You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Matton Shipyard’ tag.

First I need to make a correction:  in M2 I stated that Tigre would have traveled through the Panama Canal;  she did not because she worked out of the Peruvian Amazon in the area of Iquitos!  Thanks to Paul Strubeck for the image below.  That would have been an interesting delivery!!

Next, photos and details of the STs Matton built in the first half of the 1940s are detailed in this fabulous site compiled by by Dan Friend.

Now we jump to 1954 and this photo showing a Cleveland 498 engine being lowered into a tugboat simply named Matton, which was reefed in 1990 as Troy.

Moving forward chronologically, William Lafferty has shared these two old Kodachromes taken on a sunny late September 1960 on the Welland Canal and I adapt from his comments:  “The 1957 Ralph E. Matton has entered the lock.  The tug was powered initially by a Cleveland Diesel 12-278, 2100 hp, later repowered with an EMD 16-567C.  It hauled oil barges on the Barge Canal and Great Lakes in the summer, mostly for Seaboard Shipping Corporation and Moran’s Morania division, and fuel oil barges in the winter on Long Island Sound. Its Great Lakes service ended by 1962.” 

To add my comment, the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959 effectively ended transportation of cargoes between salt water and the Great Lakes via the Barge Canal.

“Bart Turecamo  purchased the Matton operation in 1964 and the 84′ x 25′ Ralph E. Matton became the Mary Turecamo and then Albany in 1972 for American Dredging Company of Philadelphia. In 1994 it was sold to Casco Bay Towing Company, Portland ME, where it was dismantled in spring 2007.”

“Following the Matton tug, the 1923 UK-built Keybar was carrying 2600 tons of pulpwood for a mill in Erie PA.    Keybar would then proceed from Erie to Oswego to load coal for Montréal, clearing Oswego 4 October 1960.   The handsome Keybar (look at those windows beneath the pilothouse) was launched 19 March 1923 at South Bank-on-Tees, England, by Smith’s Dock Co., Ltd., for Keystone Transports Co., Ltd., Montréal, a shipping firm organized by the Montreal Power, Heat and Light Company, Ltd., to bring American coal to its generating plants.  Laid up at Kingston ON after the 1961 season, it arrived at Port Dalhousie ON for demolition on 1 June 1963.”

Matton launched Everglades in 1959.     Later, renamed Captain Nelson, she shows up in this submarine assist.   That particular submarine suffered substantial damage in a Kittery ME fire, and was subsequently decommissioned.    

Everglades was Matton’s only tugboat in 1959, and their only one in 1960 was ChallengerHere she is after 1970 as Captain Brinn.    A 2012 image of her in Kingston, St. Vincent as Captain Bim can be found here.     This site claims she’s still afloat, but if you follow the location of her icon, she’s in mid-Sahara Desert, so  . . . uh, no.

Bart Turecamo was the first tugboat the shipyard produced after Turecamo had taken over the Hudson River shipyard. 

She’s still at work in Philadelphia bearing the same name, as seen in my photo from 2010.

After a series of launches for NYPD including the still extant No. 5, the yard released James Turecamo in December 1969, and she’s still works in the Albany area of the Hudson.  Has anyone seen James above the Troy Lock?

July 1971, the yard launched Mobil 1, which in 1992 was renamed Tioga and in 1993 was sold and renamed  Zachery Reinauer, still extant but I’ve not seen her in a long time.

In Sept 1976, the yard launched Largo Remo for Refineria Panama;  it eventually became Tridente and now (?) Vesca R-18.  Click on the photo below for more info.  Largo Remo is an island on the Caribbean side of Panama.

After Largo Remo, the yard produced only three more tugboats or boats of any kind:  Michael (now in Honduras as A. J. Ellis) , Joan, and Mary Turecamo, the latter in March 1983 being the very last.  Mary is alive and still working in the sixth boro, as evidenced in my photo from October 2021.

Many thanks to Paul Strubeck, William Lafferty, and the Canal Society for offer of and use of these photos.  Any errors in information attributable to WVD, and correction of such errors is appreciated.  Changes in font happen because of cutting/pasting.

Remember the Canal Society winter symposium is coming up a week from today;  I plan to be there.  Also, remember the conference in the early fall 2022.


After today, I have one more Matton post from the Canal Society archives.  Below is an aerial shot on the Matton shipyard on the Hudson, the one that closed in 1983 as a Turecamo-owned site. Bart Turecamo had purchased the yard in the mid 1960s , soon after Ralph Matton had died. More info and photos can be found here.

Thanks to William Lafferty, yesterday’s post identified the tugboat with a film crew as the 1895 P. C. Ronan.  Below is a clear shot of Ronan‘s bow, with the scow along the opposite side of the tugboat.  Clearly, the platform is on the scow, not as I first supposed yesterday, on the tug. I’d also wager that standing on the bow second from left and wearing a captain’s hat is the same gentleman/same clothes and hat as in yesterday’s photo.

At least two decades between the image of a Matton-owned tugboat above and Matton-built Tigre in December 1941. 

I’m guessing Tigre never entered the Barge Canal, but obviously would have transited the Panama Canal on the way to Peru.  According to Matton shipyard history, she was renamed as Franco, but it’s possible but highly unlikely that the 81-year-old boat is still extant.

Also in the 1940s, Matton had a number of US government contracts:  5 submarine chasers for the USCG and the Russian government, 4 small tugs (ST) to Finland, and 6 YTLs to Southeast Asia and Venezuela.  YTL 456 went to the Philippines, if this info is to be believed.  For example, it lists Watertown NY as location of a Matton shipyard, and I’ve never read of that.

Shown here in the Troy lock, upbound, Margaret Matton  

was launched in 1946;  subsequent names include

Fort Lauderdale,

Evening Light, and

Hudson. She was cut up soon after I took this photo in 2006.  The Evening Light and Fort Lauderdale photos  are used with permission from the Paul Strubeck collection.  I’ve heard stories from a captain who once worked as a deckhand on Hudson moving fuel to storage tanks north of Newark NJ on the Passaic, hearing gunfire from the city on the Passaic.  Traveling through gunfire on a gasoline barge might make for some insomnia.

The 1951 Edward Matton has appeared here before in part B of this series.  She became Morania No. 9 and eventually a NJ reef, with details here in part B.

The 1954 Matton became Kathleen Turecamo, then Troy, then scrapped or reefed in 1990.

The 1957 Ralph E. Matton became Mary Turecamo, then Albany, then scrapped in 2007.

Photo not credited to Paul Strubeck or WVD are used from the Canal Society of New York archives.

More Matton soon.

Recall that I started this series explaining that I’m drawing from photos in the archives of the Canal Society of New York. 

It’s fitting that this post in the series gets designated as M;  M for Matton. Here’s a quote from the shipyard history site:  “John E. Matton started his original shipyard in 1899, on the Champlain Canal, about three miles north of the Waterford side-cut: he moved to Cohoes in 1916. [I know the second site, but the 1899 site on the old Champlain Canal I’m not familiar enough with Waterford to know its location.] His son Ralph joined him in 1922 and the company became, first, John E. Matton & Son, and, later, John E. Matton & Sons.  The yard closed in 1966 and was sold to Bart Turecamo, who kept the Matton name, operating it as Matton Shipyard Company, until it closed again in 1983.” 

Two more installments of this post are coming, but a frustration of an exercise like this is that no fewer than five boats carried the name John E. Matton between 1911 and 1964.  Initially I imagined the photo below to show the 1911 John E. Matton, but that was a canal boat–not a tug–and the signboard in the photo below shows the company name, post 1922. 


Having cleared that up, this is an intriguing photo.  In this closer up view, you see no fewer than 15 men on board, some of them with white boards or drafting tables and instruments on tripods, either theodolites [likely] or cameras.  A good number of the men–but not all of them– are looking in the direction of the photographer, which makes this a somewhat casual shot.

Also, notice the name board on the bow begins with a P, then a C and ends with an N

The name board on the wheelhouse also begins with a P.  However, looking at the shipyard history site, I find no Matton-built boat that begins with a P. So what tugboat is this, and what would all these men be doing?  Did Matton own a tugboat which they did not build?

If that is complicated, it gets more so.  The 1939 John E. Matton was sold to the USN in 1940 and renamed Tamaque, YN 52, and the next  one was not built until 1945.  If this is not the 1939 build, what is it?

Identity of the tug aside, it’s interesting to see the barge max out the space available in lock E-2.

The photo below is clear, so is this the 1939 John E. Matton, which became Tamaque, Athena, Jesse D, and Atlantic 7?

With a clearer photo and better angle, I might be able to determine if the photo above and below show the same vessel.  Lightening of the photo thanks to Bob Mattsson.

This archive is no help for photos of the 1945 John E. Matton (then Hollywood and Brevard). 

The 1958 John E. Matton has been covered here as Cissy Reinauer, Cissi, Mischief, and finally Thornton Bros, which was scrapped in 2014. 

The 1964 John E. Matton also does not appear;  it became Helen J. Turecamo at some point after 1966 and sank in 1988, although I don’t know any of the details or location of that loss.      

More Matton boats–less frustrating ones– are up in next post.

Many thanks to the Canal Society of New York for allowing me access to these photos.

I did a post about a scrapping before . .  in early 2007 here.  Warning:  Disturbing images follow.  This post focuses on a tug built in Matton Shipyard,


one of four tugboats that were originally christened John E. Matton, not the one below.


It could get confusing, but vessels were launched as John E. Matton in 1939 (which seems to be this one and still afloat as Atlantic 7 although I’ve not found a photo), in 1945, in 1958, and in 1964.

Below are photos of the 1958 John E. Matton.  The first one is from 2007, when it was known as Thornton Bros.


It changed names–and colors–after 2007, and that’s confusing too,



but by 2012 it again was Thornton Bros.



But earlier this year, time had run out, and I got some pics as it awaited the scrapper.






The following photos–taken while I was up on the canal–come compliments of Gerard Thornton, to whom I am grateful.



As I look at these, I’m eager to get into canal related archives to see what photos exist of the area around the Matton yard in the 1940s and 1950s.



And might there be photos of steel sheet and rod transported by canal from the Great Lakes steel plants to the Matton yard?


Again, thanks to Gerard Thornton for the last four photos.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

By the way, the John E. Matton (1964) became one of the vessels named Helen J. Turecamo and sank in 1988.  Does anyone know details about that sinking beyond 1988 and that it happened near Norfolk and involved a submarine? I get nothing from googling.


Non-random  . . . because well . . . they’re not.

Sabine, for example, I’d never seen before taking these.



. .  here escorting in Zim Texas.


Ditto Ironhead, which has to be one of my favorite names.


I don’t know much else about this boat.


And this one, Thornton Bros . . . this may be the last photo I post of her intact, as this Matton boat mutely awaits the reaper.


Oh the stories others could tell of her.  Here and here are previous photos of this fine old boat.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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