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I’ve been entrusted with copies of photos from the Canal Society of New York taken by Albert Gayer.  Gayer collected photographic glass negatives and old postcards showing canal-related scenes as you can spend the whole day looking at here.  My favorites include this 1902 bicyclist in Rexford and this 1897 (?) hard hat diver about to descend into Buffalo harbor on a ladder, much as would be done in such a project today.

He also took photos of tugboats and other commercial vessels operating in the what was the Barge Canal, in the 1950s.  If I’m wrong about that or any of this, I expect to be corrected.

For some of these, I’ve been able to locate information.  For example, details on Hustler 

can be found at the ever-valuable Tugboatinformation.com   One unique feature–at least to my 21st century eyes–is her version of an “upper wheelhouse,” which I suspect could be retracted as needed to lower her air draft.   It is my hope that readers can group-source much more about the three boats in today’s post.  

For example, in the photo below, the Oil Transfer Company (Otco) logo is still in the stack.  Otco was acquired by Moran in 1950, yet just beyond the tug is an automobile that looks to be at oldest a 1952 Mercury wagon.  So why is the Otco logo still on the stack?

Next up, it’s clearly Anna L. Conners, a Conners Marine tug, that seems to be undergoing some paint maintenance.  

Here she’s clearly westbound at the top of Lock E-17 in Little Falls.  Anna L. Conners (or Connors) was built at Jakobson in Oyster Bay in 1942 for Standard Towing.  What become of her in the 1990s when she dropped out of documentation as Mid State 1?  Other than lawsuits, I find nothing about Conners Marine.  I’ve found reference in case law to a Conners Marine tug Maple Leaf.  Which other Barge Canal tugboats did Conners operate?  Of course, there’s the still-extant 1881 Elise Ann Conners.

Sagamore was a fairly common name for vessels in parts of the 19th and 20th centuries, and oddly enough, a small (1730 teu) US-flagged container ship, Delaware ported, is currently sailing off Oman.

This Sagamore was part of the James McWilliams Blue Line fleet, a family business that appears to have started in the late 19th century by James’ father, Owen J. McWilliams.  The 1957 Spartan,  also in that fleet, was reefed in 1986 at Sea Girt;  fewer than 30 years in service seems a short life for a boat.  

 Sagamore has more port lights than I’ve even seen in a tugboat. What became of Sachem and Bristol, referred to and depicted in the first link in this paragraph?

I have many more of these Barge Canal tugboat photos from the Gayer collection.  I hope you enjoy filling in more pieces of the history of these vessels.

For more on the Canal Society of New York, click here, or check them out on Facebook here

Parts B, C, etc. can be forthcoming.

 

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