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

Thank you all for reading and commenting.  Let me pass along some of what I’ve learned.  Also, check out frogma’s latest.

Below, from Jeff S:  “The passenger vessel with the lifeboat on deck is the famous New Bedford built at Bethlehem-Quincy in 1928. See hull # 1417.  She was loaned to Britain in WW 2 and served as a hospital ship at Normandy landings.”

Guess the total number of ships/boats of all kinds involved in Operation Neptune, the Channel-crossing component of Operation Overlord.

According to the link above, Op Neptune involved more than 6000 vessels.   It’s interesting to imagine the fate of all those 6000.  Here’s a Normandy crossing tug I wrote about in 2007.  I wonder if any Brooklyn-built boats have remained in France?     Jeff goes on to say, “Earlier in the war New Bedford participated in ”decoy” convoy RB-1.   I think she has been at Wittes since about 1967. ”

Here’s another fabulous story:  YOG-64 was delivered to the US Navy in May 1945, arrived in the Pacific just after the end of the “9th inning,”  served in various capacities at Bikini Atoll during Operation Sandstone, judged decontaminated and decommissioned, spent two decades hauling fuel as M/T Francis Reinauer, and has rested here since the mid-1980’s.  Anyone know of a foto of Francis Reinauer?

An as-yet unidentified tug whose upper portion of the house has now slumped back into eternal oblivion.

A very strange comment I got by email asked why I had sunk the red tugboat in yesterday’s post.  I’m innocent.  Nor did I have anything to do with with sinking.

A mile or so south of Witte’s yard is another graveyard aka tidal reef.  Most prominent there is this ferry:  Astoria, sister of Ferry Maj. General Wm. H. Hart, formerly docked at South Street Seaport.  Here’s a foto of Astoria I took last summer.

Here frogma documents entropy.

Here’s a favorite quote from a Rebecca Solnit essay:  “To erase decay …and ruin is to erase the understanding of the unfolding relation between all things.  To imagine [creation and destruction] together is to see their kinship in the common ground of change, abrupt and gradual, beautiful and disastrous, to see the generative richness of ruins and the ruinous nature of all change. …  Ruins stand as reminders.  Memory is always incomplete, always imperfect, always falling into ruin;  but the ruins themselves, like other traces, are treasures; our links to what came before.  … A city without ruins or traces of age is like a mind without memories.”

Serendipitous during our paddle “north” was a glimpse of W. O. Decker headed “south.”  We debated calling them but decided that we would cross paths if that was intended.  By the way, if the identification of Ned Moran in Graveyard 1 is correct, then Decker and Ned Moran date from the same year!   Maintenance IS everything.

On our return, we saw Decker waiting (haulout?) at the yard in Tottenville.  Decker is older than Bloxom and Hila and fortunate to have staved off ruin, traces of aging, and entropy as well as it has.  May she bob and pitch for many more years.

I wish I’d taken the profile of this vessel . . . . From this frontal shot, it looks a lot like Day Peckinpaugh.  Jeff identified it as “canal tanker Michigan.  Built by McDougal Duluth S B in 1921 as Interwaterways Line Incorporated 105, shortened to ILI-105 in 1935 before becoming Michigan. She carried caustic soda, vegetable oil , liquid sugar and such on the Erie and Welland canals. Twin screw.”  For the record, Day-Peckinpaugh was ILI-101–the prototype–built in the same year.  Thanks much, Jeff.  See an image of ILI-105 in her prime here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some links to check:  ForgottenNY and Undercity and somehow I missed –if traces of it are still there–Fireboat Abram Hewitt thanks to Opacity.

Rossville itself has an interesting history spanning Raritan Indians, Ross Castle, Blazing Star tavern, and the Underground Railroad.

I read about this place almost 20 years ago in this NYTimes piece and clipped it, saved it, still have it somewhere.   The Witte family, Norman Brouwer, and Arthur Kill–all mentioned in the article–were just names then. Yesterday, thanks to fellow-waterblogger frogma (See her “graveyard posts here and here) and the generosity of  Sebago Canoe Club kayak Captain Minh to lend me a kayak, I got there.  Remember, double-click enlarges fotos.

To learn the specifics on 1944-launched Bloxom below, click here.  Anyone know of fotos of Bloxom and Hila in their heyday?

More of Bloxom‘s context.

The wooden hull steel deckhouse World War 2-era tug ATR-89 Hila.  An anonymous commenter last summer wrote:  “WW2 built ATR….this one ATR-89. Became HILA out of Jacksonville in 1949 and passed into Liberian registry by 1954.broke down in late 50′s on a voyage from Miami and eventually ended up at Wittes.”  Anyone know of fotos of Bloxom and Hila in their heyday?

1926-built ferry Seawell’s Point (right) and unidentified vessel (See Graveyard 2 for identification)  left seen frontal and from

from the opposite side.  The lifeboat still waits a declared emergency.

Wooden wheelhouse offering as template for craftsmanship of another time.  Notice Bonnie beyond the H-bitt on lower right side of foto.

A different view.  Is this what remains of the Meseck twins?  Great fotos of Carrie T. Meseck (later Susan A. Moran) at

According to a December 2006 comment by “the dude” on the fabulous Opacity site, the tug below is “Ned Moran sailed for Moran Tugs 1954-1963, the tug with a brt of 206 tons had 1040 ipk, she was 20.48 x 8.28 x 4.27 mtr and build during 1930 at A.C.Brown & Sons in Tottenville, she sailed first under the name Federick (sic) E Meseck in New York and was purchased by Moran during 1954 where she served until 1963 when she was sold to Witte’s Staten Island yard.”  To be noted, Moran purchased Meseck Towing Company in 1954.  I’d love to see fotos of Ned at her zenith.

More trip fotos soon.  Here’s a foto of Courier aka Bayou Plaquemine from two years ago.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Tip of the hat to Miru Kim, O’Boyle, and Opacity.

And a propos of nothing, see surfing the dunes of Peru here.

Take 2 . . or 2b, and there’ll be more attempts to figure out the ghosts of the sixth boro.   Like others of you, I’m fascinated by these hints of a disappeared world.  Below, if I’ve understood correctly, lie the remnants of the ferry Astoria.  I wonder who worked on it  and how many thousands of folks rode it regularly either to work or play or  . . . do mischief.   For info on Astoria, which ran between Astoria in Queens to 92nd Street in Manhattan from the 1920s until the 1970s, read here.


Here is the ferry Major General William H. Hart aka SS Meow Man, so dubbed by a graffiti flinger.  General Hart worked at Brooklyn Army Depot after World War 1.  Like Astoria, she was built in the mid-1920s and ran until almost 1970, when it did a short stint at South Street Seaport.  See more info here.


Here’s another view of the tug I posted on previously.  In September 1944, Berger Boat in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, launched this vessel was as Navy rescue tug ATR-89,  After the war, it worked as Hila.  Now the metal deck and wooden hull turn back into raw materials.  Again, I see it and try to imagine crew:  who they were, where they came from and went to, and what they or their descendants would think if they saw it today.


I’ve heard this is a ferry that previously ran between Newburgh and Beacon. Anyone confirm this?


I’ve no idea what vessel this once was.  Anyone help?


Nor this, although this vessel lies 50+ miles upriver in Cornwall.  It seems to have evolved into a breakwater protecting the town marina.


In this closer-up shot, you can see the portside hawse.

aaaf5In Kill van Kull, this “retired” car ferry called Pvt Nicholas Minue is named for a World War II Medal of Honor winner.


Let me end this on a non-wreck.  Many of the vessels in this post once were ferries. Anyone know this ferry?  Those are the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in the distance.


Here’s the same vessel seen in profile rather than stern on.  It’s Michael Cosgrove, a mini-ferry I’ve not seen before this year.  See the link here for more–not much–on Michael Cosgrove and the other Staten Island ferries.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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December 2022