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I’ve neglected mentioning the locations of the Albert Gayer photos, in some cases because I had no idea.  This photo, however, is easy to place:  top of the flight and just above the first guard gate there.  Center of the photo is the “Crescent Lake” portion of the canal, looking “west.”  The waterway flowing to the left is headed for Cohoes Falls, and a hydro plant before the falls.

What’s remarkable for me about the photo is the number of tug/barge units waiting to head down the flight to Waterford and the Hudson.  I count eight.  Anyone have ideas why so many units are waiting here?

Penn No. 2 is headed up the flight here, I believe, between E-2 and E-3.  I’ve not found any info on this tugboat.  It has an odd profile, may be on the shorter/smaller side?

Corporal began life as an Army tug and was a Conners vessel until 1951, so that places the time setting of this photo.

In 1951, she became the third Ned Moran.

Next are a set of tug/barges I can’t identify.  Nor can I guess at the location, although I’d guess the somewhere in the western half .  I can, however, identify the boat whose foredeck you see to the right and will post more info about it later.  For now, you can conjecture all you like. I’ll feature this boat (if I remember) in February.

Ditto, I don’t know the unit here, but I’m hoping someone reading this can identify the livery. As for location, I’d say somewhere between E-13 and E-14.

Yet another puzzler.  It’s E-8 westbound, but that’s all I can say.

The tug Salutation photo is another I can’t place, for now.  I’ve read a reference somewhere the past few days, but don’t have 100% recall.  I wonder which years the commercial traffic on the canal last flew this banner.

Also, notice that all the barges in this post are tank barges, moving petroleum products.  As total freight on the canal plummeted in the 1950s and 60s, the percentage of petroleum cargoes increased dramatically.

All photos, Albert Gayer, in the collection of the Canal Society of New York.  Thanks.

 

I have lots more Gayer Barge Canal tugboat photos coming, but this set of photos had me puzzled until just now.

I’d seen the Merritt-Chapman & Scott crane barges Charleston and Concord with a tugboat in between.  Focussing on trying to identify the tugboat as well as the location on the Barge Canal blinded me to the activity in the photos.  I’ll give my interpretation later in the post, but first . . . tell me how you read the photos.

I love the lines on the small workboat Contest

All undated photos by Albert Gayer.

First, I think the photos were taken on the Rondout, not the Barge Canal, but I don’t know where on the Rondout that quarry might be located.  

 Second, it appears that Charleston and Concord have just raised that tugboat from where it sank.

Alternative interpretations, especially if mine is wrong and yours is correct, are welcome.

Albert Gayer’s photos beckon us back, with this well-known livery and the big white M on a black stack.  Mary Moran was built in Beaumont TX in 1941 and was called Mary Moran from 1947 until 1974.  Questions I’d have is about the voyages:  how far into salt water would she go and same  . . .  in the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence.    Note the Texaco star on the barge house.  Are there photos of her in the Welland Canal?

Seaval was launched in 1950 in New Orleans, and changed hands three times in two years, becoming Seaval in 1952.  She kept that name for about a decade.  Eventually she was owned by Purves as Anna Marie Altman, who scrapped her in 2021.  There must be lots of photos of her working on the Great Lakes. She’s pushing barge Pittston.

Marie S. Moran was built at the same Beaumont TX Bethlehem Steel shipyard as Mary Moran, just six years earlier.  In 1961 or 1962, she was sold to Sierra Leonian interests, renamed Afpet (African Petroleum) 5.  Note she appears to be getting some repainting on the wheelhouse.  There must be many more photos of her on the Great Lakes, since she likely had the same range as the younger Mary Moran.  How about a photo of the two of them crossing?

How about this beauty, with what appears to be a wood superstructure?

My question is this:  is this the 1914 boat by the name Clayton P. Kehoe or the 1943?  My money is on the 1914 boat, which carried that name from 1968 until 1971;  recall that Gayer lived until 1976, so he could have taken this photo.  Also, the 1943 boat had this name for only a year or less and looks quite different in the photo in the 1943 link. Interestingly, this boat carried several Moran names as well as Dauntless No. 5

in its lifetime and was built at the same Ferrysburg MI yard as Urger.

William J. Moran is a Moran name used at least twice, for a 1916 boat (which foundered in the late 1930s) as well as a 1938.  My money says this is the 1938 boat, which was built at Defoe in Bay City MI.  Eventually, she may have become Anne Moran and Eklof’s Yankee, which was scrapped in 1993.   Here she’s pushing tank barge Seaboard 38.

Recall that the Moran story, told so well in the 1956 book Tugboat by Eugene F. Moran and Louis Reid, begins with Thomas Moran, an immigrant kid in Frankfort NY in the vicinity of today’s lock E-19.  That 1956 book is an excellent read.

That was a digression from this last photo for today . . . Sheila Moran, pushing Barrett No. 2.   Two boats carried this name, twice very briefly and another launched in 1941, which would carry the name until 1975 (with a very brief interruption.  So this is the 1941 boat, also built in Beaumont TX. The 1939 boat carried the name Catherine Moran for most of its career on the Barge Canal from 1947 until 1960, and has appeared on this blog several times.  A model of that boat exists at Oswego’s H. Lee White Maritime Museum.

All photos, Albert Gayer and used with permission from the Canal Society of New York, who hold a winter symposium in about a month, although it appears the website has not yet been updated.

Related question:  When did the last Moran tugboat exit the Barge Canal?

My sources include these:  http://www.tugboatinformation.com/     and   https://greatlakes.bgsu.edu/item/438169     and https://gltugs.wordpress.com/

 

Tugster gallivants now and then.  It turns out that Albert Gayer did the same thing, as evidenced by this very rich photo clearly taken from the Route 104 bridge crossing the Oswego River and Oswego Canal looking north toward Lake Ontario.  Remember that the image enlarges when you double click on it.

The only constants–other than the water–are the cement silos to the left and the lighthouse center and above the stern of the barge.  Too many towing companies had red livery, so I can’t tell if that tug is a Conners boat, with the mustard yellow stack, or something else?  

Other details here, l to r;  see the two straight-decker steamers to the left, i.e., the west side of the river.  The outside one says Huron Cement on the hull.  Along the distant horizon, that’s not land;  it’s black smoke blowing to the right along the horizon emanating from a passing laker. Moving to the east side of the river, a ship with a tall mast has a gangway out and people are embarking or debarking. What would that ship be, government boat maybe?  See the Mobil flying horse sign at the inlet where the marina is now?  Guess that’s long been a fuel dock, and maybe the tug/barge will discharge fuel there?  Has there been a lot of fill at the port, or is the land below obscured by that low-slung building?

See the black 1940s automobile on the open dock space, at a point where the tug and barge seem headed?  That space is now occupied by a Best Western and Alex‘s.  On the extreme right side of the photo below the top window, see the letters “Kni…”?  Not many words or businesses in Oswego start that way in English.  Today there’s a gym attached to a Clarion (?) hotel there.  I love the guy in the hat and trench coat jumping the fence from his boat where a car is parked right around the corner of that building.

Here’s a rafted up set of boats, Sagamore, Cree II, and a barge B. No. 80, which certainly seems like Bouchard nomenclature.

This might be the same scene, slightly different time and vantage point at lock E-8.

Cree II pushes Hygrade No. 26  (or 28?)in westbound.

Cree is a 1938 Bushey boat, pushing Hygrade No. 5, I think.  It was later Joan Kehoe.

 This Crow is a 1938 build, sister of Cree above and Chancellor.  Later Crow was Elsa Carroll, Kerry K. Kehoe, Osceola, and Kerri K.  Obviously, This is NOT the Crow that operated for Donjon until about 10 years ago.  That Crow’s last ride [May 2014]  to the scrapper is here.  

Bill Endter was a Morania tug, here

pushing Morania 180 westbound at lock E-14.

Let’s end this post with a Morania tug, I think No. 8.

All photos by Albert Gayer.  His archives are one of many treasures maintained by the Canal Society of New York.

Any errors, WVD.  Your corrections, additions, and comments are most welcome.

I believe Albert Gayer took these photos at lock E-14.  This unit was transiting westbound and has just entered, as the lower gates are still open.

 

Note the long “reins” running from the spotlight all the way back to the wheelhouse.  I’ll be corrected if wrong, but I suspect these allowed someone in the wheelhouse to swivel the light to illuminate what was needed during night passage:  buoys, other vessels, debris in the water, etc. 

J. Raymond Russell was built at Liberty Dry Dock (where is that?) in Brooklyn in 1939.  For the next quarter century and until 1963, it was a Russell Brothers Towing vessel

The Russells began their business in the sixth boro in 1844, finally selling to McAllister Towing in 1962.  More on Russell Brothers Towing here, and if you want 150-some pages of their history, check out Hilary Russell’s book here.

All photos, Albert Gayer.

The most frequent Russell Brothers boat on this blog is the wooden tug W. O. Decker, ex-Russell 1 from 1930 until 1947.

 

Thomas A. Feeney tows an unidentified barge, which appears to be wood.

A closeup of the same photo shows the tug is clearly Thomas A. Feeney, the founder of the shipyard that built wooden barges.  Any idea where  Thomas A. Feeney may have been built?  Her fate?  Openings can be seen at the top of the wheelhouse as well.

K. Whittelsey, was built in 1930, scrapped in 2008, and of course there were a lot of stories found in legal decisions–and photos— in between.

Here she transits westbound at lock E-8.  She spent some of her working years as a OTCo boat, a sad few years sunk in Gowanus Canal.

Tug Seneca pushing tank barge Atlantic.  Any ideas on which Seneca this was?  Note the “Observe Safe Boating Week”  banner and the laundry hanging below along the port side.  The gentleman standing on the gate almost appears to be holding a cell phone to his left ear.

This would be the 1907 Eileen McAllister.

Morania No. 9 was built at Matton Shipyard in 1951

 and christened Edward Matton.  Was that upper house removed?

 

I’m left to wonder about the conversation between the formally dressed man-in-black on shore and crewm,an on the boat.  But more important, if this is also No. 9, what happened to then portholes in the wheelhouse?

In 2000, she was reefed off Manasquan River as Patrick J. McHugh as part of the Axel Carlson Artificial Reef.

As I stated yesterday, I have hundreds of these images for not only tugboats but also canal motor ships. Besides these, I’m told the Canal Society has thousands more negatives in storage, yet to be scanned or even inventoried. 

I’m posting these in small batches to elicit what memories and associations are out there.   Although I also post on Facebook to widen the cast, please comment here rather than on FB so that your comments remain with the post, not lost in the FB feed and flow.

As a way to begin working through the cache, I have jumped into this without a thorough plan;  more Conners and Blue Line and Feeney images will follow.  Using the tags, you can link to what’s been done in the past by clicking on a given tag [but maybe you already know that.]

 

I’ve been entrusted with copies of photos from the Canal Society of New York taken by Albert Gayer.  Gayer collected photographic glass negatives and old postcards showing canal-related scenes as you can spend the whole day looking at here.  My favorites include this 1902 bicyclist in Rexford and this 1897 (?) hard hat diver about to descend into Buffalo harbor on a ladder, much as would be done in such a project today.

He also took photos of tugboats and other commercial vessels operating in the what was the Barge Canal, in the 1950s.  If I’m wrong about that or any of this, I expect to be corrected.

For some of these, I’ve been able to locate information.  For example, details on Hustler 

can be found at the ever-valuable Tugboatinformation.com   One unique feature–at least to my 21st century eyes–is her version of an “upper wheelhouse,” which I suspect could be retracted as needed to lower her air draft.   It is my hope that readers can group-source much more about the three boats in today’s post.  

For example, in the photo below, the Oil Transfer Company (Otco) logo is still in the stack.  Otco was acquired by Moran in 1950, yet just beyond the tug is an automobile that looks to be at oldest a 1952 Mercury wagon.  So why is the Otco logo still on the stack?

Next up, it’s clearly Anna L. Conners, a Conners Marine tug, that seems to be undergoing some paint maintenance.  

Here she’s clearly westbound at the top of Lock E-17 in Little Falls.  Anna L. Conners (or Connors) was built at Jakobson in Oyster Bay in 1942 for Standard Towing.  What become of her in the 1990s when she dropped out of documentation as Mid State 1?  Other than lawsuits, I find nothing about Conners Marine.  I’ve found reference in case law to a Conners Marine tug Maple Leaf.  Which other Barge Canal tugboats did Conners operate?  Of course, there’s the still-extant 1881 Elise Ann Conners.

Sagamore was a fairly common name for vessels in parts of the 19th and 20th centuries, and oddly enough, a small (1730 teu) US-flagged container ship, Delaware ported, is currently sailing off Oman.

This Sagamore was part of the James McWilliams Blue Line fleet, a family business that appears to have started in the late 19th century by James’ father, Owen J. McWilliams.  The 1957 Spartan,  also in that fleet, was reefed in 1986 at Sea Girt;  fewer than 30 years in service seems a short life for a boat.  

 Sagamore has more port lights than I’ve even seen in a tugboat. What became of Sachem and Bristol, referred to and depicted in the first link in this paragraph?

I have many more of these Barge Canal tugboat photos from the Gayer collection.  I hope you enjoy filling in more pieces of the history of these vessels.

For more on the Canal Society of New York, click here, or check them out on Facebook here

Parts B, C, etc. can be forthcoming.

 

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