You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Erie Canal’ category.
This post is a serious whatzit, an attempt to find out more about a tugboat in the photo below. I use the photo courtesy of the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse. If you have not been reading this blog very long, I spent five months last year working on a historic tug on the Erie Canal. Type erie canal into the search window and you’ll find hundreds of photos from then.
The photo appears to be taken in Rochester, nicknamed the Flower City, although as a kid, I had thought it was the “flour” city. I guess it’s both.
So I went to the Monroe County Library image search site here and used the search term “boat,” and found a lot of fascinating stuff–like excursion boats now derelict, steam ferries, a seized bootlegger boat, yachts from a century ago, docks, and canal barges. To whet your appetite, I include a few here. Go to the website to read captions on reverse. I know nothing more about Lorraine or Cowles Towing Line, but the “barge” it’s towing is currently known as Day-Peckinpaugh, which will gain some attention later this summer. Photo is said taken on June 13, 1921.
Taken on November 22, 1921, this is steam barge Albany, which raises more questions. Go to the MCLS site for the info on reverse of the print.
The photo below is also said taken on November 22, 1921 by Albert R. Stone. I’d like to know what the name of the darker tug alongside the starboard side of the end of this string of barges. So maybe these are the grain barges that broke away?
Again, a Stone photo, date uncertain, showing tug Henry Koerber Jr.
One more Stone photo, said 1918 . . . tug Laura Grace aground off Grand View Beach . . . Greece?
And all of this returns us to the mystery photo from the Erie Canal Museum . . . my guess is that it was taken by Albert R. Stone, but it was not included in the Monroe County local history photo database. Anyone help?
Many thanks to the Erie Canal Museum for passing this photo along.
If your appetite is really whetted, enjoy these unrelated old and new photos of Urger–ex-State of NY DPW tug–and Seneca, currently a NYS Canal tug but previously a US Navy tug.
Click here for an index of previous “whatzit” posts.
First, two photos from Jason LaDue, up in Lyons on the Erie Canal. Click here to see some of the many photos Jason has sent along over the past years from Lyons and the Great Lakes. The vessel Lyons, below, has been painted NY blue and gold since it last appeared here two plus months ago.
Docked astern of Lyons is Salem, which has also gotten some new paint recently.
From the Canal to the sixth boro, here’s the sight I caught last week from the MediaBoat, as we entered North Cove. The vessel is the New York Naval Militia’s 440 Moose boat. Click here to see some of NYNM’s previous vessels.
I’m not sure where the group was headed. The schooner is Clipper City, which I really need to get out on one of these days soon.
Top two photos . . . thanks to Jason LaDue; last three by Will Van Dorp.
Here was the first in this series. This is a well-painted and lubricated wheel that won’t be seen for a while. Even you folks who are planning a trip on Erie Canal, you’ll be close and you’ll feel the effects, but you won’t see it. So watch carefully as . .
the wagon-body valve, the rectangular portion of which measures 7′ X 9′ , gets positioned where it’ll be invisible from now until some winter maintenance season in the future. The entire valve–with wheels– weighs about 9800 pounds. If you’re standing near the upper door when one of these opens, you see a major whirlpool created by the rush of water through the water tunnel and through the port holes into the lock chamber.
Bob Stopper took these photos just over two weeks ago. Looking at them now, with mild spring temperatures in place, this feels like months ago. The valve is hoisted above the water tunnel and
guided into position.
Think about this as you traverse the canal this summer.
Many thanks to Bob. Happy spring. I can’t wait to see what exotic traffic passes through here this summer. Of course, I’ll be looking for work elsewhere. Anyone know anyone looking to hire a deckhand, now holding some paper and licenses?
Here are the previous posts by this name.
June 2014 . . . not quite 100 miles west of Albany.
March 2015 high, dry, and cold maintenance time on Staten Island.
Same time and place as the first photo above. Actually leaving lock 19 and headed east.
Again . . . winter maintenance.
Outbound Oswego harbor, June 2014.
And more Staten Island, March 2015.
Hustling hither and yon along the waterways since 1958, if she could speak,
I’d love to hear the stories.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
You may recall my wondering about a Canal Corp boat I saw last year while I was working on the canal. Alan Nelson sent the photo below showing the type of vessel while it performed ATON (aids to navigation) service.
Here’s what Alan wrote: “It’s a 45’ buoy boat. Designation was “45 BU”. They were built 1957-’62 and in service through the 1980s. Used extensively on inland waters, they were powered by a GM 6-71 main engine and small Onan generator. Max speed approx. 8.5 knots. Although they had a small galley and berthing area, they weren’t often used for overnight operations, and didn’t have a permanent crew assigned. They were usually assigned to an ATON team to service small inland buoys and day markers. I ran one on the Delaware River around Philadelphia in the mid-1970s, until we took it up to New York for assignment to Lake Champlain. A slow and long trip, towed by the Coast Guard 65’ Tug Catenary. The one in the attached photo is numbered 45301-D, the first one built. The one I ran was the 45306-D.”
Below is a further edited photo of the boat I saw.
And here are some photos by Bob Stopper last month in the dry dock in Lyons.
Alan and Bob . . thanks much for your photos and information.
Now if you look closely at the subtitle of this blog, you’ll see a longer phrase there. It now ends in “gallivants by any and all the crew.” We are the blog crew . . . you and me. I’ve long stated in the “About Tugster” page drop-down just below the header of the Bayonne Bridge that “I like the idea of collaboration and am easy to get along with.” I am thrilled by the amount of collaboration you all have offered. So thank and let’s keep group-sourcing this blog together.
Summer and fall 2014 this blog posted lots of lock photos, a sample of which is here, but today there’s a treat. Winter work on the canal requires that the water level be drawn way down for maintenance inside the locks. Bob Stopper, a regular canal contributor and much more, took these photos inside lock 27, basically a machine that’s worked in the same way for a range of different traffic for over a century.
To get a sense of what we’re seeing here . . . the “door” at the far end is 300′ away and the width here is 44.’ The “steps” we are looking at are the upper sill. When Urger would sail into this lock, we needed eight feet of water above that concrete sill . . . or we’d hit with the keel. In the distance notice the port holes on both sides along the “floor” and the minimum water “scum” lines.
Here is a close up of the port holes and water lines.
Here we are behind the port holes in the water tunnel now iced over. Through here, the lock fills and dumps.
Now from the top of the lock looking at the same scene: the “door” is called a mitre gate and again, for scale the lock is 300′ by 44′. Notice again the water line and the port holes.
Here we are inside looking back at the sill, upper mitre gates, and “ribbon rail” dam that’s been temporarily installed across the canal to do winter maintenance.
Here from farther outside the ribbon rail dam. Notice the repainted mitre gate.
Here’s a close up of the bottom of a mitre gate showing the sill rubber seal and the white oak mitre timbers where the gates meet in canal center, and .
along each edge there’s a quoin timber attached to needle sill gate.
These grates are called trash racks at the entrance to water-fill culvert. In reality, they keep debris like large trees from entering.
And the is a wagon-body valve in situ on z-rails in a fill culvert. How large is it?
I took this photo at lock 2 last summer. This wagon-body valve was waiting the arrival of a crane for installation deep inside the lock. My estimate is that each of the wheels is greater than three feet in diameter. Maybe someone can help confirm that estimate.
Here’s a view of the lower gates of lock 19 I took in late June 2014. Lock operators were clearing water-logged tree branches jammed between the bottom of the mitre gate and the sill. Remember that there’s at least eight feet below their rowboat.
Much gratitude to Bob Stopper for sharing his photographic journey inside lock 27. Here, here, and here are links to Bob’s article in three parts from Wayne County Life on this inside out look at a lock.
This photo of
Doris Joan Moran that has been circulating on FB this morning. Sorry . . . I wish I knew who gets the credit for this unusual shot. Anyhow, it reminded me of a post I did five years ago here.
Here’s a Doris photo I took last week . . . uncoated.
So one reaction to the cold is to bundle up, grit your teeth, plod on, complain a little more . . .
But you have to admit, winter in the northern latitudes gives us new senses of hulls on snow bases, or
levitating above it.
Here’s roughly the same angle . . . as I took it in September 2012.
Thanks to Bob Stopper for the photo of tug Syracuse and to Erich Amberger for the winter photo of Wendy B. The others I took, except for the top photo, and I’d still like to know who took that.
Uh . . . I just mis-read the FB info on the frosted over tugboat above. It was spelled j-o-a-n, and I transferred that as d-o-r-i-s. I’m sloppy sometimes. Maybe I need an editor.
Here’s part of the text of an email I received today from Maja Faasse: “Leja was the second motor barge my parents have built. It is named after our grandparents, Lena and Jacob. Our father, Marinus … knows every detail. For about 40 years he made his living on Leja, as did our mother for 34 years after they married. My sisters Leona, Jaccoline, and I were born and raised on the Leja, and have very good memories and had a very nice childhood on the water. Every vacation from boarding school and most weekends we spent on board. The summer vacations where the best times, 6 weeks of playing and swimming. Our parents had to sell the barge because our mother needed a pair of new knees and recovery wasn’t possible on board, so they had stopped their business with pain in their heart, and sold it to an owner in France, who renamed it Sojo.”
We were planning a trip to France this spring to go find the barge . . . and go look for it. So we contacted the broker for information where the Sojo could be at that time and wanted to see what is still original and what is new. But . . .
then the broker told us that the owner had renamed it Sojourn and moved it from France to the USA. Later on we also found a picture on the Erie Canal taken in May 2013.
Our father just turned 78 years and his biggest wish is to still visit the Sojourn.”
The photos below were taken in October 2014 by Bob Stopper. They show her being moved by Benjamin Elliot toward her current location in the Lyons.
Stories like Maja’s move me, and I certainly hope Marinus Faasse gets to visit with his half-century-plus-years creation soon in Lyons, where snow likely covers it.
Click here and here for photos of some other Dutch barges in the northeastern parts of the US. There may be more, and if so, I’d love to learn about them. For some motor barges that traveled from west-to-east on the Atlantic, click here for a post I did four years ago.
Many thanks to Maja Faasse for writing. Also, to Bob Stopper who sent the three photos of Sojourn back last fall. Also, a tip of the hat to Lewis Carroll for coining the portmanteau portmanteau.
The imp in my head wants to mess with the title and permutate this to “tugmotives and locoboats,” and I’m guessing way back when power began to be applied to hulls, there were those who thought they were seeing “loco boats” but I digress. First, a historical photo to set the context.
Just east of local 19, here’s Margot pushing a barge underneath the main line. I don’t know the exact number, but these rails cross over the canal at least a half dozen times between Waterford and Tonawanda.
As you’ll see in most of the next photos, it’s hard to get a photo of a complete tug and a complete locomotive if you happen to be moving on one of the other. Difficulty notwithstanding, I kept on trying.
With a drone I could have gotten the locomotive . . .
or the rest of the tugboat.
I know there’s no locomotive in sight, but the boxcars were colorful.
We had to wait at the top of lock 19 and my camera was ready, but no trains came. As soon as we descended and started heading eastward . . . one passed.
When one passed right near us, of course it was backlit.
I took this shot from the upper wheelhouse.
So at the end of the season, I had to conclude this was my loco-tug moneyshot, which had to be taken from neither.
All photos by Will Van Dorp, whose focus will soon be leaving the canal. Having said that, part of me wants to get back up there when the water levels are drawn down and the snow covers the ground. Click here for some history of the relations rail/canal in the first quarter century after the opening of the waterway. Click here for a basic introduction to the canal levels monitoring from the state hydrologist.
Now this could be a productive combo, after all there was a DeWitt Clinton, which was NY’s first locomotive and it ran between two cities at the eastern end of the Erie Canal.
What does Governor Cleveland have to do with it?
Well, it just happened to be tied to bollards just west of Lock 14 . . .
but no bollard will ever stop the frequently passing locomotives and cars . . .
All photos by Will Van Dorp.