”  Anyone care to speculate whether the nearer McAllister tug is none other than John E. McAllister, now known as Pegasus?  Also, where were these dry docks headed?

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And, “[This] one shows it at Fort Mifflin in January 1996 while, obviously, still with the Corps.”

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Here Pilot awaits off the port side of Goethals, built in Quincy MA, and used from 1939 until 1982 and scrapped in 2002. The category here–sump rehandler–sent me on a chase for answers that ended here.  New Orleans–the sump rehandler–was also built as a dredge in Quincy in 1912 before conversion and use until deactivation in 1963 and eventual scrapping.

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Finally, last photo is from Barrel, and shows Pilot Palmyra showing a crane barge through the C & D Canal.

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Thanks to Barrel and William Lafferty for these photos.

Interested in self-unloading vessels as seen here on tugster?  Read Dr. Lafferty’s book.

Which leads me to a a digression at the end of this post:  Day Peckinpaugh once had an self-unloading system.  Does anyone know the design?  Are there photos of it intalled anywhere?  The photo below I took in the belly of D-P back in September 2009.

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Here’s a post I did on McClintic and another I did on Cotter.

Today’s post comes out of a response I received yesterday from retired FDNY dispatcher and historian, Al Trojanowicz, who wrote, “The full photo is fire aboard SAUGUS, American Export Lines (1919) with fireboat WILLIAM F GAYNOR (1914) alongside, and a mystery vessel off to left.  Appears to be similar configuration to the quarantine tug, and original print shows and what looks like a government pennant displayed with a circular or ships-wheel design.  The information below is all I have found on this fire, and was the caption pasted to the back of the print.  Those ladders seen on forward well deck may be accessing the hold – or from another vessel rafted on the port side.”

The caption pasted on the back reads:  “10/2/1926 Fire in freighter Saugus. Photo caption READS  “FIREBOATS STAGE SPECTACULAR BATTLE AND SAVE FREIGHTER!”    Fireboats fought a brilliant battle, October 2nd, and saved the freighter Saugus from burning to the water’s edge in the East River, New York. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the rolls of thick black smoke issuing from the hold, attracted passing craft, and fire patrols. This photo shows the ship which was loaded mostly with cotton, removed frantically by the hands, off New York City.”  (10-2-26) [Photo shows fireboat William J. Gaynor alongside Saugus. An unknown launch is rafted outboard of Gaynor, and an unknown vessel to the left.]  

The caption says . . . East River, but the background to me looks like Staten Island seen from mid-Upper Bay.

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So here’s a closer up of that unknown vessel.  Is it flying the USPHS flag?

I’d speculate that this is a US PHS cutter.  I’ve been unable to find a listing of these–like McClintic–based in New York.  Also, although today’s FDNY boats have medical response equipment on board and FDNY personnel receive first responder training, back in 1926 they probably did not.  And this raises another whole set of questions like, what was training like in the 1926 FDNY, what medical equipment if any was there on board FDNY vessels, and would USPHS vessels have a role in assisting during fires on the water and along the shores and docks?  It ask strikes me that–given the amount of smoke emanating from the stacks of these steamers made a fire on the water look very different from one today, where all the smoke you see is from the emergency, not the routine use of fuel.   Finally, I’m guessing this fire was not catastrophic consequence given that no story appears in the NYTimes archives and SS Saugus continued in service until 1946, when it as scrapped.

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Al also sent along this photo of the Buffalo fireboat Cotter (1900), still in service.  Here is a photo of it in 1924, probably in Buffalo.   At that date it was still known by its original name, William S. Grattan.  In 1928, while fighting a fire on the Buffalo River, it was heavily damaged and rebuilt.

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Many thanks to Al Trojanowicz for these photos and questions.  Click here and scroll for more information from Al on FDNY Marine division.

Note:  This is day 13 of December, tugster’s classic/historic vessel month.  If you have photos/stories to share that fit the “classic” parameters, please get in touch.

I don’t make much fuss about Christmas for reasons I explained here 10 years ago;  when I really want something and I can afford it, I just get it.  Of course, I have no problems with anyone going all out with gifts.  Books and experiences make the best gifts.  Experiences . . . teach you and you can remember them forever.

Books . . . you read them once and then read them again or give them to someone you think will enjoy them as much as or more than you did.  See the book cover below . . .  great cover and fabulous book.  Inside you find crisp photos, reproductions of painting of McAllister vessels,  family stories,  . . . even an owners’ family tree that clarifies some of the boat names.  The story starts in 1864 as James McAllister (generation 1) stood on the northeast coast of Ireland about to emigrate across the Atlantic.

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One of my favorite stories involves the boat below, launched from Newport News Shipbuilding Co. in May 1909 as John Twohy, Jr, for Lambert’s Point Tow Boat Company.  Renamed J. P. McAllister, this boat served as a platform for the one-and-only Harry Houdini‘s escape from handcuffs and leg irons inside  a nailed-shut, weighted packing case.  Here’s a reference to this event in a recent NYTimes, but in this book, you get two photos of the event and facsimiles of the contemporary news story and the J. P. McAllister logbook entry, all attesting to the tremendous research involved in this beautifully produced volume.

One more great story . . . typical of struggles to divide up ownership in any family business.  When disagreement came to a head in on a cold Easter Sunday morning in 1904, “the partners decided to work out the percentages once and for all by meeting on a tugboat, taking it offshore, and not returning until they had an agreement.”  Now Capt. Jim (generation 2) told his 6 year-old son A. J. to wait at the pier until they all returned.  Which happened to be as night fell.  Here’s how it’s told:   “Capt. Jim … his face covered in blood . . .  jumped off [the boat onto the pier where A. J. had waited all day], grabbed A. J. by the hand, and said, ‘That’s it.  It’s settled.  The issue is settled.'”

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Below is one of my many favorite full-page photos in the book.  Another photo a few pages later adds detail not unlike Birk Thomas and collaborators do here.

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A book like this focuses not only on a family business but also New York City, with all six of its boros,  and the country.  The photo below shows the McAllister yard behind Ellis Island, real estate taken over in the 1970s for the creation of Liberty State Park.  Today’s margins of the harbor are that way only because of thousands of decisions.

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The author, Stephanie Hollyman has a website that highlights an impressive breadth of work.

Click here for ordering info.

Since we’re looking at books, here’s one that might be ripe for updating.   Another one I’ve reread and enjoyed recently is Buckets and Belt:  Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloader by William M. Lafferty, Valerie van Heest, and Kenneth Pott.

Many thanks to Steve Seely of New Brunswick, Canada, for sending these photos and this story. Never heard of a “quarantine tug?”  Well, neither had I.  But here it is, launched at Bath Iron works in October 1932 as a tug for the US Public Health Service, christening with ginger ale–since it happened to be Prohibition era.  If you have 50 minutes, here’s a 1936 film from the US National Library of Medicine at NIH on the work of these vessels;  good references in the movie to Hoffman Island and Ellis Island.  I’d forward to about five minutes in for historical background;  quarantine tug activity, including clips of vessels like the one below, starts at about the six-minute mark.

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Here’s some specs on the vessel: T. B. McClintic is “built of riveted Norwegian Steel (Charcoal Iron)… 60 feet, 10 inches in length overall with a 16.5 foot breadth and a 9.2 foot draft. At launching, [she] displaced 65 tons.  This single screw vessel with its engine–direct reversible Standard Motor Construction Company diesel engine with 100 horsepower … four-cylinder, eight-and-one-half- inch bore by 12-inch stroke weighing 13,475 pounds–turning a 50-inch diameter, 36-inch pitch bronze propeller at 350 RPM, cruised at an average of 10 knots.”

During her life as a quarantine tug, she operated out of Boston, Norfolk, and finally Baltimore, where she also performed some light ice breaking work.  The photo below shows her in Baltimore in the early 1960s.

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In the early 1960s, she was sold at government auction and purchased by “City of Wilmington, North Carolina, to become the city’s new fireboat, she was completely rehabilitated by the Wilmington Iron Works in order to perform her new function. This included adding a full array of fire-fighting equipment, replacing her original 100 HP engine with a new Gray Marine 671 Diesel which increased her HP to 185, and installing a new Twin-Disc 4.5 to 1 reduction transmission. In addition, due to dangerous rust-pitting on each side of the bow, the forward steel plating was replaced. The conversion cost the city approximately $18,000. … Renamed Atlantic IV, she “was distinguished as the only ship that could sink the battleship USS North Carolina in one of her first services after conversion to a fireboat, when her hoses were used to fill the great ship’s bilge with water in order to settle her into her permanent berth in the Cape Fear River.”

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From 1987 until the present, she’s been owned privately.  The photo below, taken by current owner Steve Seely, was taken in Baltimore in 2012. Here I quote Steve:  “I bought [her] in Baltimore in 2011 and brought it to New Brunswick, Canada in 2012.  I happened to pass through NY Harbor to take advantage of the lack of swells in Long Island Sound.”

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He continues:  “The photo underway show it moving as fast as it’s Detroit Diesel will push it, just shy of 11 Kts.  It’s an official antique by your standards but that doesn’t mean it can’t work. I salvaged a sunken barge in St Andrews harbor this summer.”

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And what identification does she sport on her stern?

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Her original name and Bath,  Maine.  The tug’s namesake was ” a University of Virginia Medical School graduate and twelve-year veteran PHS officer, Thomas B. McClintic. In 1911, at the age of thirty-eight, McClintic was detailed to Montana to perform research on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In August of 1912, McClintic contracted the disease and died.”

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The tug has its own website here.  The info quoted above not by Mr Seely comes from the application for her admission to the National Register of Historic Places, which makes for fun reading if you wish.

Because of the dimensions and certain missions of T. B. McClintic–boarding ships for quarantine purposes and ice breaking–this vessel is a forerunner of the WYTLs that will soon start to work the Hudson River ice chokepoints.  Click here for an unpublished magazine article I posted less than a year ago on the “extended cabin” sixth-boro WYTLs.

Steve, thanks much for writing.

I supposed you’ve read about the latest Bath Iron Works(BIW) vessel, but if not, check out the Zumwalt here.  Click here for previous mentions of BIW vessels on this blog.

 

 

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