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Tony A sent these first three photos. What are they?
Here’s the answer. I like the statement . . the last one above water! I wonder what else you can say that about. Whalebacks have come and gone, except this one. Click here for a historical essay on whalebacks that makes an unexpected connection to Franklin D. Roosevelt. If your appetite is whetted, here’s another. As the the connection between this style and x-bows, click here.
Frisia Inn, which was in and out of the sixth boro a week or so ago, is not a whaleback,
but the bow shares some design features.
Many thanks to Tony for the actual whaleback photos. For a good closing story on a whaleback whose remnants lie 400 feet below the surface of the GOM, click here. That whaleback, SS City of Everett, would tow barges and its Captain Thomas Fenlon claimed it could have saved RMS Republic from sinking, offers to do so having been refused by the RMS Republic’s captain.
Here was 4. Of course, many more than seven Seas exist and work east, south, and west of the United States.
Let’s start with Irish Sea, which was called something before that . . . .
Siberian Sea, before it was called that.
Barents Sea . . . . anyone have news on her? She too had names before it became Barents, although I suspect Barents Sea will be her last name ever.
Mediterranean Sea, which originally painted green.
McKinley Sea, and I hope you get the point that all these boats had previous names.
Ross Sea, which actually shows its Thoma-Sea heritage. If you don’t know what I mean, look at the string of vessels built by Thoma-Sea just after Ross Sea was launched in February 2003. Thoma-Sea here actually makes eight seas.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Chugging right along from yesterday’s post . . . I’m recalling my visits in recent years to a certain junkyard not far from I-75 in Georgia . . . .
of course I Today’s post will start out right in front of the office of the captain of the port,
here’s the view of the port from across the street,
and there’s a whole lot more to see when I walk down the street.
And we end today with another shot of the 1957 Ford, next to a 1959 Buick convertible.
To put these photos into a context, watch a few minutes of this video, showing Havana streets about three generations ago, just to see that it was all the same cars. For what appears to be fairly well documented history, read this article and this one as well. For a bit more history with vintage air travel posters and maps, click here.
And unless I hear loud boos and hisses about topic, I have one more installment. Boos and hisses about misidentification–or anything else– as well as questions and up-antes are entirely welcome. I was thinking to put some of these together into a 18-month calendar for my brother, who is the REAL car nut in my life, eh?
All photos by Will Van Dorp, except this last one where he plays talent and the driver takes the photo.
Thanks again to Barrel for sending another dredge photo. These photos send me looking for background. So here is what I can figure.
Davison (records say Davidson, but I’ll go by what I see in the photo above) was built by Dravo in Wilmington DE in 1945. She was dispatched to Korea in 1951 because of the extreme tides in Inchon—average range is 29 and extreme range is 36 feet.
Again thanks, Barrel.
Click on the image below for an interactive map of this portion of the sixth boro. Right now at about the 9 o’clock position you see two small white specks. They
are the huge spherical tanks seen off Barbara McAllister‘s stern.
Consider the size of the wraparound stairs and you’ll understand why locally they’re called “gorilla’s balls.”.
So here’s what the tugboat fueling station looks like from the north bank of the KVK, and
here looking west.
Here’s looking NE across the tank farm, and
from the landslide looking eastward across Robbins Reef Light to Brooklyn.
Off the bow of Oleander–the incoming small container ship, would be the Staten Island ferry racks,
and here’s looking south across tanker Navig8 Spirit toward the salt pile. But here’s the surprise, inside the fence and between the tanks,
there’s a very old cemetery, which pre-dates the use of this land for oil.
All photos by Will Van Dorp. Many thanks to Jack Kennedy for arranging for this tour.
The warehouses on the opposite side of the river from red vessel below are the current location of Brooklyn Bridge Park. That makes the pier location a little south of piers 16 and 15. South Street Seaport Museum’s boats today. Could that be Ollie, the stick lighter currently disintegrating in Verplanck?
I’m not sure what we’re looking at here, but the Cushman identifies it as 1941. According to Paul Strubeck, it’s likely an express lighter–a category of self-propelled vessel I was not aware of–possibly operated by Lee and Simmons Lighterage.
And finally . . I wish this photo–dated September 1940-– had been framed differently. Phillip’s Foods is still around, although I’ve never eaten at any of their restaurants or if this is even the same company. Royal Clover . . . I can’t find anything about that brand. And seeing all those cartons in Jeff and the barges, today there’d be a few containers and you’d have no idea of the contents.
For another treasure trove of photos of old New York harbor, click here.
Today’s post comes out of a response I received yesterday from retired FDNY dispatcher and historian, Al Trojanowicz, who wrote, “The full photo is fire aboard SAUGUS, American Export Lines (1919) with fireboat WILLIAM F GAYNOR (1914) alongside, and a mystery vessel off to left. Appears to be similar configuration to the quarantine tug, and original print shows and what looks like a government pennant displayed with a circular or ships-wheel design. The information below is all I have found on this fire, and was the caption pasted to the back of the print. Those ladders seen on forward well deck may be accessing the hold – or from another vessel rafted on the port side.”
The caption pasted on the back reads: “10/2/1926 Fire in freighter Saugus. Photo caption READS “FIREBOATS STAGE SPECTACULAR BATTLE AND SAVE FREIGHTER!” Fireboats fought a brilliant battle, October 2nd, and saved the freighter Saugus from burning to the water’s edge in the East River, New York. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the rolls of thick black smoke issuing from the hold, attracted passing craft, and fire patrols. This photo shows the ship which was loaded mostly with cotton, removed frantically by the hands, off New York City.” (10-2-26) [Photo shows fireboat William J. Gaynor alongside Saugus. An unknown launch is rafted outboard of Gaynor, and an unknown vessel to the left.]
The caption says . . . East River, but the background to me looks like Staten Island seen from mid-Upper Bay.
So here’s a closer up of that unknown vessel. Is it flying the USPHS flag?
I’d speculate that this is a US PHS cutter. I’ve been unable to find a listing of these–like McClintic–based in New York. Also, although today’s FDNY boats have medical response equipment on board and FDNY personnel receive first responder training, back in 1926 they probably did not. And this raises another whole set of questions like, what was training like in the 1926 FDNY, what medical equipment if any was there on board FDNY vessels, and would USPHS vessels have a role in assisting during fires on the water and along the shores and docks? It ask strikes me that–given the amount of smoke emanating from the stacks of these steamers made a fire on the water look very different from one today, where all the smoke you see is from the emergency, not the routine use of fuel. Finally, I’m guessing this fire was not catastrophic consequence given that no story appears in the NYTimes archives and SS Saugus continued in service until 1946, when it as scrapped.
Al also sent along this photo of the Buffalo fireboat Cotter (1900), still in service. Here is a photo of it in 1924, probably in Buffalo. At that date it was still known by its original name, William S. Grattan. In 1928, while fighting a fire on the Buffalo River, it was heavily damaged and rebuilt.
Many thanks to Al Trojanowicz for these photos and questions. Click here and scroll for more information from Al on FDNY Marine division.
Note: This is day 13 of December, tugster’s classic/historic vessel month. If you have photos/stories to share that fit the “classic” parameters, please get in touch.
I don’t make much fuss about Christmas for reasons I explained here 10 years ago; when I really want something and I can afford it, I just get it. Of course, I have no problems with anyone going all out with gifts. Books and experiences make the best gifts. Experiences . . . teach you and you can remember them forever.
Books . . . you read them once and then read them again or give them to someone you think will enjoy them as much as or more than you did. See the book cover below . . . great cover and fabulous book. Inside you find crisp photos, reproductions of painting of McAllister vessels, family stories, . . . even an owners’ family tree that clarifies some of the boat names. The story starts in 1864 as James McAllister (generation 1) stood on the northeast coast of Ireland about to emigrate across the Atlantic.
One of my favorite stories involves the boat below, launched from Newport News Shipbuilding Co. in May 1909 as John Twohy, Jr, for Lambert’s Point Tow Boat Company. Renamed J. P. McAllister, this boat served as a platform for the one-and-only Harry Houdini‘s escape from handcuffs and leg irons inside a nailed-shut, weighted packing case. Here’s a reference to this event in a recent NYTimes, but in this book, you get two photos of the event and facsimiles of the contemporary news story and the J. P. McAllister logbook entry, all attesting to the tremendous research involved in this beautifully produced volume.
One more great story . . . typical of struggles to divide up ownership in any family business. When disagreement came to a head in on a cold Easter Sunday morning in 1904, “the partners decided to work out the percentages once and for all by meeting on a tugboat, taking it offshore, and not returning until they had an agreement.” Now Capt. Jim (generation 2) told his 6 year-old son A. J. to wait at the pier until they all returned. Which happened to be as night fell. Here’s how it’s told: “Capt. Jim … his face covered in blood . . . jumped off [the boat onto the pier where A. J. had waited all day], grabbed A. J. by the hand, and said, ‘That’s it. It’s settled. The issue is settled.'”
Below is one of my many favorite full-page photos in the book. Another photo a few pages later adds detail not unlike Birk Thomas and collaborators do here.
A book like this focuses not only on a family business but also New York City, with all six of its boros, and the country. The photo below shows the McAllister yard behind Ellis Island, real estate taken over in the 1970s for the creation of Liberty State Park. Today’s margins of the harbor are that way only because of thousands of decisions.
The author, Stephanie Hollyman has a website that highlights an impressive breadth of work.
Click here for ordering info.
Since we’re looking at books, here’s one that might be ripe for updating. Another one I’ve reread and enjoyed recently is Buckets and Belt: Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloader by William M. Lafferty, Valerie van Heest, and Kenneth Pott.
I love it when followup appears, especially when I don’t expect it. Like this . . . over three years ago, I did this post about the 1952 race. Much later . . a little over a month ago, this comment from Robert Sullivan registered on the blog: “great article. my grandfather –R. Sullivan–was the captain of the Shamokin (Reading Company) and I have in my office the plaque he won that day. Shamokin is still working now in Norfolk but for a while was owned by Express Marine towing coal from Baltimore to Trenton.” Two weeks later, this response came to a question I’d asked: “Yes … I have a picture of Shamokin at the dock from Sept. 1952 with the crew and names listed on the back of the photo. … When I found out that Express Marine was still running the boat out of Pennsauken NJ, I called them and was connected to the president of the company. The first thing he said was “Do you know the Shamokin won the 1952 tugboat races!?”
Well, the races took place on August 27, 1952, which means that this is a victory photo. For a full photo of the tug at the dock, click here and scroll to the bottom of page 1.
All these photos come from Robert Sullivan, who photographed both photo and info on the back, which I’ll transcribe here:
“Left to Right. Ed Good, Shore Capt Reading Lines. Ed Walters, Mrg of P Reading Term. R Sullivan, Capt of Tug Shamokin. G Mosenthine, Engineer. A Ivanick, Steward. G Milonakis, Steward. F Pauleson, Engineer. M Yurmason, Oiler. B Wescott, Deckhand. C Bloodgood, Deckhand.” Any transcription errors are mine.
Here’s another shot, Shamokin with a scow on both hips.
And verso on this photo I read “O’Neil, Sorsa, Dad, Herpo, & Jim Rea.”
Here, from tugboat information.com, is a summary of Shamokin‘s working life, which goes on 63 years later. All that’s missing is a photo of the tug today as Alfred Walker. Can anyone send one along?
Click here and scroll for an Express Marine photo of the boat. Shamokin was launched from RTC Shipbuilding in Camden a decade and some after John B. Caddell, and about the same time as Ocean King, Edith Thornton, and Big Daddy, pictured below in a photo I took near the Hays yard in June 2010.
Many thanks to Rob Sullivan for sharing these photos.
December is classic boat (more than a quarter century old) month on tugster. Please contact me –see the left side navigation bar here–if you have photos and stories to contribute.
At the end of the Oneida Lake series, you’ll see why this could also be called “second lives 15 part b.”
Technically, this post starts out early morning in Clay, NY, with tug Syracuse and crane ship Wards Island tied to the east end of Lock 23.
Wards Island–and her sister ship Tenkenas–were built in 1929 by Electric Boat of Groton CT. Later in the series I’ll show you the brass builder’s plate. By 1937, both were listed as abandoned. For some of the history of intervening years, check out A Long Haul starting on p. 128.
Here Syracuse pushes Wards Island under the rail bridge just west of Route 11 heading for the lake. A key to the location is the Brewerton Range Rear lighthouse, visible in the trees along the right side margin of the photo.
The lake is unusually glassy for November and the fall task of replacing the summer navigation buoys with winter “placeholder” spar buoys, seen here below between the crane boom and the spud. Wards Island is fully self-propelled in the manner you’d expect of a former double-ender ferry, just very slow, a time waste on a large lake like Oneida. Click here for info on tug and barge wrecks in the lake.
Here’s the view through the controls of the crane looking toward the east end of the lake.
To the right you see the Verona Beach Lighthouse, and buoy 106 is in sight to the left of the hook.
The tow is maneuvered into position and a crewman captures the buoy with the boat hook.
The crew make the connection and 106 gets raised. In part b and c of this series, I’ll show the crew actions step by step.
Since no spar buoy replaces 106, anchor and all are brought up. In the distance to the left you can see the Route 13 bridge between Verona and Sylvan Beach. Click here for one of many posts I did in 2014 with photos from near the Route 13 bridge.
Buoy 107 is next on the boat, and
the first spar buoy goes in, anchored to mark the spot.
By 1130, we’re approaching buoy 109.
The crewman with the yellow sweatshirt is using a tool to hook between the buoy lift point and the crane hook.
Once a buoy is on the boat, the flashing beacon is removed and
stowed in a locker.
All photos by Will Van Dorp. More of Oneida Lake tomorrow.
Many thanks to the NYS Canal Corporation for granting permission to photograph the work of Wards Island.