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Let’s start with some of the tanker ships that worked the Barge Canal, and these are in chronological order by build date.  One that I found no images of in the archives was Buffalo Socony, built in 1920, which I saw when I first came to the sixth boro as Coral Queen. See also here.

Albany Socony was launched in 1921 in Elizabeth NJ, 185′ x 28.’  In 1946, she was transformed into a barge.  In 1953, the barge was sold and renamed Valco, which operated until 1954, then scrapped.  

Amsterdam Socony was also from 1921, launched in Chester PA, and at 262′ x 40′, she filled all the usable space inside the Barge Canal locks. From 1950 until 1956, she worked as Jo Ann Reinauer.  In 1956, she was sold again, renamed Poling No. 8.  She was scrapped in 2000.

Winthrop lies along the wall in what is clearly Waterford NY, photo taken from the bridge just west of lock E-2.  Besides that, I’ve no info on Winthrop.  This is an exceptionally sharp image from the 20s or 30s.

Burlington Socony dates from 1924, built in Chester PA.  In 1952 she was sold twice, first renamed Evelyn Ann and then renamed Poling No. 7, a name she operated until 1997.

Oswego Socony also dates from 1924, launched in Chester PA, 252′ x 40′.  In 1950, she was sold to Cleveland Tankers and operated as Taurus until 1973.  She was scrapped in Kewaunee, north of Manitowoc WI.

Below downbound in lock E-9 is the first of these tankers I learned about, when I met a shipwreck diver who worked out of Salem MA.  My out-of-print book focuses on shipwrecks off the mouth of the Merrimack River.

Plattsburgh Socony was launched in 1934 in Port Richmond NY.  She was 251′ x 40′ although like many motorships of the era, she was lengthened later.  In 1962 she was sold and renamed Mobil Albany, a name she carried until 1966.  Then she was sold and operated as Chester A. Poling.  In 1977, in transit from Boston to Portsmouth NH during the Blizzard of 1978, she broke in half and sank 8 miles off Cape Ann.  Photos (and video)  of her in 150′ to 180′ below the surface can be found here and here.


And finally, built as a twin of Plattsburgh Socony, it’s Poughkeepsie Socony.  Launched in 1934, she operated under that name until 1962, when she became Mobil Albany.  In 1971 she was sold and operated as Captain Sam or Poling No. 11.  In 2004, she was sold again and operated as Kristin Poling, the name she bore when scrapped in 2011.

In the foreground is motor tanker Robert Barnes Fiertz, previously known as ILI 103–sister to Day-Peckinpaugh or  ILI 101.  She eventually became a Confederate blockade runner-styled restaurant in Charleston SC, but those are all stories for another post.  If you’re a long time Charlestonian, you may remember it.

Kristin Poling was quite the sight on the Hudson and in the sixth boro until her end. I was allowed a walk-through of the vessel back in October 2011, and posted this and this.

Many thanks to the Canal Society of New York for allowing me to wander through the archives and post/interpret these photos.  If you want even more, get lost in Auke Visser’s forest of tankers archives.

From Auke’s site, here‘s Syracuse Socony, here‘s Troy Socony, here‘s Providence Socony, here‘s Schenectady Socony, here‘s Rome Socony,  . . . .  This photo of Elizabethport’s 1920 Rochester Socony comes thanks to William Lafferty.  The tanker changed hands in 1955 and was renamed Princess Bay until it changed hands again in 1982 and was renamed Mabel L.  Her records close out in 1996.  Does anyone know what became of her? 

Unfortunately, neither Auke nor I have found  Utica Socony. Might they be out there somewhere?

Click here for info on the Winter Symposium organized by the Canal Society.  One of the featured speakers next month is L. F.  Tantillo




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February 2022