You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘DeWitt Clinton’ tag.

Well . . . a couple of Great Lakes mariners who prefer to remain nameless . . . but let’s start with a photo of Joel B from a few years ago.  She’s quite the attractive boat! Thanks so much to a GL Mariner for responding to Saturday’s post by sending another of that boat in better times.

This was taken in Muskegon;  the unnamed tug to the right sank at the dock, I’m told.

USCGC WMEC 146 McLane, launched 1927, has been a dockside display in Muskegon for more than two decades.

I’ve seen RV Laurentian once on Lake Huron, but here she is close up.

Andy Milne is a 1956 Russel Brothers tug, and as such, she’s well documented here at the Russel Brothers site.  Click here for various Russel Brothers tugs I’ve posted over the years.

The next three photos, taken by another Great Lakes mariner out exploring territory,  make up a panorama from left to right of the Lyons NY Canal drydock.  Here from l to r, it’s a tender (Dana?), DeWitt Clinton, various dredges, Syracuse, and Grouper.

This continues that pan, with l to r, a quarters (or accommodations)  barge, Syracuse, Grouper, and DB #2A.  DB expands to “derrick barge.”  On the hard and to the extreme right, note a buoy boat sans cabin.

And completing the pan, here are two new Canal Corp boats, wintering nose-to-nose, and DB #2B below them.

Many thanks to Great Lakes Mariners for use of these photos.

I’ve been to Muskegon a number of times and my photos can be found here.

Sorry about the photo size; it’s an ongoing struggle.

Recently I got a request for something on single screw tugs.  Ask . .  and receive, from the archives.

May 1, 2011  . .  the 1901 Urger was on the dry dock wall in Lyons looking all spiffy.  A month later, she’d be miles away and alive.

On March 19, 2010, the 1907 Pegasus had all the work done she was scheduled for, and the floating dry dock is sinking here.  In 10 minutes, Pegasus would be afloat and a yard tug … draw her out.

On a cold day last winter, a shot of the 1912 Grouper, in dry dock, waiting for a savior.   If you’re savvy and have deep reservoirs of skill and money, you can likely have her cheap.

In that same dry dock, the 1926 boxy superstructure DeWitt Clinton.

To digress, here’s how her much-lower clearance looked when first launched in Boothbay.

Back on July 30, 2017, I caught the 1929 Nebraska getting some life-extension work.   Unlike the previous single screw boats, Nebraska has a Kort nozzle surrounding its prop, which clearly is away getting some work done on it also.

On February 10, 2010, the 1931 Patty Nolan was on the hard.  She was put back in, but currently she’s back on the hard, with plans to float her again this summer.

A CanalCorp boat, I believe this is Dana, was in dry dock in Lyons this past winter.  If so, she’s from 1935.

As you’ve noticed, single screw tugs have sweet elliptical sterns.  All painted up and ready to splash, they are things of beauty.  On December 16, 2006, I caught the 1941 Daniel DiNapoli, ex-Spuyten Duyvil, about to re-enter her element.

Also in dry dock but not ready to float, on March 10, 2010, the 1958 McAllister Brothers, ex-Dalzelleagle is getting some TLC.

Is it coincidence that so many of these single screw boats are   . . . aged?  Nope.  Twin- and triple-screw boats can do many more things.  Is it only because the regulations have changed?  Have any single-screw tugs been built in recent years?  Are single-screw boat handling skills disappearing in this age of twin- and triple-screw boats?  No doubt.

All photos by WVD, who enjoyed this gallivant through the archives.

And speaking of archives, Mr Zuckerberg reminded me this morning that nine years ago exactly, the sixth boro was seeing the complicated lading of the tugs and barges being taken by heavylift ship to West Africa.  There were so many challenges that I called the posts “groundhog day” like the movie about a guy having to use many many “re-do’s” before he could get it right.

 

Lock E-34 and E-35 are twins in several ways:  both have a lift/descent of 24.5′ and the top gate of E-34 is actually the bottom gate of E-35, as you can see here.  Tug DeWitt Clinton is about waiting to exit the bottom of E-34.

About a quarter mile downstream, we look back at E-34, as the heritage train is about the cross the “Upside Down Bridge,” which some will argue is not really upside down.

Remember I mentioned “rubble” in the last post, the rock that was painstakingly removed from the cut through the Niagara escarpment?    It made cheap building material, as seen in the 1840s canalside building once used to build block/tackle and other gear for canal boats.  Now it’s a museum operated by Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises.

There are a number of other stone buildings downstream constructed with “canal rock” and rock from local quarries.

Six miles to the east, we arrive at Gasport, where a sign says the population is “just right;”  by numbers that means about 1200 people.

The town was named by two canal travelers doing a scientific expedition in 1826.  They saw flammable coal gas (burning, I presume) in the area, and named the town.  It stuck.  The expeditionists were Amos Eaton, professor at Rensselaer School  and Joseph Henry, who went on to be first secretary of the Smithsonian Institute.

Middleport, population possibly just right too and under 2000, features one of the 15 lift bridges in the western part of the Canal.  These are as unique to this section of the canal as moveable dams are to the east.  Boaters radio ahead, and a bridge tender will respond.

Five miles east of Middleport, we arrive in Medina.  Note the large apple sculpture to the right of the photo.  Contrary to appearance, the fire department there was not trying to sink or fete the 1925 DeWitt Clinton.

Orleans County is not NYS’s largest producer of apples, but the fact that so many orchards line the canal makes an impression, especially when you look down at pickers working on ladders in the trees.  Click here for a photo from about 100 years ago of apples around an applesauce plant north of Medina.

The chief feature about the canal through Medina is the curving aqueduct that to this day carries the canal.  Some of that is captured by this “bird’s eye” view (scroll) from Arch Merrill, who wrote popular histories about this part of NYS.  Here‘s an aerial that shows the the canal carried over Oak Orchard Creek.

 

This NYS Archives photo is looking east over the curve, and the kids are doing what they’d never be allowed today.

Medina is known for its stone, shipped to projects near and far along the canal.  In fact, Medina is home to the Sandstone Hall of Fame, one of many “must see” sights in western NYS.   Medina was also home to a very young First Lady of the US, 27 years younger than her husband.  More info here.  Another interesting stop in town is the Medina Railroad Museum, housed in a 1905-built New York Central freight house.

Urger here is tied up at the west end of the curve.

At the east end of the curve, Oak Orchard Creek flows through a very large culvert and then over a waterfall to the right, and then eventually into Lake Ontario.

A few miles east of Medina is another culvertUrger, the blue/gold tug is moving through the canal above Culvert Road.

This is the view of Culvert Road from the boat.

It’s the open cultivated land that makes the “western canal” so different from the eastern half.

Between Knowlesville, above, and Eagle Harbor, this widening is the canal may have been a barge harbor.

Eagle Harbor UMC is clearly below canal level, as is much of the land in the area.  Check it out on a google map.

 

Here’s what looking south down Main Street [Albion] looks like when you’re passing under the raised lift bridge.   Less than a quarter mile down that street is Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, named for a hometown legend, George Pullman. Before his name became synonymous with luxury train travel, he and his father were known as the “go-to guys” for moving buildings that stood in the way of the project to widen the canal.  One can speculate about the influence the packet boats he saw passing had on his quest to create more comfortable train cars.

Since we’re here, it’s worth noting that less than three miles north just off N. Main onto Route 104 east is the Cobblestone Museum, a type of house material found elsewhere also but not with the frequency it is along the Lake Ontario/canal corridor.  The menu for the database is here.

East of town when I passed here in 2014 was this gem, Tender #6, dating from the 1920s. I’ll allow you to guess what transformation the #6 has seen;  answer at the end of the post.

In fall, as I’ve mentioned before, a lot of boats want to clear out of the Great Lakes and get to warm salt water via the canal for the winter.

Hulberton is another one of those canal towns you’ve not heard of, unless you grew up around here.

These guard gates west of Holley are among the 22 sets in the system.

 

We’re now approaching Brockport, quiet on the canal during rush hour on the bike trail.

SUNY Brockport follows on a tradition of higher ed at this location since 1841.

 

And we’ll tie up for the night in Brockport.  Some things to know about the town include the fact that the first 100 mechanized reapers were built by Globe Iron Works here for Cyrus McCormick.  The town’s connection with the canal is celebrated in a mural in town;  murals depicting canal and community history are increasingly common.

By the way, if you know the importance of of General Isaac Brock on this part of the country and what side he was on, you might wonder why this town appears to be named for him.  It’s not.  It’s named for Hiel Brockway, a passenger vessel entrepreneur, founder of the Red Bird Packet Boat Line.

Sad story about Tender #6. She’s about 80′ down and attracting fish south of Shinnecock.

More photos from this section of the canal, including a 1941 restored Richardson yacht,  can be seen here.

DeWitt Clinton was built in the 1920s, delivered before the crash. She came out of a shipyard in East Boothbay, I’m told, but I can find no record of this.   Here she was in Lockport in early October 2014.

Here is a view from the wheelhouse, and

another from a slightly different vantage point. That’s tug Urger (1901) on the wall up ahead.

Fast forward to this year, here’s one of the latest additions to the Canal tug fleet, and

here’s the view from the wheelhouse.  And yes . . . again, that’s tug Urger on the wall ahead. this time in Fonda NY, where she may or may not be today.

How about some more pics of Dewitt Clinton, all from October 2014.

Here she rounds a bend on the western Canal.

And since we’ve seen Urger from Dewitt, how about ending with Dewitt as seen from Urger.

Photos 4 and 5 by Jake van Reenen;  the others by Will Van Dorp.

 

Now this could be a productive combo, after all there was a DeWitt Clinton, which was NY’s first locomotive and it ran between two cities at the eastern end of the Erie Canal.

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What does Governor Cleveland have to do with it?

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Well, it just happened to be tied to bollards just west of Lock 14 . . .

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but no bollard will ever stop the frequently passing locomotives and cars .  . .

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

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Here’s the tugboat named for the politician who mustered the public will to build this fabulous infrastructure.  Her designs were completed by naval architect Theodore D. Wells at 11 Broadway NYC in November 1925.  And she’s the oldest tug on the Canals still working on canal maintenance.

 

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They say Lockport’s upsidedown railroad bridge is unusual.  In fact, so is the traffic above and below it. What’s above here is Vineyard Express train, and what’s below is DeWitt Clinton.  More DeWitt soon.

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