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“From the Albert R. Stone Negative Collection, Rochester Museum & Science Center Rochester, N.Y.”

See the added image below the photo of Victor below.

For this photo printed in the Rochester Herald, November 10, 1911, I’ll use text from the collection:  “The “Victor” is a two masted boat with decking in the bow and canvas covering a sheltered space in the stern. She is pictured, with her crew, just off-shore from the roller coaster at Ontario Beach Park. The boat is moving toward the bank of the river. According to the newspaper article, “The Victor is 37 feet over all, has a displacement of about nine tons and is equipped with a six-cylinder Holmes engine. Built in [Bayonne] New Jersey, she is…the latest model lifesaving boat…of the self-righting and self-bailing variety and will make twelve miles an hour under favorable conditions.”


I generally do not modify published posts, except with self-deprecating cross-outs.  But here I’m adding the “plans” sent along by William Lafferty that clearly show the “mis-read” of the 1911 caption writer.  Here was a link I had intended to put with this post as well.  A further contradiction of the “misread” of the orientation of the boat is provided by the rake of the masts.  Thanks all for your corrections;  contemporary captions on any archival photos can be wrong.

McLellan E side elev

So this one is a mystery, and it deepens when you find there is Inspector I and Inspector II, and I don’t know which this is.  This photo is identified as taken in 1919 or 1920, but since the only person identified is Governor Miller, I’m thinking the photo was taken in 1921 or 1922.



My questions:  Is this the yacht built by Consolidated in 1909, 80′ loa?  Are there photos of Governor FD Roosevelt using it?  Did it once belong to a Rochester NY radio station?  Does anyone have facts about it being used in the Mariel Boatlift and ultimately sinking in the Caribbean?

Today there are still annual canal inspections, but one of the vessels used is Grand Erie, a very different creature.


September 2013

The photo above was taken by Will Van Dorp, who’s eager to learn the rest of the story of motor yacht Inspector.


Given the hold shots from Wavertree in yesterday’s post, can you guess the vessels?  Answers at the end of this post.

While under construction . . . looking aft.


During dormancy and along the port side looking aft?


During restoration and looking aft . . . .


During rejuvenation and looking forward . . . Sept. 2009.  The rest of the photos, starting with the one below, all show parts of the same vessel.


A closeup taken from the photo above.


Outside same vessel showing corner of a hatch cover.


Day-Peckinpaugh in the sixth boro in September 2009.



Day-Peckinpaugh between Locks 2 and 3 in Waterford in September 2014



Day-Peckinpaugh is expected to be towed to Buffalo at some point in August 2015.   If you live within reach of the Erie Canal, you might want to get shots of her making a highly unusual transit.  Here’s more on the first (2005) phase of D-P’s second life.

Holds shown above were 1) Onrust, 2) SS United States, and 3) Wavertree.  Thanks to all who’ve helped arrange access.

Here’s another interior shot from last year.

And this is a self-indulgent set of photos.

With many thanks to a friend up on the Erie Canal, it’s ex-Bear, journeying toward the west as Elizabeth Anna.  I suspect she might head for Lockport, rather than Oswego, so maybe someone will confirm they’ve seen her after turning to starboard or port at Three Rivers.  Here some years ago was part of the rest of her fleet.


She seems small by current sixth boro standards, but not here.  Anyone know the location?  Answer follows.


Thanks to Mark “woodywud” Woods, here’s Colonel, not a common sight up river, although that could change.



And finally, some pics I took . . . James E. Brown last week moving railcars on barge 278 between NJ and  Brooklyn, NYNJR. Here’s a 2012 article.



So the top two photos were taken at Sylvan Beach NY, east end of Oneida Lake, a popular stopping point along the Erie Canal. Thanks to Jim and Mark for sending these photos.  The Brown photos are by me, Will Van Dorp.

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.


Anyone know more about this tugboat?

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.

0aaaagb1Lyons ex buoy tender 5 3 2015 J LaDue

Docked astern of Lyons is Salem, which has also gotten some new paint recently.

0aaaagb2lyons and salem Lyons dd erie canal 5 3 2015  Jason LaDue

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.

0aaaLock date 1913

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.

0aa1Lock 27 upper sill, port holes, water 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.

0aa3Lock 27 Southside water tunnel with ice (1024x765)

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.

0aa4Lock 27 entering miter gate, miter sill, 300 ft long x 44  ft wide (768x1024)

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.

0aa5Lock 27 Mitre sill (upper) , mitre gates, dam   (1024x768)

Here from farther outside the ribbon rail dam.  Notice the repainted mitre gate.

0aaaars2Lock 27 Bubblers ahead of ribbon rail dam

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 .

0aa6Lock 27 Miter sill,  sill seal rubber, white oak miter  timbers

along each edge there’s a quoin timber attached to needle sill gate.

0aa7Lock 27 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.

L0aa8ock 27 Trash rack and entrance to water fill culvert   (1024x738)

And the is a wagon-body valve in situ on z-rails in a fill culvert.  How large is it?

0aa9Lock 27 Wagon body valve on Z rails in North fill culvert   (1024x768)

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.

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