You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Edgewater’ tag.

Let’s start with an oddball, as I read the records, here clearly marked Andree. The bulkhead design and lights look like Barge Canal, but I can’t place the location.    BGSU’s Historical Collections of the Great Lakes show the 176′ x 43′ vessel was rebuilt–lengthened to 209′– in 1933 at Todd Shipyards in New York City for a T. A.  Kenney. This begs the question of her original build location/date.  also, was her original name William F. Kenney?   I wish I had a photo of the stern, because also according to BGSU she had a Honduran registry, as Andree, I assume.  Here‘s the BGSU info card.  Her registry changed to Panamanian in 1947.

An easier-to-track motor vessel is Buckeye State, and I quote here from an unpublished Roger N. Benson paper:  “owned by the Federal Motorship Corporation of Buffalo, she was 1473 GRT and 1180 NRT, 245.5′ long, 43.6′ in beam, a 1942 horsepower of 720 and a crew of 17 in freight service. She was built at Ogdensburg, N.Y. in 1930.”

I believe the location here is between locks E-2 and E-3 in Waterford.  

Here and here you can find info about the St. Lawrence Marine Railway in Ogdensburg owned by a George Hall, but the info here is piecemeal.  This case summary provides interesting info about Buckeye State, her cargoes, and crew circa 1941, in what could be called “what caused 87,700 bushel (2610 short tons) of perfectly good corn to rot between Chicago and Lake Erie.”

A summary on Buckeye State scrapped in Honduras in 1956 can be found here.  It would be great to see the scrapyard in Honduras.

Here, on Edgewater, I quote again from Benson:  “First of the Ford Motor Company’s fleet of specialized vessels for the water transport of auto vehicles or parts to East Coast plants or dealers, she was built in 1931 at Ford’s River Rouge MI  plant as a steam vessel fitted for burning oil. Originally registered for the NYSBC on August 24, 1931, she had a crew of 19 in freight service, and her homeport was Detroit MI. She was rated at 450 pounds steam pressure and 1600 horsepower with a cargo capacity (in 1931) of 2175 net tons.  Edgewater was 300 feet long, by 43 feet wide with a 20 feet depth of hold and loaded draft measuring 9 feet, six inches. Some measurements were less for her April 24, 1942 re-registration, e.g.,  290.7 x 43.20 x 15.7 feet depth of hold and 1819 GRT and 1129 NRT. She was requisitioned by the U.S. Government, (in 1943 ?), for WW2 service but was returned to Ford briefly after the war.”  [It would be interesting to know the nature/range of her WW2 work.]  

“In 1947 she was converted to a tanker by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. Staten Island and sold the same year to Cleveland Tankers, Inc. Cleveland OH which registered the Edgewater for NYSBC in 1947 and renamed her Orion in 1949 operating her under that name until 1964. In 1965 she went out of documentation, However, she had been laid up in Cleveland, OH since December 1957 and was sold to Acme Scrap Iron & Metal Co., Ashtabula OH in 1964 for scrapping, according to the data sheet on the Edgewater in Bowling Green State University’s Historical Collection of the Great Lakes, and left Cleveland on September 15, 1964 reduced to a 129-foot derrick barge which sank 1,000 feet off Lorain lighthouse on July 23 , 19688 while in tow [of the 1903 Laurence C. Turner aka museum vessel Ohio] . On August 2, 1968 the Corps of Engineers raised the wreck and pulled it onto the beach.” 

Here she’s eastbound approaching lock E-9.  Note the conditions of the “concrete canal barges” below compared with here

Here she’s westbound at E-10.

Ford Motor Company at that time had assembly plants in Edgewater NJ and Chester PA. You can find pics of the plants in each of the links in the previous sentence.  So not surprisingly, here’s a Chester, sister vessel to Edgewater.

For info on Chester, I return to the Benson paper:  “Chester was built in River Rouge MI in 1931 and first registered on the NYS Barge Canal on August 24, 1931. Her original use was to economically transport automobiles or parts from Ford Motor Company in Dearborn MI by water to East Coast plants and dealers. She was, in 1931, 300 feet long by 43 feet wide, with a 20’ depth of hold and loaded draft of nine feet, six inches, 1600 horsepower, and 2175 net tons cargo capacity, with the measurements differing slightly in later Canal re-registrations.  She was requisitioned by the U.S. Maritime Commission in 1942 or 1943 for WW II service. Returned to Ford in 1946, she was sold to The Nelson Lines, N.Y.C the following year and then to a Brasilian firm, the Empress Internacional de Transportes, Ltda., Santos, Brasil.”

From GLVH, let me add this:  She was twice renamed and converted to a barge in Brasil.  Her names were Lourival Lisboa in 1947 and Guarapes (sic) in 1949.  From another site, I see a different and more logical spelling for the vessel:  Guararapes.  She sank off Olinda Brasil.

Again, with the well-dressed crew aboard, this may be her 1931 maiden voyage.

It can truly be said that folks came out to the locks to see these freshwater-to-saltwater transiting vessels, maybe especially with these dignitaries aboard.  Back then ocean-going ships traveled through the small towns of NYS like Phoenix, Sylvan Beach, Canajoharie, etc.

Note the prominent Ford logo on her stern quarter. 

More detail of her stern.  Might this be the top of lock E-3 and an eastbound Chester?

All photos from Canal Society of New York and used with permission.

Any errors, blame them on WVD, who is amazed to find how promising the future of the Barge Canal looked during its first few decades of service and until mid-20th century.


Yesterday, I had permission to board the 1905 ferry Binghamton for the first time in almost four years.  I had studied my 2011 photos a little, but the boat is so changed inside that I really should have printed out some 2011 shots to try to replicate them.  That said, it’s so modified that that might not have worked in some cases.  Enjoy.

Shoreside entrance in October 2011


and the same mirror but more context in August 2015.  Preserved or cashed in?


The south end in October 2011


and in August 2015.


The whole vessel in 2011, noting the detail left on the wheelhouses


. . . and  in August 2015.


East side as seen from NYWaterways in 2011,


with a (blurry, sorry) close-up;


and yesterday, August 2015,


with a close-up,showing that someone clearly detached the name board and stowed it on the river side of the wheelhouse.


The top level east side of the bar in 2011, and


2015, showing a more sinuous row of clerestory windows mostly broken.


This is looking southward along the river side lower level and  . . .


same shot from 2011 but cropped closer to the landing and


the same landing in august 2015, with the surveyor showing scale.



This is looking northward toward the GW Bridge in 2011, and


and the current less enclosed view.


The rest of the photos just document the current historic ferry as she looked on August 5, 2015.  For comparison, check “Last Call 1, 2, 3 . . .”   and “After Last Call 1  and 2” .

These are the remains of built-in benches, not add-ons.


This is looking northward toward the GW Bridge along the west side and



a close-up of decking on that quarter.



On the same side this is the passageway once leading to the four-cylinder double-compound reciprocating power plant rated 1,400 horsepower,  and from


from farther southward showing silt left by higher tides.


This is the opposite passageway to the engine on the sunny riverside,


and the same from farther southward.


This is the grand staircase looking southward shoreside


with mirrored ceilings creating a dusty but otherwise Escher-like possibility as go up to the bar.



This is the south end of the bar deck looking across the river, and the same


direction as seen from farther northward.


A patron at this bar might be very tired and very merry, but the mixologist prepares no more drinks and this


ferry is definitely out of service.


And we need someone to update Edna.



All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Click here for some photos of the ferry by Vlad and Johna.   Here’s an almost 20-year-old story about the sad demise of one former owner.

Some of you asked what became of the faux sidewheeler that had been beside Binghamton.  Here’s a foto I took in June.  In July it was still this way.

Behold the hideousness of its facade.

And the dirty secret that it had not only a faux but also a single sidewheel.    Well, call this . . . going, going . . .

Gone.  The “deckhouse” of Neo-Binghamton is no more, as evident from this foto taken on October 4.  It was removed some time since early August.

Note the row of clerestory windows above the coverings on the top deck of the real Binghamton.  They serve to backlight

the beautiful yellow-red stained glass on both sides of the saloon.

My prediction is that with this Newport News vessel . . . there will come no miracle nor will nature nibble away at her for years.

A large mechanical monster will devour her, leaving only memories and

the above ovoid on some old google maps and lots of shoreside constructs with (to newcomers) an implusible Binghamton in the name:  Binghamton Raquetball, Binghaton Deli, Binghamton Plaza, Binghamton Estates . . . .

Fotos by Will Van Dorp, and satellite images from googlemaps.

Stories about parties here made this my primary destination for the recon.  Binghamton is the sole survivor of six identical “double-ender” steam ferries built in Newport News, although by cursory external examination, I’d say calling her a survivor at this point is an exaggeration.

Binghamton arrived in a sixth boro at a time when 150 or so similar ferries served these waters!    How many crossings carrying how many passengers would she have seen between 1905 and 1967?   How many livelihoods?   Her passenger capacity was 986!

Plus vehicles.  In the early years that would be horses, too.

Anyone can share fotos inside in the heyday of the restaurant?  How do I get permission to get fotos of her interior today?  It seems tragic for her to crumble into the river like

these docks slightly to the north, which come

with their own engine parts depot.    Maybe this is a remnant of the disappeared shad fishery of Edgewater.  Here are names of some of the last shad fishermen.  By the way, in the foto above, that’s the Way Upper West Side across the water.

From Edgewater Marina, I followed Thomas Witte and Cheyenne southbound,

past the Crab House, past these barges

of yore,

and past this pier housing with storage for cars beneath.  Now if I lived here, I’d surely buy and amphicar . . . and maybe equip it like an alligator tug . . . and if 10,000 other residents of the sixth boro shoreline had similar equipment . . .   I pause in contemplation.

So ends the recon report.  I need to get up here again soon and then continue my tramp up to the north of the GW Bridge, where tropical

birds like these inhabit the trees.  Who knows what else I might find there?  I’m not in the commercial blogging business, but I do intend to check out Cafe Archetypus.  Anyone recommend it?

All fotos and any errors here by Will Van Dorp.

Note:  the interactive map (first image in Loose Ends 1) can get you to this area: just head north along the river.  Binghamton can clearly be seen, although on the map, the crane barge is not alongside.

For some historical fotos of the area of my recent tramp, click here for railyards, banana piers, pier houses, the “bridge that never was” thank you very much, 1950s cars awaiting a ship for export, crashed ferry stabilized by a tugboat,  old style planting poles for shad nets, and you can sift through here to find more nuggets.

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