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See the caption on the photo from 1963.  Eugenia Moran is in the foreground.  Off its stern is a tugboat that looks a lot like Urger, but has the name Seneca on it.  Which Seneca was that?

Eugenia herself is quite interesting.  She would be wearing Moran colors for only a year here.  She’s from 1938, Jakobson, Brooklyn.

Many thanks to Jason LaDue for the photo.

Here’s the Seneca I know . . .

And talking about the Erie Canal, central NYS has seen a lot of rain the past few days, draining it all through the Mohawk Valley, making some current (understatement) and resulting in string of locks being closed. Check the notices and alerts.  Cohoes Falls might be looking mighty these days. 

Happy 120 years old, Urger!  I urge you  to read the note at the bottom of this post.

And . . . .Oops!  I read the timer wrong. Bidding for Grouper, in Lyons NY,  ends about six hours from now. 

Lyons is a county seat, but it’s possible to take a photo of lock E-27, right in the town,  such that it appears to be rural.  A row of buildings to the right separates the canal here from a major street, Water Street;  to the left, there’s a strip mall along NY-31.

Lyons is the home of Muralmania, and it shows;  this was one of two murals just west of lock E-27.  The next lock, E-28A, is about a mile away.

Just before getting to lock E-28A, you see the section workshop buildings.

That’s Route 31 paralleling the canal.

At the top of the lock chamber, you have a great view over into the Lyons Dry dock.  Whatever is in the dry dock during the navigation season is surplus, in need of repair, or beyond repair.  Grouper is there, its rusty stack with its yellow ring visible in the foreground.

Staged and waiting for deployment are a set of tugboats, dredges, and a quarters barge aka “floating lodging,” like the one being auctioned off with bidding ending late this afternoon.  To repeat, I’d misreported closing of bidding in an earlier post, but today it ends.

We negotiate another low rail bridge before coming up to lock E-28B, about 4 miles to the west of E-28A.

 

In the port of Newark, I catch up to Sweet Love, a small trawler I caught at the Narrows last August.  The lovely storefronts in the village disappeared thanks to the misguided efforts in the 1960s called “urban renewal.”

West of Newark at Wide Waters is the hamlet of Port Gibson, Ontario County’s only port along the Erie Canal.  During the 19th-century iteration of the canal, this was a port.

The bridge here has just been refurbished.

From there, the canal narrows as we head west.  The rain started falling as well. 

 

 

We had miles and locks to go, but we called the trip “over” when we got to the Port of Palmyra, because of a breach in a spillway ahead. 

All photos, WVD.

Sign the card here to celebrate Urger‘s 120 years.  Its future too is threatened.

Here I get to prove once again that you can never step into the same river twice, or you can never see the same stretch of canal the same way twice.  Click here to see what I did with previous set of photos.

The photo below was taken from the NE corner of the triangular island I’ll now call Midway Junction (the CS and Erie Canals meet here), Midway Triangle, or (my contribution) Tadadaho Island,  if you want to learn about this indigenous spiritual leader, click here.

Two miles west from Tadadaho Island, we approach Lock E-25 in

May’s Point NY.  Click here to see the location of the lock relative to the NYS Thruway.

What would you expect to see when the lock is in a National Wildlife Refuge?

A small boat could cross here and enter Tschache (“shockey”) Pool. 

There’s a campground and marina here.

Lots of these and other wildlife are here.  Someone on the boat saw a coyote on the south bank.

The Clyde River intersects the Erie Canal several times.  Follow the channel markers. 

About six miles farther, lock E-26 appears.

See that rusty bridge a quarter mile beyond the lock?

It’s the E-93 West Shore RR bridge;  see both outside and inside here. It’s the bane of any boat that exceeds 15′ on this stretch of the Canal.

But we made it through. 

Along long portions of the Erie Canal the railroad follows along the bank.  Chances are quite strong that these containers not long ago were at sea, transferred onto railcars in the sixth boro.

Again, follow the channel markers.

Right around that bend is the village of Lyons, county seat of Wayne County NY.  The small boat Cayuga ahead of the captain’s view is a “drive it yourself” rental from Erie Canal Adventures.

All photos, WVD.

What I said about the futility of trying to step into the same river, you have a “three-fer” here: here is my post on my canal bike ride from October 2020.

 

Taken from the east end of Van Cleef Lake, we’ve now traveled less than 10 miles from Seneca Lakes/Stivers Marina.

C/S lock 2/3 is a double lock:  you descend in lock 3 only to find that the lower gate of 3 is the upper gate of 2.  In the photo below, we’ve exited the lower gate of 2 and looking back at the closed lower gate of 3. 

Technically, the C/S Canal here follows the created path of the Seneca River.  A dike along the left side here keeps the river separate from the Montezuma Swamp, allowing navigation of a vessel as large as Colonial Belle. 

Cottages along the right side are mere inches above the surface of the water.

At the 3.5-mile mark, the right side opens:  that 39-mile lake, averaging less than 2-miles wide and at deepest point 435′ deep, will get you to Ithaca.  But Ithaca remains for another trip another day far in the future, as C. P. Cavafy would recommend….

In 1800 a wooden bridge traveled from the point of land to the left, and crossed 5412′ to the opposite side, to the distant right.  It lasted until 1808, when the winter destroyed it.  Two subsequent toll bridges replaced it.

We turn north into C/S 1, aka the “mud lock” because of the water there.

A few miles north of the lock, we approach the I-90 NYS Thruway Bridge.

Less than a half mile we arrive at a triangular island, carved off the NW corner of Kipps Island,  that is the approximate midpoint between Tonawanda and Waterford. 

The darker water here

comes from the Montezuma Swamp and Clyde river;  to the right is the water that comes from Lakes Cayuga and Seneca.

Here’s a satellite view of the triangular island. In the next post, we’ll turn to the west, to the left here and toward Lock E-25.

All photos, except the satellite view, WVD.

Postscript:  In the satellite view above, upper right corner, one the “Richmond aqueduct ruins” mark, below is one of my photos of it, although we’ll heading to the left, aka west.  Getting back to the last three lines of Cavafy, referred to above and slightly modified:  “And if you find her [in poor condition], Ithaca has not deceived you.  Wise as you have become, with so much experience, you must already have understood what Ithaca means.”

Unrelated;  As of this writing Friday morning, Grouper high bid is $150, Chancellor is $310, QB tugster clubhouse is $520, and bridge erection boat is $890.

 

I suppose if you are bidding, you might not like this post.  As of this posting and with one week left for the auction, the high bid on 1912 74′ x 19′ x 12′ draft Grouper is $145.  Period.  That’s not $145k;  it’s as much money as you might be carrying in your wallet right now.  

These two photos by Jason LaDue and Troy Wilke date from 1989, a long time ago in boat years.  Also, I realize that whoever has the winning bid next week either cuts it up and sells steel when it’s high, or begins a process that’ll cost more than $145k several times to move it out of the Canal and then restore it.

High bid right now for the Bushey 1938 76′ x 21′ Chancellor is $310.  I took the photo below in September 2010.  Since then, it sank briefly once in September 2017.  If you want to see Chancellor pushing other boats around back in September 2010, click here;  all the footage is great, but Chancellor comes in at 1:40.

High bid for the 1942 Quarters Barge, aka “houseboat sans propulsion” is $210;  the one for sale is 63′ x 21′, has six bunk rooms, and a huge kitchen that can serve 20. 

A good friend asked if I was bidding in hopes of creating a “tugster clubhouse . . .”  Well, it’s an idea and with the bicentennial of the canal approaching, it would be a great way to see the waterways of upstate NY.  You could experiment towing it with 1000 kayaks, or get a tugboat, maybe one of those for sale to move it around the state.  As much as I like the idea, nope . . . it won’t be me.  I don’t think the photo of a Quarters Barge #14 below is the same vessel.  I took this photo in Little Falls NY in 2017.

The highest bid for the 1972 Higgins USACE Bridge Erection boat is $800;  the one auctioned off is 27′ x 8′ and is twin screw.  The vessel below is a smaller version and dates from 1952. 

May the highest bidder win and  . . live happily ever after.

All photos, WVD.

 

In six days, the gates along the NYS Canal system will be staffed and lifting/lowering vessels across the state.  This is the third in a series of posts about the vessels that have worked to keep the canals functioning. 

Not all these vessels, like Wards Island below, remain;  it’s now over 50′ under surface of salt water on Hempstead Reef, scuttled.  The bow of the tug here, Syracuse, does continue to work as she approaches her 90th birthday.

Below you see the 88-year-old tugboat Syracuse towing a group of canal vessels late in the season back in 2014.

Tender #1, along with most of the other tenders, are now in their 10th decade.

Ditto #9.

Curvaceous boats are out, and state-of-the-art boxy ones are in. 

Boats like Waterford approach their eighth decade. 

Grand Erie and Urger, both inactive, have been featured here many times.

And boxy, mostly nameless replacements have replaced them.

Urger here exits the lower side of Lock 17 in Little Falls as the sun illuminates the chamber.

All photos, WVD, who salutes the crews who operate these boats, even the finicky old ones.  If you’re sailing the canal this summer and see these boats and crews, give a wave but also give them wide berth, as they diligently work to keep the waterway open.

Of course, if you need a guide, check out my virtual tours based on my boat transits and my one bike trip.

Here was T-23 days.  Now, in less than two weeks, the canal will be open.  Some of the vessels operated by NYS Canals to perform maintenance were featured in the T-23 post;  more are in today’s post.

Let’s start with Tender 2, T2, in Utica, nose to nose with tug Erie.

Tender #3 is tied up here just west of the dry dock in Waterford.

Left to right here are a self-propelled scow (SPS 60 maybe? the number) and Lockport.  That land derrick marks this location as Fonda.

Port Jackson is one of the new boats operated by NYS Canals.  The location is just west of lock E-13, and Grande Caribe, as well as her younger sister Grande Mariner powering her way west to Chicago will likely never be seen in the Canal again.

Tied up here in the shade east of Utica is Governor Roosevelt.

At the Utica section yard, it’s Erie again.  Note the NYS Thruway maintenance vehicles in the background.

Just west of lock E-19, the Dragon dredge gets support from Tender #4.

And on another occasion, it’s the same dredge assisted by Tender #5.  I took the photo between locks E-6 and 7.

And closing this out, how about a shot above the culvert of the tugboat that turns 120 years afloat this year, Urger.

All photos, WVD.  If you’re planning to transit the canal beginning on day 1 of the season  . . .  May 21, these are some of the maintenance vessels you’ll see. But don’t postpone a trip along the Canal because some of these could disappear any year now.

WVD is solely responsible for any errors of fact.

At some point, maybe days before April 23, 1921, at McDougall Duluth Shipyard, this vessel, Interwaterways Line Incorporated 101, or ILI 101, had taken shape on the ways.

After it slid down the ways at launch, it was followed by four sisters, all before summer began in 1921.  The 101 traveled via the Soo, three Great Lakes, and the Barge Canal  to New York with 83,000  bushels of oats (approximately 1300 tons… count the trucks or rail cars) at a rate 60% below the railroad cost.

As you can read below, 101 was the “advance courier of a fleet of new type of ships,” freighters specifically designed to transit the newly opened Barge Canal or Eriemax vessels.

The telegram below details of communication between 101 management and Canal management regarding a “representative familiar with the canal” aboard.  I’m wondering if this was a way of saying they needed a pilot, someone with relevant local knowledge.

 

That initial transit was made eastbound with wooden tugboat Lorraine.

Between 1910 and 1920, the time of the opening of the Barge Canal, the population of Fairport grew by almost 50%.  Note the low profile cargo hatches on the vessel at this time.

Later in August 1921, spectators were photographed coming to see her at E-21.  The steering pole hints at her Great Lakes roots.

Through the years, a number of modifications, detailed here, were made to the freight ship.  She was renamed Richard J. Barnes and later Day Peckinpaugh, her current name.   As Barnes, she carried coal along the East Coast and once dodged a torpedo launched from a German submarine.

1959?  Here she is just below lock E2 and the “flight of five” in Waterford.  All the other commercial vessels behind them, stretching all the way back to the Hudson River, I’ve read they are stuck there because of an issue with another lock in the flight.  In other words, this is a smaller version of the back up a month ago due to Ever Given in the Suez Canal.

Also note in the photo above tug Urger on the opposite side of the channel.  Urger is no stranger to this blog and, in my opinion, another critically endangered vessel with a NYS Canal history.  I worked as deckhand on Urger for the 2014 season, when she was in her 113th year.

1963.  Here she is northbound on the Oswego Canal at Phoenix NY.

 

1994.  Eastbound at Rome NY with her last load of cement, the only type of cargo she carried from 1961 until 1994, she passes the freighhouse, now incorporated into Bellamy Harbor Park.  The terminal lies less than a mile ahead, off her portside.  At a special widening ahead either before or after discharging cargo, she’d turn around.  Compare her special cement hatch/manifold arrangement below with the configuration in the photo taken in Fairport in 1921.

1994.  Here’s a video still of her exiting a lock after having discharged her last cargo, heading home, so to speak, to an uncertain future.

2005.  After more than a decade being “laid up” in Erie PA and just before she might have been scrapped, she was purchased by an alliance that included the New York State Museum, the Canal Society of New York State, the New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co., Inc.  On this trip to a new role, the 84-year-old freighter was escorted by Benjamin Elliott, as she had been by Lorraine 84 years earlier.  I missed this, but from accounts I’ve heard, this was a triumphal return.  She’s currently an accessioned artifact of the New York State Museum.

2005.  From that same voyage, she exits the downside of lock E17.

2009.  During the year of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, she traveled under her own power as far south as the sixth boro of NYC and Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain.

2009.  I took this photo of her hold, a vast space that has potential as an exhibit space inside a traveling artifact from NYS canal history, whose history demonstrates the connection the Erie Canal  makes between the Great Lakes and salt waters.

 

2021.  She’s still afloat, raised from the bottom of the canal as a result of the routine annual winter lowering of water level.  She’s afloat for her one hundredth spring, but needs her potential recognized once again.  Stan Rogers wrote a song performed here by Makem and Clancy that captures the attitude needed to rekindle the flame, clarifies the vision, and saves her from the scrappers or the reef.  Maybe someone from the New York State Museum can comment on their vision for this last of her type.  A sister vessel, ILI 105 lies rusting away in Staten Island.

Some of my previous posts on the vessel can be seen here.  Many thanks to all who contributed photos to this post:  Paul Strubeck, John Callahan, Craig Williams.  Any opinions are my own and any errors mine as well.

One goal I have for this post is to try to unearth more images of this vessel pre-1994.  Anyone help?

 

First, see these three photos from 2009 with updates.  I passed by this spot in Seaford DE this past week . . . on a mission, and the former Flagship Nanticoke Queen restaurant is no more.  Only a graded lot remains where the USS McKeever Brothers (SP-683) WW1 patrol and minesweeper vessel and fishing boat both before that and after the war once was. Route 13 has a bit less character.   The wooden hull was likely buried in a landfill.

From 2009, this is the 1958 Jakobson-built Dalzelleagle and then McAllister Brothers.  And yesterday, she was was towed away to be scrapped. At temperatures between 2500 and 2750°F, that steel will puddle and take new shapes.  Tomorrow I’ll post more photos of this 1958 beauty.

Another photo from 2009 of the 1907 Pegasus . . .  now also history and headed for the same high temperatures and red hot puddles.

A photo from 2012 . . . Siberian Sea, still afloat, and currently called Mike Azzolino.

Also still extant, in fact, David Silver took this photo less than a week ago, the May 1921 launched Day Peckinpaugh.  Yes, that is the Erie Canal between Locks E2 and E3.  The canal water level  is drawn down in the winter/spring for maintenance.

May 21, 1921 precisely was the day Interwaterways 101 came off the ways at the McDougall-Duluth Company shipyard.   Shouldn’t we hold a socially distanced party for the freight ship?

Here was the neat and active Eriemax freighter in 1961.

Thanks to David and Craig for use of their Day Peckinpaugh photos;  the others from 2009 and 2012, WVD.

As to the tragedy of 231′ x 71′ Seacor Power, Seacor Supporter, 131′ x 66′ , came to do some work in the sixth boro here a few years ago. Brazos is 145′ x 100′.

 

Empire Line . . . is that a rail service?  A fashion design?

You’ve seen Erie Canal posts on this blog many, many times.  Erie Canal.  I grew up near that canal and have played and worked on it in different capacities.  Last fall, I biked along the canal from Tonawanda to Waterford, and because of the isolation of the past year, posted virtual bike and boat tour guides.  People from many countries have transited the Erie Canal;  people from even more countries know of this iconic waterway.  A friend told of visiting a classroom in China and seeing a map there that showed the Erie Canal.

Well, the governor has proposed renaming the corridor for boats and bikes through New York as  . . . the Empire Line.   What!@#$#@@!  Here’s the paragraph:  “Reimagine the Erie Canal: Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal Task Force, the New York Power Authority Board, which now oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, will … integrate the Empire State Trail and Erie Canal into a new “Empire Line” system … along the 360-mile spine of the Erie Canal.”

Check out tug Syracuse below.

Should that be renamed tug Empire #1933?

Or take Joncaire aka Daniel Joncaire.… 

Should it be called Empire 1979?

Rename Niagara Falls  . . .  Empire Falls?  For NYS to suggest renaming the iconic Erie Canal is a worse idea than gilding a lily or painting the abalone….  Write your NYS assembly rep.  Write your NYS senator.  Let them know how you feel.

These photos come compliments of a canal sailor.   The sentiments are entirely my own.

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