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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?

 

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