Let’s start with an oddball, as I read the records, here clearly marked Andree. The bulkhead design and lights look like Barge Canal, but I can’t place the location.    BGSU’s Historical Collections of the Great Lakes show the 176′ x 43′ vessel was rebuilt–lengthened to 209′– in 1933 at Todd Shipyards in New York City for a T. A.  Kenney. This begs the question of her original build location/date.  also, was her original name William F. Kenney?   I wish I had a photo of the stern, because also according to BGSU she had a Honduran registry, as Andree, I assume.  Here‘s the BGSU info card.  Her registry changed to Panamanian in 1947.

An easier-to-track motor vessel is Buckeye State, and I quote here from an unpublished Roger N. Benson paper:  “owned by the Federal Motorship Corporation of Buffalo, she was 1473 GRT and 1180 NRT, 245.5′ long, 43.6′ in beam, a 1942 horsepower of 720 and a crew of 17 in freight service. She was built at Ogdensburg, N.Y. in 1930.”

I believe the location here is between locks E-2 and E-3 in Waterford.  

Here and here you can find info about the St. Lawrence Marine Railway in Ogdensburg owned by a George Hall, but the info here is piecemeal.  This case summary provides interesting info about Buckeye State, her cargoes, and crew circa 1941, in what could be called “what caused 87,700 bushel (2610 short tons) of perfectly good corn to rot between Chicago and Lake Erie.”

A summary on Buckeye State scrapped in Honduras in 1956 can be found here.  It would be great to see the scrapyard in Honduras.

Here, on Edgewater, I quote again from Benson:  “First of the Ford Motor Company’s fleet of specialized vessels for the water transport of auto vehicles or parts to East Coast plants or dealers, she was built in 1931 at Ford’s River Rouge MI  plant as a steam vessel fitted for burning oil. Originally registered for the NYSBC on August 24, 1931, she had a crew of 19 in freight service, and her homeport was Detroit MI. She was rated at 450 pounds steam pressure and 1600 horsepower with a cargo capacity (in 1931) of 2175 net tons.  Edgewater was 300 feet long, by 43 feet wide with a 20 feet depth of hold and loaded draft measuring 9 feet, six inches. Some measurements were less for her April 24, 1942 re-registration, e.g.,  290.7 x 43.20 x 15.7 feet depth of hold and 1819 GRT and 1129 NRT. She was requisitioned by the U.S. Government, (in 1943 ?), for WW2 service but was returned to Ford briefly after the war.”  [It would be interesting to know the nature/range of her WW2 work.]  

“In 1947 she was converted to a tanker by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. Staten Island and sold the same year to Cleveland Tankers, Inc. Cleveland OH which registered the Edgewater for NYSBC in 1947 and renamed her Orion in 1949 operating her under that name until 1964. In 1965 she went out of documentation, However, she had been laid up in Cleveland, OH since December 1957 and was sold to Acme Scrap Iron & Metal Co., Ashtabula OH in 1964 for scrapping, according to the data sheet on the Edgewater in Bowling Green State University’s Historical Collection of the Great Lakes, and left Cleveland on September 15, 1964 reduced to a 129-foot derrick barge which sank 1,000 feet off Lorain lighthouse on July 23 , 19688 while in tow [of the 1903 Laurence C. Turner aka museum vessel Ohio] . On August 2, 1968 the Corps of Engineers raised the wreck and pulled it onto the beach.” 

Here she’s eastbound approaching lock E-9.  Note the conditions of the “concrete canal barges” below compared with here

Here she’s westbound at E-10.

Ford Motor Company at that time had assembly plants in Edgewater NJ and Chester PA. You can find pics of the plants in each of the links in the previous sentence.  So not surprisingly, here’s a Chester, sister vessel to Edgewater.

For info on Chester, I return to the Benson paper:  “Chester was built in River Rouge MI in 1931 and first registered on the NYS Barge Canal on August 24, 1931. Her original use was to economically transport automobiles or parts from Ford Motor Company in Dearborn MI by water to East Coast plants and dealers. She was, in 1931, 300 feet long by 43 feet wide, with a 20’ depth of hold and loaded draft of nine feet, six inches, 1600 horsepower, and 2175 net tons cargo capacity, with the measurements differing slightly in later Canal re-registrations.  She was requisitioned by the U.S. Maritime Commission in 1942 or 1943 for WW II service. Returned to Ford in 1946, she was sold to The Nelson Lines, N.Y.C the following year and then to a Brasilian firm, the Empress Internacional de Transportes, Ltda., Santos, Brasil.”

From GLVH, let me add this:  She was twice renamed and converted to a barge in Brasil.  Her names were Lourival Lisboa in 1947 and Guarapes (sic) in 1949.  From another site, I see a different and more logical spelling for the vessel:  Guararapes.  She sank off Olinda Brasil.

Again, with the well-dressed crew aboard, this may be her 1931 maiden voyage.

It can truly be said that folks came out to the locks to see these freshwater-to-saltwater transiting vessels, maybe especially with these dignitaries aboard.  Back then ocean-going ships traveled through the small towns of NYS like Phoenix, Sylvan Beach, Canajoharie, etc.

Note the prominent Ford logo on her stern quarter. 

More detail of her stern.  Might this be the top of lock E-3 and an eastbound Chester?

All photos from Canal Society of New York and used with permission.

Any errors, blame them on WVD, who is amazed to find how promising the future of the Barge Canal looked during its first few decades of service and until mid-20th century.