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At some point, maybe days before April 23, 1921, at McDougall Duluth Shipyard, this vessel, Interwaterways Line Incorporated 101, or ILI 101, had taken shape on the ways.

After it slid down the ways at launch, it was followed by four sisters, all before summer began in 1921.  The 101 traveled via the Soo, three Great Lakes, and the Barge Canal  to New York with 83,000  bushels of oats (approximately 1300 tons… count the trucks or rail cars) at a rate 60% below the railroad cost.

As you can read below, 101 was the “advance courier of a fleet of new type of ships,” freighters specifically designed to transit the newly opened Barge Canal or Eriemax vessels.

The telegram below details of communication between 101 management and Canal management regarding a “representative familiar with the canal” aboard.  I’m wondering if this was a way of saying they needed a pilot, someone with relevant local knowledge.

 

That initial transit was made eastbound with wooden tugboat Lorraine.

Between 1910 and 1920, the time of the opening of the Barge Canal, the population of Fairport grew by almost 50%.  Note the low profile cargo hatches on the vessel at this time.

Later in August 1921, spectators were photographed coming to see her at E-21.  The steering pole hints at her Great Lakes roots.

Through the years, a number of modifications, detailed here, were made to the freight ship.  She was renamed Richard J. Barnes and later Day Peckinpaugh, her current name.   As Barnes, she carried coal along the East Coast and once dodged a torpedo launched from a German submarine.

1959?  Here she is just below lock E2 and the “flight of five” in Waterford.  All the other commercial vessels behind them, stretching all the way back to the Hudson River, I’ve read they are stuck there because of an issue with another lock in the flight.  In other words, this is a smaller version of the back up a month ago due to Ever Given in the Suez Canal.

Also note in the photo above tug Urger on the opposite side of the channel.  Urger is no stranger to this blog and, in my opinion, another critically endangered vessel with a NYS Canal history.  I worked as deckhand on Urger for the 2014 season, when she was in her 113th year.

1963.  Here she is northbound on the Oswego Canal at Phoenix NY.

 

1994.  Eastbound at Rome NY with her last load of cement, the only type of cargo she carried from 1961 until 1994, she passes the freighhouse, now incorporated into Bellamy Harbor Park.  The terminal lies less than a mile ahead, off her portside.  At a special widening ahead either before or after discharging cargo, she’d turn around.  Compare her special cement hatch/manifold arrangement below with the configuration in the photo taken in Fairport in 1921.

1994.  Here’s a video still of her exiting a lock after having discharged her last cargo, heading home, so to speak, to an uncertain future.

2005.  After more than a decade being “laid up” in Erie PA and just before she might have been scrapped, she was purchased by an alliance that included the New York State Museum, the Canal Society of New York State, the New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co., Inc.  On this trip to a new role, the 84-year-old freighter was escorted by Benjamin Elliott, as she had been by Lorraine 84 years earlier.  I missed this, but from accounts I’ve heard, this was a triumphal return.  She’s currently an accessioned artifact of the New York State Museum.

2005.  From that same voyage, she exits the downside of lock E17.

2009.  During the year of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, she traveled under her own power as far south as the sixth boro of NYC and Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain.

2009.  I took this photo of her hold, a vast space that has potential as an exhibit space inside a traveling artifact from NYS canal history, whose history demonstrates the connection the Erie Canal  makes between the Great Lakes and salt waters.

 

2021.  She’s still afloat, raised from the bottom of the canal as a result of the routine annual winter lowering of water level.  She’s afloat for her one hundredth spring, but needs her potential recognized once again.  Stan Rogers wrote a song performed here by Makem and Clancy that captures the attitude needed to rekindle the flame, clarifies the vision, and saves her from the scrappers or the reef.  Maybe someone from the New York State Museum can comment on their vision for this last of her type.  A sister vessel, ILI 105 lies rusting away in Staten Island.

Some of my previous posts on the vessel can be seen here.  Many thanks to all who contributed photos to this post:  Paul Strubeck, John Callahan, Craig Williams.  Any opinions are my own and any errors mine as well.

One goal I have for this post is to try to unearth more images of this vessel pre-1994.  Anyone help?

 

Here are the previous posts in this series.  Let me call this vessel what it is:  the last Barge Canal bulk carrier, launched on May 21, 1921 as Interwaterways 101,

the first of five, built at the farthest end of the Great Lakes, Duluth. Less than a week ago, she celebrated her 99th birthday.  She worked as the last bulk carrier on the canal until 1994.  Her work history is delightfully told in the documentary Era of the Erie #3 embedded at the end of this post.

Below, photo from June 8, 1921 at what was likely a “meet and greet” at the start of her inaugural trip into the new Barge Canal and system.  Those are not the hats and coats of workingmen.

Less than a week later, she’s eastbound in Fairport towed by Cowles Towing Line‘s Lorraine.

Continuing eastbound, she’s departing lock E21 into the summit level.  Comparing the photo above and below, I’d say it’s warm, and the hatch with portholes has been raised to increase ventilation.  That was air-conditioning in 1921.  Also, that was prior to the national electric grid, so lock 21, like all the locks, created its own DC power from water turbines.  I love ILI 101‘s steering pole here;  it’s very Great Lakes.

This “aerial” was taken from the top of the “guillotine” gate at lock E17.  The “faces” in the rock at Moss Island are unmistakeable.

This “aerial” from the east end of lock E7 allows a good view of the stern.

Here she has departed the Barge Canal and is lying alongside a wall in the port of Albany.  Notable is the horse and carriage here, and

the Model-T era automobiles here.  Cowles Towing Line’s Lorraine appears to have taken ILI-101 on a transit of the Barge Canal.  ILI 101 was renamed Richard J. Barnes in 1936 and Day Peckinpaugh in 1958.

As a final treat, click on the image below to see and hear Day Peckinpaugh, the last Barge Canal bulk carrier, under way.  She is a NYS treasure and we should monitor her future.

And for the pièce de résistance, click on the image below for an excellent half hour documentary on her place in the Barge Canal era.  For more by Low Bridge Productions, click here.

Many thanks to Craig Williams and the NYS Archives for these images.

According to the archives, tug Syracuse was splashed in late 1933 and completed in spring 1934 in Syracuse Inner Harbor.  The tug was certainly the oldest entity in the Lyons area of the Canal organization.

The clipping below connects the splash to early December 1933.  Some numbers on the boat:  77′ x 20.8′ x 9 with a 6′ 6″ prop.  She was first built with a 250 hp steam engine from the previous tug Syracuse;  in 1970, a Caterpillar 510 D379 8 cylinder was installed.  I don’t know if there was an intermediary power plant.  Her 1933 $40,000 cost would be just over $750,000 in 2018 dollars.

Here’s a photo of Syracuse of Syracuse NY in Oswego in July 2014. The laker in the distance is Capt. Henry Jackman of Sault Ste Marie.

I’ll do another post on Syracuse soon, but for now, let me share my favorite photos of this veteran, which I took in October 2014 as we passed her with Urger.

I don’t believe there’s ever been a tug that looks quite like Syracuse of Syracuse, except maybe Reliable of Utica, now owned and operated by Mr. Davy Jones.  Check out these trains, cars, and even some boats of this same era here.

So . . . eighty-five years working and still looking great!!

Click here for a post about a 90-year-old canal tug.

The top photo by Bob Stopper;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

“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.”

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

The transformation from Erie Canal to Barge Canal involved incorporating more rivers and lakes into the canal system.   Enjoy these river and lake photos, like the one below . . . Oswego river, northbound, June 2014.  All photos were taken in 2014.

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Mohawk River eastbound also in June.

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Oneida Lake crossing eastbound, August.

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Mohawk River eastbound in August.

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Oneida Lake eastbound in late October.  Now contrast these photos with

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land cut near Waterford in October and

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near Rochester about a week earlier.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

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