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More than half a year ago, Buffalo was auctioned off, and in my circles, no one knew what had become of her.  Some were speculating she had gone for scrap.  She lay against the wall in the dry dock all winter, but when spring came, she disappeared and some thought she had been scrapped.

It turns out she recently headed for Buffalo, and is currently making her way across the state of New York.  These photos from Jason LaDue show her westbound at Lock E28A in Lyons NY.

She ran on her own power at the RoundUp in 2012, but right now her power unit is this crew boat.

 

Here she passes through the center of Newark.  The weather now is so much more comfortable than a week ago.  Can you read the banner atop the deck house  . . .”bringing the Buffalo back to Buffalo.”  Yes!!

Here’s a closer up of the banner showing the Lardon Group web address, and

on the push boat, Union Concrete . . . .

Now on to the next town .  . Palmyra, and the next three photos were taken by Jim Hastings.

 

Tomorrow, I gather, the flotilla continues westbound.

And finally, two more from Jason LaDue.  As to the slogan on Waterford’s logo, I’d raise the point that just as Waterford is a gateway to the New York State Canal System, so is Buffalo, and so are Whitehall, Troy, and Oswego, for that matter. It just depends on your direction and coordinates of entrance.

As attractive as this shot is, my guess is that the boats have already moved west.

Many thanks to Jason and Jim for taking these photos.  I’ll be looking for Buffalo in Buffalo this August or September.

For many more photos of her taken some years back by Fred of tug44, click here.

 

Private planes can’t be fun for slow and prolonged travel, and RVs–unless I could drive something wild like these or a Fuller— leave me cold, but these yachts seem a popular way to see the world . . . at least one of the loops.   What I might enjoy more than a loop is a crossing, a la William Least-Heat Moon, with a smaller and more adaptable vessel.

I was not stalking the yacht below, but here I caught Ann Marie Rose entering the Upper Bay on June 8,

under the 9W bridge in Kingston on June 16, and then

on July 1 in Little Falls, NY.  Maybe I can find them on AIS.  She’s 48′ and registered in Virginia.  I’d say they travel at an appropriate pace, around 200 miles a month.

Copesetic is 46′ and registered in Chesapeake City, MD.  It’s maybe owned by someone with the last name Cope?  I’ve never been inside a catamaran motor yacht.

Ocean Star is truly from Ketchikan, AK and headed eastbound in the Erie Canal. From the West Coast they traveled by truck until they splashed into the Mississippi in Minnesota.

You can tell Scott Free (61′) is in the Canal by the fact that her radar dome and all that supports it is set on her nose, to make the low bridge.  I did a double take upon seeing her, imagining this was a boat inspired by Blount’s Grande vessels.

The natural beauty of the Canal envelopes these three cruisers as they

make their way west to share lock E-18.  The green boat in the middle appears to be a 42′ Kadey Krogen;  a friend has done two crossings of the Atlantic with his, and is now off California, after starting in Panama about a year ago.

I can’t tell you much about Sláinte, but she was pretty in the dawn light.

And this one . . . Boatel I  was headed to Toronto for the season.  It’s a floating accommodation, not to be confused with Botel, where I stayed back in 2014.  Scroll here to see my photo.

Anyone know where she spent the winter?   Maybe it’s “no tell motel.”

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

The last time we saw Jay Bee V, she was solo and reportedly beginning an epic.  That was nine days ago, and now Jay Bee V (JBV) has taken over this large white barge from larger river tugs and is heading west with a a flotilla that began over a month ago in Brooklyn.  Click here for specifics on this journey as well as sponsors, and there are many.

Arguably, the epic began in 1868, and I quote here from the link above:  “1868, the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company relocated to Corning, via the New York Waterways, and evolved into the company that is today known as Corning Incorporated. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of this pivotal journey, CMoG will launch GlassBarge—a 30’ x 80’ canal barge equipped with CMoG’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment—in Brooklyn Bridge Park on May 17, 2018.”

What’s pushing the “glass barge?”

Here’s a top down view of JBV, and

the boats of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Way in the distance, that’s the glass barge and beyond that, lock E-11.   Here from tug44 a few years back is more info on lock E-11.

If this photo illustrates nothing, it shows how JBV‘s  captain relies on understanding and communication from the watch stander on the barge.

 

Above and below, the flotilla passes Fonda, NY,

before locking up through E-13.

 

The glass barge flotilla had given its 8th set of shows (by my count)  in Amsterdam the day before.  To understand the impact of these shows, think canal-traveling circus of the 19th century.  Here they were heading for a set of shows in Canajoharie.  

 

More to come.  Again, if you have not checked out this link for their schedule–the water portion of which ends in Watkins Glen on September 16, click here.   Below is a vase I witnessed a glassblower make in less than 15 minutes!

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who reiterates that I take all the photos credited to me on this blog;  any photos taken by anyone else–collaboration I encourage–I attribute accordingly.

More photos of the Great Race soon.

 

 

. . . illustrating what will be lost if present course is maintained.   If you don’t know what’s likely to happen imminently, Urger is NOT to be reefed.  But, it’ll be beached at Thruway Lock 13 “living history” exit, with holes “punched” in the hull and that beaching will cost –I’m told–over $3 million.

Why should you care?

First,  listen to this engine, as I recorded it four years ago on a calm day above Amsterdam NY.  Click the thumbnail below left for the sound from inside the engine room and . . . right, from outside.  It’s like the steady panting of a racing horse.  Click here for a list of remaining Atlas-Imperial engines, although I don’t know how out-of-date this info may be.

  

Here’s that same engine as seen from below, starboard looking aft, and

here, the camera is looking aft along the port side.

Here’s the view port side looking down.

For whatever value it has, Urger is

one of about two dozen NY vessels on the National Register of Historic Places, has been on that list since November 29, 2001.    Click here for what that means in terms of significantly changing the historic floating structure.

Urger was built by Johnston Brothers Shipyard in Ferrysburg, Michigan, in 1901, originally as H. J. Dornbos, a fish tug.  My point . . . if she’s been around this long and is in this good shape, that’s prime reason to keep her that way.

Urger faced significant change before, back in the late 1980s, ending Canal maintenance duty in October 1987.  Then, Schuyler Meyer (1918–1997) stepped forward with a proposal to save her by making her the “ambassador vessel” of the NYS Canals that she did become.  During those ambassador years, scores of thousands of folks–especially school kids–saw her, walked on her, learned from her about NYS.  Read the whole article below if you have time, but signifiant info is concentrated in the rightmost column.   Look at the image he’s holding in the photo.

Urger is a flagship of NYS history, having made public appearances all over the confluent waterways of the state from Lockport (I don’t have photos of her in Buffalo) to

the famous culvert east of Medina to

Oswego, shown here at Lock O-8 with tug Syracuse to

the Upper Bay of New York City, and all the great little towns in between.   I lack the photos myself, but I know she’s been to the southernmost point of the Finger Lakes and upper reaches of Lake Champlain from this video clip.

So what can be done . . .  especially since, given the imminence of converting Urger to a “static display,” time is so short?

First, share this post with anyone you know who might care about Urger.  Seek out your loud, articulate, reasonable, and well-known advocates who know [connected] people and can speak out in the meetings, press, and blogs.  It’s summer, so key political and agency leaders might not be reading their mail, forwarding it to folks with less decision-making power.  Congressman Paul Tonko would like to hear from you. State legislators might be contacted in their home districts, where you can even walk into their local offices.   Talk to your local mayors, business leaders, and union officials.  I was born upstate but haven’t lived there since the 1960s.

Educators, especially in Canal corridor towns,  have benefitted from the Urger program over the past quarter century.  They might choose to exercise power through NYSUT rather than as individuals if anyone in to better get the attention of government.

Finally, if the choice were between spending no money to beach Urger vs. spending money to keep it afloat and active, that would lend support to the idea of beaching her.  BUT, significant money (in the seven digits) will be spent to beach her at Lock 13 Thruway exit.

Thanks for your attention.  All the color photos here were taken by Will Van Dorp, except the one below, taken by Chris Kenyon in Port Gibson in 2014.

Personal disclosure:  I worked as deckhand on Urger during the 2014 season, on a leave-of-absence from my other life.  I spent about 100 nights and days aboard her between June 6 and October 30, i.e., about 2/3 of the time between those dates.  Some of the hundreds of references to the boat on this blog can be found here.

I hope you agree with me that NYS gains more by keeping her afloat and active than by beaching her.  Pass it on, if you agree.

 

Following on the photos from April 29 and May 19, here is finale for Tender 6 and Reliable of Utica.  As of this posting, they are 2.5 nautical miles off Shinnecock and 80′ down, precisely placed and not sunk.  My guess is that soon this section of this chart will be updated.

Here is the last daylight for

Tender 6.

Here’s the final journey

 

for Reliable

of Utica.

Thanks for use of these photos to a generous gentleman. More photos can be seen here.

 

See a statement at the end of this post.

The next vessel headed for the reef is Reliable of Utica, once a twin of Syracuse of Syracuse, which has been featured here in many previous posts. Fred of tug44 has also gotten some photos I have not.

For years–I’d estimate about two decades–Reliable has languished out of the water, as seen in photo below, which I took in June 2014.  Click here (and scroll to the third photo) for a photo of the bow while on the hard.

Its approximately 100-ton shell was lifted from the bank and placed in this  . . . coffin  (well, what else?) for a final journey, likely its only journey to the salt water.

As of publication today, Reliable –in its cortege–is being pushed by Rebecca Ann in proximity of the GW Bridge.

Lucy H pushed her through 22 locks–if my count is right–on her way to the flight, where I took these photos.

Many have said reefing might not be the best “re-purposing” of Reliable and other boats, but, as you can see, the migration of these vessels seaward has begun.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been here yesterday in this glorious light to see

Reliable make her final exit from the NYS Canal system.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who wishes there’d been at least a single bagpiper for solemnity as Reliable sank into the chamber, foreshadowing the descent she’ll make soon into the briny not-so-deep but from which she’ll never emerge.

For last month’s first post in this series, Canal Reef Express 1, click here.

For a sense of how that bagpiper would sound and look, click on the YouTube link near the end of this tugster post from 2010.

What follows is a statement from Tom Prindle and posted on the Canal Society of New York FB page.

This comment was in the post with the Reliable photos, but it should be read on its own here, with no photos. Tom Prindle is a leader in preserving canal history. #savetheurger

“The scuttling of the Reliable and other canal vessels and the impending beaching of the venerable and much beloved Tug URGER begs the question with all due respect : who is making these decisions and how are they qualified to decide what is historic and what is not ? What should be saved and what should be destroyed ?These vessels need to be evaluated by those professionals charged with protecting the historic resources of our state. The Reliable may not look like much as she now is but she and the other vessels slated to be sunk are unique artifacts of New York State history. What is being planned for the 117 year old URGER is horrible. Her destruction was first proposed some 30 years ago. Instead John Jermano and Schuyler Meyer “re-imagined” the old tug as a floating classroom and ambassador of the NYS Canal System. Thousands of school kids from Harlem to Tonawanda have been welcomed aboard her. Now somebody has decided that for some reason must stop, Surely we can do better than that.”

Hats off,  Thanks, Tom.

 

 

May 15, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Barge Canal.  That fact was mentioned at the ceremonies opening the Canal to recreational traffic yesterday, and quite a diverse and international flotilla of recreational boats waited, like racers on the starter’s blocks.

But first, do you recognize this captain?

Well, he waved at all these school kids who serenaded him and all the other boats, first of the season, leaving lock E2.  For prices on similar Hinckley 36 picnic boats, click here.

Sonically greeting them also were two Canal vessels:  Governor Cleveland and Grand Erie.

But let’s step back about 15 minutes.  The lower gates of E2 open to reveal the queue.

The nearest boat to the left was driven by the gentleman I asked whether you could identify.  The large vessel to the right — a 78′ Azimut Benetti Spa registered in Grand Rapids MI–was rumored to belong to a well-known professional basketball player.

 

It was the second batch locking through that brought the more unique westbound boats.

The green vessel —Oliver Plunkett-– Canadian registry, was returning from a stint in the Bahamas.  Her PEI fishing pedigree is quite noticeable.

Troll–hailing from Elburg NL– intrigues me, but I can’t point out anything besides an unusual name and bright hull color, both of which you’ve already noticed.

Broadsword, German registry, is a 58′ New Zealand-built Artnautica LRC 58 motoring around the world to the east, although here headed west.

Each of these boats has a story, many stories, I’ll never know.

 

And finally, this Florida-registered Axopar caught my attention too late and too far from the camera.  But, check out these Finnish boat designs.

To see some unusual recreational boat designs, lock E2 is the place to be on opening day.  I would be remiss, however, to leave out reference to commercial vessels . . . several of whom have already locked through, and that may be a story I pick back up in a few days.

The first boat here–a Nordhavn 62– was an unusual vessel to see up in Waterford.

And the person at the helm of the Hinckley, it was Geraldo Rivera, whom you’ve likely heard of.  But, check out his info on this wiki page for lots of tidbits you probably don’t know, eg, he attended SUNY Maritime, he’s a lawyer, he went to West Babylon High School, and some scandals . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’d love to hear more about any of these boats at points farther west . . .

 

 

On May 4, 1928 this “oil-burning” tug was launched at Buffalo Marine Construction Co.  The 1928 price for the 74’1″ x 19’6″ x 8’2″ tug was $44,250, which is (adjusted for inflation) $644,318.82 in 2018 money.  Here are some photos over the few years I’ve followed her.  Starting below, September 2008.

September 2010 here

and here.

October 2013.

June 2014

August 2017.  Yes, she’s a working boat.

Now clearly this is not Cleveland, but her sister Governor Roosevelt.  That is a deep hull.   I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Cleveland hauled out.  According to Michele A. McFee’s A Long Haul, the two Governors were purchased by NYS DPW in the late 1920s to break ice, and proved their worth in the dramatic November 1936 deep freeze.

Thanks to Chris Freeman who put her “birth certificate” on FB this morning and alerted me to this day for ceremony for the Cleveland.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who leaves you with this obscure story of Cleveland (later POTUS 22 AND 24) getting incarcerated in Medina NY on a suspected “corruption of a minor female” charge . . .  all a mistake.  Read it below:

It’s a non-profit devoted to the history and functioning of NY’s canals, and there have been over two dozen.  In these years of bicentennial, consider joining.  Nobody asked me to suggest this; but I’m a satisfied member.

Let me share historical photos of the boat I worked on for a season, all photos posted on CSNYS FB in the past month.

You may know, the vessel is Urger, an extraordinary boat who has likely now crossed the line from a work boat and working boat to a museum boat.  Here she is under steam power in Waterford headed for the Hudson, 1940.  At this point, Urger was already 39 years old, a product of Ferrysburg, Michigan, 1901.

Also 1940, this photo gives an idea that the colors have not always been blue/gold.  Note the extension of the superstructure forward of the wheelhouse.

Here she is in April 1941, and

back in Waterford in 1949.  Note how busy the Canal was back then with commercial tug/barge units.  That’s Day-Peckinpaugh over to the right.

Here she is in 1960.  Can anyone identify the location.  I can’t.  Of course, canal banks have changed a lot through the years.

I don’t know any of the photographers above, but I took the rest of these.

She made her last visit to the sixth boro back in 2012

July 14, 2012

Here in early September 2014 just above lock E-2, she’s being passed by Benjamin Elliot (1960).

And finally, by September 2017 she’d been tied up for almost a full year.

To close out, here was my bunk back then.  Whenever I was lying in my bunk, the distance from my nose to those angle iron beam was about 18 inches.  The bed itself was 5’11” in a bunkhouse itself about 5’8.”  I’m 6’2.”

Since this is a big Canal year, again, consider becoming a member.  And for starters, you may want to “like” them on FB.

 

The photo below I took on October 14, 2017 from the O-7 lock chamber, looking toward O-6.  Notice the red tug in the distance along the right side wall, which is the Leto Island side.

Here’s a close-up of the tug.

Below is a photo I took on March 24, 2018 from a cofferdam built where the tug above was, looking back toward Lock O-7.

Yes, the canal bed there is dry enough.  Who knows what besides bicycles lie in the mud . . .  guns, cell phones, flung away wedding rings . . .

 

The green bridge beyond lock O-7 is Utica Street.  All the compromised concrete of O-7 has been removed and

form and rebar installed.

Note the blue lift-basket in the photo below and use it as a reference in the following photos.

x

My position in the photo below is less than 30′ from the initial photo in this post.

These are the mitre gates at the top (south) side of O-7

And here’s that same tug Endeavor we saw above.  Now the pressures . . .?  Think of all the work that needs to be done by opening day in the NYS Canal system!  Crews here were working hard, and I was there on a Saturday, but opening day in less than 50 (??) days away.

All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.  These locks are within Oswego city limits, right along East River Road, aka 481.

 

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