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Here, from a year ago, were previous Gmelin photos.

All I can tell about the photo below is that it shows Homeric, 1931.  Of the three tugs to her starboard and the six or so in the distance as well as the small sloop and stick lighter to the right . . . I can say nothing else and hope someone reading this will have some detail to add.

Six years earlier, some had criticized Capt. John Roberts for being unable–not unwilling–to rescue anyone from Raifuku Maru some 500 miles off Boston.

Homeric went eight years between keel-laying and entering service because a war intervened, then saw service for less than 20 years.

As was true for Homeric, RMS Empress of Australia was built in the German shipyard now located in Poland.  This Empress of Australia was launched in 1913;  Kaiser Wilhelm II made her into the royal yacht, imagining he would receive the surrendered allied fleets from her.  Oh well . . .

Other details here on the photo marked 1931 . . .  to the right behind the ship I can see a pier marked Ellerman’s Wilson Line, although I don’t know what pier number that would be.  And on the stern of the assist tug I can make out  the Howard portion of  . . . Howard C. Moore, a Moran boat by then.

My point is that visual detail and charm notwithstanding, there’s a vacuum of fact in these photos.

Which brings me to a book I reread yesterday and would recommend–Sailors, Waterways, and Tugboats I Have Known–although the title is bulky.  The author–Capt. Fred G. Godfrey, who also wrote a novel Fugitive Deckhand–though born ashore, lived from infancy on a canal barge his parents operated in the New York Canal system.  In the first chapter, he mentions the first tugboat he ever rode aboard, a Buffalo-built 1899 steam tug named Triton.  He was four then, and then later he worked aboard as a deckhand and cook.  To be fair, Godfrey included three photos of Triton, but I wanted more, although his details about the galley of a tug of a century ago are rich.   In chapter two, he writes about George Field, an 1882 Buffalo-built tug his father captained.   And again, there were two pictures, and I wanted more, although the anecdote of the time he intervened–as a kid–and shoved a helmsman bent on sabotaging the boat  . . . is great.    Third chapter  . . . it’s Junior Murphy, built 1909 in New Baltimore NY.  Again, two photos of the boat are included as well as info about cargoes–including hay– and ports of call that included St.-Jean -sur-Richelieu, QC.

I read this book a few years ago before I’d gained familiarity with these waterways and it was unsatisfying.  Now I know most of the references, and I want a thousand more photos and would have loved to converse with Capt. Godfrey.

I’m not being whiney.  I love the Gmelin photos and the Godfrey books. In fact, if anyone wants to trade some vintage photos of tugboats for my second copy of Sailors, Waterways, and Tugboats . . ., let me know.

I hope a satisfying record remains for the readers and researchers working here in 2117.

 

 

 

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From this angle, Fort Lee–birthplace of the motion-picture industry– looks quite pristine.  Yes, that’s the west tower of the GW Bridge.  Am I correct in thinking the marketing name of the twin towers in the distance is the Moderns 1 and 2?

And on the subject of “towers” that Ocean Tower, a name I never know how to pronounce, as I first raised the question here over nine years ago.

Here’s the tow I saw last week.

 

Judging from the barge name TZC-102,  these bridge supports will undergird parts of the TZ Bridge, the completion of this huge project will soon transform into a huge sale of assets.

And where are these supports pre-cast?

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who thinks you might enjoy this recent Scientific America article on suspension v. cable-stay bridges.

For starters, let me say I should have visited the Chittenango Landing Canal Museum a long time ago.  And if you’re in the Syracuse area, it’s certainly worth a visit.

Now the museum is much, much more inclusive than this diorama, but the subject matter intrigues me . . .   My all-time favorite circus movie was Something Wicked This Way Comes, stemming from Ray Bradbury’s ripe imagination.  But I’d love to see a movie doing a rendering of life in central New York set in Sig Sautelle’s floating circus…   so many strands . . . 200 years of canal history, Civil War drummer boy turned circus guy, meow man cats, ventriloquism and maybe a split personality, and to

juice it up, there needs to be a murder or a sordid affair.

Maybe it involves a rival circus, and it could all get

scented up by a wayward whale . . . westbound, crossing paths with the eastbound circus!

More canal spectacle here, although additional surprises may lie around each bend.

 

 

I could barely make her out, since we were several miles off a shore I was paying attention to for its own sake.  Some closeups taken last year appear at the end of the post, showing Lee A. Tregurtha as she’s put together now, so different from her first lives in the Atlantic and Pacific which could have seen her torpedoed and coral- or something-encrusted in the deeps.

Some major quarrying takes place there, north of Alpena MI,

rendering a +800′ ship almost invisible.

I know I’m exaggerating, but this enterprise leads me to imagine that Lake Huron might be enlarged here until there becomes an Upper Peninsula and a Lower one with a long coastline between Huron Beach and Petoskey,  creating the island of Cheboygan in between and a cable-stayed crossing at Indian River.

Yes, I digress,

but some thousand years from now . . ..

who knows . .

 

So here’s how the fore section of  Lee A. looks today.  She was launched in 1942 as SS Samoset, then six months later acquired by the USN as USS Chiwawa.

Here’s the distinctive stern.

The midsection arrived from Germany in 1960 towed by the tug Zeeland.

For all the details, here’s a tip of the hat to George Wharton and located on boatnerd.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Happy September 3, 

and August 2

and  . . . well, someone’s vision of  the moment or a zeitgeist,

heritage,

zeitgeist,

heritage,

zeitgeist,

heritage…

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who thinks that’s where a tension exists.

 

Happy 4th of July!  Here’s the first post by this title with a story of what John Adams wrote Abigail around this time 241 years ago.

So why do we celebrate this day?  Uh . . . the British surrendered?  It marks the first battle for independence?

DDG-55 Stout  (photo taken May 20, 2015)

We got freedom to say what we want, pray to whomever we choose, buy as many guns as we want, refuse to be unreasonably searched, charged too much bail, have access to lawyers in court, and things like that?

The founders of the US signed the Declaration of Independence?

Nope!  Nope, nope.  None of those is correct.  The British didn’t surrender for another 6 years and didn’t vacate their occupation force from the sixth boro–the only boro then–until 1783.  The Constitution wasn’t written for another decade and some!!

Here’s a good quick “not fake” read for today called “9 Things You May Not Know About the  Declaration of Independence.”

I’ll get back to that . .  but what is that military gray ship over there trying to camouflage itself against Staten Island ferry orange?  I took the rest of these photos about 24 hours ago . . .   The flag at the stern is NOT US…

It’s French.  So maybe they’re here to help us  celebrate the contributions of Rochambeau, DeGrasse. and Lafayette?

Nope, they helped after 1776 . . ..  In fact the Alliance had not even existed yet for a few years .  . .

Well, maybe the crew of the French L 9032 is here to ride the NYWheel?

Nope.  That’s in some turmoil.

See the billboard there?  Maybe they’re here for “the lowest cost health plan?”

Maybe they’re here for Macy’s !!?  Rowland Hussey Macy WAS a sailor, after all;  the red Macy’s logo star was the tattoo he wore on his hand . . .

 

Actually  I have NO idea why FS Dumont D’Urville docked over at the old homeport yesterday . . .  maybe someone can illuminate us . . .?

But to get back to 4th July . . . here was the response of George III–the accused– to the Declaration:  I’d never read it until now and it’s short and precious and defensive!!

Here’s another 4 July tugster post from the archives . . .  And if you still have time to read, here are “Six things you (probably) didn’t know about the 4th July. . . .”  And the flag of that year?  Maybe here.  And the drink of choice to fete the day back then . . .?  Well, it was not beer or rum.  Rick Spilman has it here.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp, who offers another link to the big document of the day here, and wishes you a happy independence day.

 

Here was the first in this series.

Recognize this ferry for decades since 1988 has been laid up, recently just west of the Bayonne Bridge . . . not the best photo but it’s Pvt. Nicholas Minue?  I can’t remember if it was still there last time I passed . . .

Know the story?

Pvt. Minue lies in Carthage, Tunisia, one of the cemeteries in 15 countries around the world.  Below, a Tunisian man, Abdullah Lagahre tends Minue’s marker; for more on this story and the source of this photo, click here.

Near and far, may their sacrifice be remembered and respected.

Here are some related links . . .  classified stars on a wall, the wall in Fort Huachuca, and what the VA spent on Confederate graves as of 2013.

Here’s a story of another Medal of Honor awardee whose remains lie overseas, this time in Asia.

 

Actually, only part of this leg is through the ICW, or another way to say this is that from Cape May to NYC you need to be in the ocean.  For a map that shows this, click here. This leg takes us from Baltimore to New York City, which in this case is not the end of the trip.  More on that later.

Below, Key’s Anthem is Baltimore’s new Inner Harbor water taxi, the first vessel of 10, one that’s all local vernacular . . . a Hooper’s Island drake tail.

Tiwai Point prepares to discharge a load of sugar, from Colombia, I think . . .

Bridget McAllister (and other McAllister boats) waits at the dock.

We head out past Natty Boh and Brooklyn . . . ,

Vane’s Carlyn,

and Justin with an unidentified load.

Was it Justin that towed Tamaroa out to the reef site last week?

At the Chesapeake side of the C & D Canal, it’s Dann Ocean’s home base, with (l to r) First Coast, Diamond Coast, New England Coast, Sea Coast, and Gold Coast.  By the way, Gallatin called this the Delaware & Chesapeake Canal and estimated it as 22 miles long with 18 locks.  The current Chesapeake & Delaware is 14 miles long and all water is at sea level, i.e., no locks.  Here’s the history.

Defender (I think) steams inbound for Pennsauken with Cape Cod tailing a Crowley barge.  Depending on which barge this was, capacity is 400–500 teus.

Gulf Venture/Carrier anchors off Salem . . .

And then morning brings a jagged island up out from the deeps and we

line up some towers . . . while Le Grand Bleu waits in Gravesend Bay.

Note the unusual wake and splash pattern on Jonathan C.‘s stern?

And an unfamiliar Kirby vessel– Mount St. Elias–moves DBL 77 upriver.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

This post follows in the spirit of What Rip Saw 1 and 2.  And the Emma in question is she who wrote the New Colossus.  Her ghost whispered to me yesterday as I looked south from the Battery and saw among other things the muddy tinge to the waters, a hint of freshet from upriver.

First she just rambled a bit dropping references to all the Corsairs and locally-owned Valiant and Conqueror .  ..

She reminded me that Le Grand Bleu had been here before here (scroll) and here, as well as craft of the same type like Topaz and  Luna.  And something about mischief associated with yachts like Alicia . . .

Then Emma’s voice became clearer . . . “I have to revise it,” she said, and then trailed off a bit, almost a mumble, but

what I caught was

“From whence this storied pomp,” cried she

With averted eyes.  “Spare me your pompous, your show-offs,

Your superrich, your oligarchs of energy.

Back with Corsair, Valiant, and Conqueror;  I’ve seen it before.

Send instead your strivers, tempest tossed to me;

Otherwise my lamp matters no more.”

 

Then, Emma was gone, flown off with the wings of a gull.

All I have is this set of photos and a recollection of her thoughts, her voice, to share.

Another oligarchinaut whose vessel appears here is Abramovich, who gave this yacht to its current owner Shvidler.

Here’s more to keep a lookout for this summer.

A month or so ago, I talked with Don Lake, who wanted to tell me some family history, which I transcribe here:  “My family has been on tugs for many years, beginning with my grandfather, Captain James Lake, who began his career as a young boy on Rondout Creek, NY, in the late 1800s and later moved down to New York harbor where he acquired his Master Mariner’s license with unlimited tonnage and pilotage.  In the early 1920s he was also instrumental in the formation of Local 333 along with Captain Joe O’Hare, who organized the tug boat workers of NY harbor.

I have relatives who worked for M. J. Tracy for many years, an old line company in NY, specializing in coal delivery to the power generating stations in NY and NJ at Con Edison and PSE & G.

There’s a great history of the company in a back issue of Tug Bitts from the Tug Boat Enthusiasts organization.”  [The organization is now dormant.]

Helen L. Tracy has since ultimately been rechristened Providence, and I posted a photo of the boat here a few months back tied up on the Mississippi just around the bend downstream from New Orleans. That is, it is the same boat unless I’m confused here.    Another question . . . what was the connection between Avondale Towing Line and M. J. Tracy Towing Company?  I could call Don, but I’m putting the question out to blog readers.  Here’s what I learned about the photo from the Portal to Texas History.

At times like this I really wish there was a digital archive of the years of Tug Bitts.  Is there any plan to do this?  I’d be happy to contribute some ducats for this to happen, and I’m sure lots of other folks would too.

Again, many thanks to Don for writing and sending along a photo I need to frame.

Here’s more on Rondout Creek, currently home to Hudson River Maritime Museum and formerly headquarters for Cornell Steamboat Company. And if you haven’t read Thomas Cornell and the Cornell Steamboat Company by Stuart Murray, here’s how you can order this must-read.

Click here for a Tracy boat from the 1952 tug boat race.

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