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Stewart calls this “museum tugs of the Great Lakes.”

“We start in Lake Superior, specifically Two Harbors, with  Edna G., built in 1896 and assisted freighters for 80 years.  [You can find previous appearances of this tug on this blog here. ]

Next we go to Sturgeon Bay with  John Purves. She was built in 1919 [at Beth Steel in Elizabeth NJ, I might add] and during World War 2 found herself armed with machine guns on her deck and out in Alaska protecting the shipping channels….

A short ways away in Kewaunee is our next tug,  Ludington. She was also a war veteran. Originally built as LT-4 in 1943, she helped moved barges to Normandy on D-Day.

All the way down in Lake Erie, at the bow of the museum freighter Col. James M. Schoonmaker, is our next tug,  Ohio. She was built in 1903 as a fireboat, and stayed this way until she was bought in 1948 by the Great Lakes Towing Company, and converted into a tug. She served this job until 2015, and in 2018 was converted and restored with the purpose of being a museum ship.

Finally, we end in Lake Ontario in Oswego New York, where yet another war veteran has retired. This tug is USAT LT-5, which is a sister ship of Ludington. [In fact, Ludington is hull# 297, and Nash is hull# 298, from Jakobson in Oyster Bay NY.]  She was launched in 1943, had 50 caliber machine guns on her deck, and also helped haul barges to Normandy on D-Day.  [Her dimensions are 114′ x 25′ x 14′.  And on June 9, 1944, her Norwegian crew shot down a German fighter aircraft.]

Thank you for reading this post.  All pictures from, which is remembering history one ship at a time.”

Thank much, Stewart.

And I could leave well done alone, but this is an opportunity to mention one more . . . Urger.  Here she is less than 10 miles from Lake Ontario, pulled over above lock O-3 by a state employee on a mission. He wanted to look the 1901 tug over and lamented his son wasn’t there to get the tour with him.  Hats off, officer.   The info on museumships here is, unfortunately, three years out of date.

June 2014

And why not another . . . Urger here in 2018 alongside The Chancellor.

Last two photos,WVD.


I’m currently on the road, one of two Canada trips, so it’s seems appropriate to update the “road fotos” series.  Since I’ve not added to it in a while, have a look at number 39 in the series.   Here was the first from late 2010.

Can you figure out roughly where I am in the photo below, triangulating from info given?  There’s a big clue later in this post.

Once tractors were small.  This is the farm where I grew up, now owned by my youngest brother, so with a different history, this could have become part of my world.  For more (dated) info on the Case IH 250, click here.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year near this location:  I-90 near Randall NY, aka the Noses. That’s Little Nose to the left.   At this break in the ridge, the border of what was once glacial Lake Iroquois, the original Erie Canal ran to my left, the current canalized Mohawk river is just to my right, and the main CSX/Amtrak line is to the right of the Mohawk River.  For more views of the Noses, click here.

Painting barns by sticker nowadays?

I slowed down . . .before I got closer.

Is this a “souped up” Chrysler coupe?

I got registered on a 2020 census mobile.

Here’s a photo from February 2019.  There’s fresh chopped corn under that snow-covered plastic sock. Previous generations of farmers would use silos. And here’s the big clue:  this photo was taken about 20 miles from Rochester, as was the signboard photo at the top of this post.

The photo above and below I took in February.  Lock E-13 is not far from the Noses.

January in the Catskills I was crossing the Moodna Viaduct.

January in Two Harbors MN, with 1896 Cleveland-built tug Edna G.

December at Natural Bridge VA.  See the stranger ahead on the trail lower right?

November near Freeport NY on Long Island.  See the cliffs and needles of Manhattan in the distance?

August . . . . a mid-1940s Chevrolet (?) on Staten Island . . . and

July and Barbara S. Wiles and Judge Ben Wiles on Skaneateles Lake.  The 1924 Barbara S. has since retired from that lake and is undergoing restoration at the finger LakesBoating Museum;  renamed as Pat II,  she is expected to do excursions in Keuka Lake. Judge Ben still sails on Skaneateles.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who visited the actual Galivants Ferry here in early 2011.

And the sign board with distances is in Williamson NY.

In an icy corner of the Soo, it’s Indiana, launched in 1926 and still on the roster.

Over at the Algoma Steel plant, it’s Leonard M, and

nearby, it’s Sharon M I.

This isn’t a great photo, but it shows both McKeil Marine tugs at the steel plant.

Farther around the lake in Two Harbors, it’s Nels J and

Edna G, a survivor from 1896.  Oh, the stories she could tell.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Let’s start with the grande dame . . . Edna G, on the land side of the loading dock in Two Harbors MN.  Guess her year of build?

Two Harbors is about 30 miles NE of Duluth.

Click here for more info.

Nancy J, at the same ore dock, dates from 1964, but I know little else.

Bayfield, now a gnome in a planter, was built as ST2023 by Roamer, Holland MI in 1953 and was turned over to the USACE in 1962.  I don’t know how long it has adorned the planter.

I wonder who did the fancy weld . . .

Huron–ex-Daniel McAllister–is seven years newer than Ellen McAllister, a sixth boro staple.  Huron‘s been here only since early 2017. 

And I have to end the photos here, with these two unidentified GL-tugs, although I’m guessing might or not not be Arkansas, Kentucky, and/or North Carolina.   I only figured out later how to get closer . . . after I’d left town.  This is what Grouper used to look like.

And if you can spare a half hour, here’s a youtube of another tug, previously of Twin Ports, and older sibling of Urger . . . Sea Bird, which like Urger had at one point been a fish tug, a topic for another day.   Here’s a three-minute youtube which shows GL tugs arriving in port.  If you listen to the intercom in the background, you’ll note that Duluth–like Port Huron–has someone announce each vessel as it traverses the Ship Canal.  I call that valuing the port.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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