You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Lois McClure’ tag.

2014 was the year I was working on Urger.  Here she’s tied up above lock E-2 while Bejamin Elliot steams by, downbound.

Some time later we’d all steamed down to Albany, here (l to r), it’s a Lord Nelson Victory tug yacht, a tender, and C. L. Churchill, a 1964 boat built in Cohasset MA.  Chuchill is the tug that serves to move the 1862 replica canal schooner Lois McClure.

 

The parade here is moving northbound along the Troy wall…

and here above the Federal lock bound for the left turn at Waterford . . . into the canal. The photo below is credited to Jeff Anzevino, and you’ll see your narrator standing along the portside of the wheelhouse.

In 2014, the documentary by Gary Kane and myself was screened in the Pennsy 399 barge to enthusiastic roundup attendees.

Ceres, the cargo schooner was making one of its trips from Lake Champlain to the sixth boro.  Unfortunately, that endeavor has folded.  As of July 2020, the plan was to convert Ceres into a tiny home.  Details can be found at FB under The Vermont Sail Freight Project.

The official Sunday culmination of the Round involves prizes.  Churchill and McClure were the official vessels of 2014, and the

old man of the sea award went to my former crewmate, Mike Byrnes, here being awarded by Roundup director, Tom Beardsley.

All photos, WVD.

 

Get used to traveling through places you’ve never heard of, like Crescent, Scotia, Glenville, and Cranesville;  this is one of the many charms of the Canal.  Clinton’s Ditch created cities, not true for the Barge Canal, which took advantage of lakes and rivers.

Be sure to watch for these sunken barges in the water just after clearing the upper approach wall leaving lock E-9.

The water level is drawn down in winter . . . by use of the moveable dams.  The photo below, taken from the north side of the Canal, shows those same sunken barges.  They date from WW1!  Here‘s the background.

Here’s the main rail bridge west of E-9.  Again, I point this out because of all the train traffic on the north side of the Canal until lock E-19.

As we travel west, you’ll notice the excellent condition of the locks and buildings maintained by Canal Corporation;  however, hurricane Irene in 2011 caused serious flooding and damage to the system.  For photos, see tug44’s coverage.  At one time and possibly still today, lock masters compete for the prizes awarded to the best-kept lock, as scored on a number of mechanical, electrical, and aesthetic areas by the canal director and his team during their annual inspection tour of the system to determine where need is greatest for winter maintenance.

In summer, the lower Mohawk can be quite foggy summer mornings.

These photos were taken after we started moving, having stopped when channel markers couldn’t be seen:  without radar, lowered to fit under the low bridges, we can’t see the channel markers in the thick fog.

The Mohawk Valley, like the Hudson, has long provided building materials. South of lock E-10, Cranesville Block operates one of their quarries.

They’ve also taken over the Art Deco building designed by McKim, Mead, and White and built in the early 1920s for Adirondack Power and Light.  Adirondack was previously known as Mohawk Edison Company, before that Schenectady Illuminating Company, and before that Westinghouse Illuminating Company.  That alone should suggest the vitality of Mohawk Valley industrial history.

Amsterdam was once a city dominated by carpet and leather goods manufacture.  Mohawk Carpets, later called Mohasco, operated here from 1920 until 1987, when Mohawk moved away. Gloves manufactured here and farther north in Gloversville, are now mostly made in Asia.  In 1930 Amsterdam had a population of nearly 35,000;  today it has 17,000 and trending downward.  Other cities along the Canal have the same demographic pattern.

The road bridge just beyond these vacant buildings carries Route 30, which heads into the Adirondack State Park. In less than 15miles, you’re inside the park at Mayfield.  The waters of the Mohawk flow from tributaries both in the Adirondacks and from the south.

Just north of lock E-11 and moveable dam, visible to the left,  is this house, Guy Park Manor, an artifact from 1764, a time all inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley, European and Haudenosaunee alike,  lined up as either loyal to King George III or in rebellion against him.  The house was built by Sir William Johnson, hero from the French and Indian War and British Superintendent of Indian Affairs  for the northern colonies.  After the war of independence, this house and property of all loyalists was confiscated.  Loyalist, both settler and native, fled mostly to Canada except to return during the revolution as insurgents.  Want a Johnson biography?

Here’s the house in 1907, just north of lock E-11 under construction. As mentioned earlier, Hurricane Irene devastated the valley in 2011, seriously damaging the moveable dam, the lock, and the house.  The Valley is flood-prone, and the Canal was designed to prevent floods as well as to enable navigation.

About 2 miles west of lock E-11 and invisible from a boat is Old Fort Johnson, William Johnson’s base of operations from 1749 until 1763.

Then he moved farther north to found Johnstown, 10 miles to the northwest and where he lived until his death in 1774. The town still reveres him with this mural, below, featuring other town notables as well.

William Johnson is connected to First Peoples history of the area.  Molly Brant was his wife, and her brother, Joseph Brant, aka Thayendanegea, was a key Mohawk leader, who both became refugees in Brantford, ON after the American Revolution.

Johnson also convinced Pontiac to travel to Fort Ontario in Oswego to sign a treaty to end his rebellion in 1766.

 

A few miles west of lock E-11 and on the south side of the river one can locate remnants of the previous canal, Yankee Hill lock and Putnam’s lock grocery.  These are not visible from the boat.

 

Note these two photos of lock E-12, Tribes Hill, in summer with the gates pooling the water for navigation and in

in winter, gates open and the water level is much reduced to reduce ice damage.  The moveable dams at E-12 and E-9 are the only two that have automobile bridges installed.

Schoharie Creek, the Mohawk’s largest tributary, flows into the river just west of lock E-12.  If you look carefully, you can see remnants of another aqueduct. Some of the arches of the aqueduct were demolished when the Barge Canal  was built.

Not far beyond the ridge is the New York Thruway, where a bridge over Schoharie Creek collapsed in 1987.

The Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site Visitor Center in the hamlet of Fort Hunter has a great little museum.

Up to this point in our tour, the settlers were first Dutch and then British.  Beyond this point, ethnic another strand gets woven in:  impoverished religious refugees from the Rhine Valley, the Palatines.  Fort Hunter is named for Robert Hunter,  the colonial administrator here at the time of the Palatine settlement.  In a sense, they were pawns, expected to act as a buffer between the English colonists and the French and their allied natives to the north and west. Given the opportunity afforded by fertile land, the new group flourished, and grew independent of colonial control.  In the link in the previous sentence, Johan Conrad Weiser’s 1715-1721 dispute with governor Hunter illustrates this.

 

A few miles beyond Fort Hunter and on the far side of the NYS Thruway is this hillside in Auriesville NY.  You can see it clearly from the boat, and might wonder if you’ve slipped into a parallel universe.   To the right is the National Shrine to the North American Martyrs, and to the left is a complex of Buddhist temples.    Below the shrine is also a marker to Kateri Tekakwitha, a significant resident born a few miles to the west in what was known as Ossernenon.

From the river you can see bucolic farms.

and sometimes people fishing.  In recent years, Amish have been reviving agriculture in the region.

Not much is visible from the river of the village of Fonda, where a county fair has taken place since 1841.  And yes, ancestors of Henry Fonda settled the place.  Drums Along the Mohawk portrays life around the time of the American Revolution.  In the past 100 years, the population of Fonda has dropped from 2200 to 760.

On the north side of the river you may spot this sign marking Kanatsiohareke, a recent Mohawk re-settlement, or as they write on their site, “a Carlisle Indian Boarding School in Reverse”, teaching Mohawk language and culture.

And ahead in the distance is the moveable dam and lock E-13.  Note the high ridges on either side of the waterway.

Along the south side of the lock here is the Mohawk Valley welcome center, a rest stop along the westbound lanes of the Thruway that opened in 2017.

Waterford is now more than 50 winding Mohawk river miles behind us.

Photos, text, and any unintended errors  . . . Will Van Dorp.

Lyons NY has the one of the best canal ambassador team  I know*. When summer yachts come through, the welcoming committee stop by.  And some interesting boats visit Lyons.  Take Farallone, from yesterday’s post.  By the way, if you’ve not read the additional info on Farallone I added in the comments section, check it out.

Since this sign, propped up beside the wooden tender over the engine is a bit hard to read, let me highlight some of the info:  12 identical Q-boats built for the War Department, second oldest Luders boat in existence (I wonder what’s the oldest.), was personal  launch of two Quartermaster Generals of the US, moved to the west for transport to and from Alcatraz, served as a salmon sport fish boat,  and then after a move back east  has traveled 10,000 in the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast in the past 25 or so years.

Ahoy, Jon.   The owner of the boat back then and maybe still is catboat Jon, a specialist in wooden buckets.

While Farallone was in Lyons, Churchill moved Lois McClure through town as well.

Broadsword also stopped in Lyons, making her one of not that many yachts to have transited the Pacific, the Panama Canal, and the Erie Canal.

That’s lock E-27 in the distance, and Broadsword was headed west,

in the bottom of 27 and

out the top.

All photos, thanks to Bob Stopper in Lyons NY.

*Let me clarify the first sentence.  Many canal towns have ambassadors who are very knowledgeable about the local area.  I’ve found such folks happy to share the insights and assist with problem solving.  Once I stopped at a canal town and was welcomed by the mayor who made sure we had a pleasant stay.  I know the folks in Lyons more than I know most towns because I grew up near there.

 

 

That declaration . . . it’s good to read it now and again, especially these days.  And since I choose to post at noon, this post will be up for half the holiday, even if the holiday is NOT the actual date the document was signed.

In civilian life, flags are freely displayed, without compulsion.  The current US flag is the 27th design.  Careb also flies the AGLCA banner and the flag of New Mexico, a location impossible to navigate to.

 

Tug Churchill and sailing canal boat Lois McClure each fly a flag, every day under way and not just on holidays.

The signers–SOME of the delegates to the Second Continental Congress–remained committed in their discussions despite their many disagreements.   A number of delegates would not sign. And the country has been the greatest possible ever since, mistakes notwithstanding.

All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.

Previous flag posts can be read here.

 

The last time we saw Jay Bee V, she was solo and reportedly beginning an epic.  That was nine days ago, and now Jay Bee V (JBV) has taken over this large white barge from larger river tugs and is heading west with a a flotilla that began over a month ago in Brooklyn.  Click here for specifics on this journey as well as sponsors, and there are many.

Arguably, the epic began in 1868, and I quote here from the link above:  “1868, the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company relocated to Corning, via the New York Waterways, and evolved into the company that is today known as Corning Incorporated. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of this pivotal journey, CMoG will launch GlassBarge—a 30’ x 80’ canal barge equipped with CMoG’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment—in Brooklyn Bridge Park on May 17, 2018.”

What’s pushing the “glass barge?”

Here’s a top down view of JBV, and

the boats of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Way in the distance, that’s the glass barge and beyond that, lock E-11.   Here from tug44 a few years back is more info on lock E-11.

If this photo illustrates nothing, it shows how JBV‘s  captain relies on understanding and communication from the watch stander on the barge.

 

Above and below, the flotilla passes Fonda, NY,

before locking up through E-13.

 

The glass barge flotilla had given its 8th set of shows (by my count)  in Amsterdam the day before.  To understand the impact of these shows, think canal-traveling circus of the 19th century.  Here they were heading for a set of shows in Canajoharie.  

 

More to come.  Again, if you have not checked out this link for their schedule–the water portion of which ends in Watkins Glen on September 16, click here.   Below is a vase I witnessed a glassblower make in less than 15 minutes!

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who reiterates that I take all the photos credited to me on this blog;  any photos taken by anyone else–collaboration I encourage–I attribute accordingly.

More photos of the Great Race soon.

 

 

Port Weller is the north terminus of the Welland Canal, and as such, sees either a pilot boarding or debarking, which was the case here. Mrs C has an equally attractive fleet mate at Port Colbourne, the southern terminus. The vessel in the background left will appear in an upcoming post.

Some 80 miles to the east Kimberly Anne (1965) was docked in Rochester’s Charlotte port.

Walking along the beach there, I saw this historical sign of tug Oneida and schooner H. M. Ballou, at different times both owned by a George W. Ruggles.

Fifty or so miles to the NE we enter the Oswego River to find the busiest (IMHO) unit on the lakes:  in the past few years I’ve seen Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit at least 6 times between Lake Huron and Quebec City.   Here’s more info on Alouette’s aluminum operations, at one time and possibly now the largest aluminum producer in the Americas.

 

Click here for more info on Novelis, the client here in Oswego.

 

Anyone tell me the weight of one of these ingots?

Moving from contemporary to retrospective, the Phoenix dock was hosting schooner Lois McClure and tug Churchill as we passed.

For more close-ups, check out tug44’s take. 

Click here for a complete history of the replica schooner Lois McClure.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes you all enjoy the last day of summer 2017 today.

 

More coverage of the 2009 Tug Roundup in Waterford later, but for now some quick fotos.  Maybe the focus on flatbottoms aka platbodems in the sixth boro has influenced my perception, but bottoms were as much a thread this year as noses, last year.  Of course, tugs dominated:  near to far in this foto:  Shenandoah, Empire, Benjamin Elliott, Margot, and Cornell . . . all of which you’ve seen here before.  More on them soon.

aawf1

Grand Erie, an Erie Canal tug–yes, it is–began life as Chartiers, an Ohio River USACE dredge tender in 1951.  Get it . . . dredging . . .  bottom?

aawf2

Without the usual W. O. Decker selling rides, folks wanting to see the waterside could catch a half hour on this canalboat.  Anyone got an update on Decker?  Will it reappear next season?

aawf4

And then there is Lois McClure, a replica  of an 1862 canal schooner barge, with obvious mixed European heritage.  Tug C. L. Churchill appears off the port stern quarter.

aawf5

As tender atop McClure‘s deckhouse is this upturned birchbark canoe.

aawfx

Complementing all my thoughts about undersides and bottoms was this T-shirt, modeled here by the ubiquitous Karl, who traded a Harvey shirt for a this one from an itinerant dredger crewman.

aawf7

Until we see fotos soon, you might not believe that Stuart’s mini-tug SeaHorse has a flat bottom.  More pics soon.

aawf8

And since the bow pudding must transform this machine into a tugboat, I can add this to the pattern . . . a very flatbottomed jet-driven tug allegedly named Urger 2.  And speaking of Urger . . . .

aawf9

is it possible that a near clone–its name differing in only one letter–has arrived at the Roundup?  More soon.

aawfxx

All fotos but the last one by Will Van Dorp.  And that Burger foto . . . will for now go unattributed.

Check out the Waterford Historical Society site here.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,427 other followers

If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Archives

December 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031