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Thanks to Steve Wunder for the photo below taken yesterday in Fonda NY.  To the right, it’s a new 2018 Marine Inland Fabricators 25′-3″x14′x5′ Clydesdale pushtug, either hull 323 or hull 324.

BUT, to the left and much more significant, it’s Urger, a few miles east of where the 1901 (!!) tug is said to be intended as a land display, sans integral hull, i.e., it’ll never float or tour the waterways again.

I intend this post as a followup to last week’s here, where I wanted to illustrate what we New Yorkers stand to lose, if this lock 13 park plan gets carried out.   In following up, my intention is to underscore our potential loss.

The photo below shows Urger in 1940 in Waterford, operating as a steam tug. At that point, the tug was already 39 years old.

Urger was launched in 1901 as fish tug  Henry J. Dornbos, by Johnston Brothers, a fact still visible on the bitt below.  The company was founded in 1864 by J. W. Johnston, a direct descendant of the none other than James Watt.

The rest of the photos here come from the archives of Bob Stopper, canal ambassador extraordinaire based in Lyons, NY.

Urger has likely been seen and touched by many more people than any other Canal tug or other New York State symbol, particularly because from 1991 until 2016, it crisscrossed the state’s waterways from May until October, doing programs for 4th graders and festivals for the general public.  Schools bused kids to the canal parks to learn about NYS history, technology, and the environment.  Before any program, crew cleaned, painted, and polished.

 

Think about 1901.  Life expectancy for US men was 47.6 years, and for women, 50.6!  Companies like Harley Davidson and Ford wouldn’t form until 1903, also the year the Wright Brothers made their first flight.  There were 15 automobiles registered in the 45 states of the US, where the population was all of 75 million; Utah had been the last state to enter the union in 1896.  The world’s tallest building was Philadelphia City Hall at 548.’  US Steel had not yet been created, and Standard Oil would go another decade before being broken up.  RMS Cedric was the world’s largest ship, and Titanic was not even on the drawing board. The US was involved in a shooting conflict in China. 

Literally thousands of New Yorkers of all parts of the state and ages have benefitted from Urger at a canal port near them, like this future mariner.

Time is critical here.  Unless minds get changed, we could be days or even hours away from Urger‘s life as a boat permanently sunk, which IMHO, would be a significant loss.  Please share this post with friends, local schools, and other networks.  Also, contact your federal, state, and local political leaders.

Click here for most of my previous Urger posts.

On May 4, 1928 this “oil-burning” tug was launched at Buffalo Marine Construction Co.  The 1928 price for the 74’1″ x 19’6″ x 8’2″ tug was $44,250, which is (adjusted for inflation) $644,318.82 in 2018 money.  Here are some photos over the few years I’ve followed her.  Starting below, September 2008.

September 2010 here

and here.

October 2013.

June 2014

August 2017.  Yes, she’s a working boat.

Now clearly this is not Cleveland, but her sister Governor Roosevelt.  That is a deep hull.   I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Cleveland hauled out.  According to Michele A. McFee’s A Long Haul, the two Governors were purchased by NYS DPW in the late 1920s to break ice, and proved their worth in the dramatic November 1936 deep freeze.

Thanks to Chris Freeman who put her “birth certificate” on FB this morning and alerted me to this day for ceremony for the Cleveland.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who leaves you with this obscure story of Cleveland (later POTUS 22 AND 24) getting incarcerated in Medina NY on a suspected “corruption of a minor female” charge . . .  all a mistake.  Read it below:

As a long-term gongoozler–or whatever such a person is called in the US–I wonder what workboats will maintain the NYS Canal system in 2117 . . ..  As a small waterway by today’s standards, small tugs like Erie and tenders like T2 are appropriate size.  But they are old, more than half a century old.  For more tenders, click here.

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I can’t tell for sure, but the 1928-built T4 looks even shorter, yet that’s not even the most unique feature of this tug.  What distinguishes her from all the others is the power plant . . . less than five-year-old all electric power plant from Elco Motor Yachts.

So . . . what will we see when we tumble into the haze of years to come?

Here’s a clue right now.  Scotty is 24′ built in 2007.  I’m not sure what the draft is, but for trucking to the next job, I’m supposing the wheelhouse can be removed.

 

Here Scotty works on the Rexford Bridge, and as a tender on the project,

there’s the open boat with push knees to the right.

Is this the future?  What would Scotty look like painted in Canal colors?

All photos and conjecture by Will Van Dorp.

 

Here’s the series that this follows, a series that shows how busy this craneship still is at certain times of the year.  Of course, this could also be called what do you do with an obsolete New York City ferry, a vessel delivered by Electric Boat on October 14, 1929 and replaced by a bridge in fewer than 10 years.

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Yes, this is the bow of the craneship, and until I spent a day on board last fall, I assumed the bow wheel was non-functioning if even present.

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Excuse the rain spot.

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Closeups of bow and

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stern.

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Here’s a shot from the deck of Wards Island from the incredible warm late November day last year when we pulled a day’s worth of buoys from Oneida Lake, and at the

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end of the day, getting a glimpse of the builders plate in the engine compartment.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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In order . .  . .  Governor Roosevelt with Tender#4,  Tender #4 with electric motor and unique stack, Urger, Seneca and Tender Dana on the nose, Tender Dana, “newish” antiques on Lake Oneida east end, dredge and Tender #10, Tender T-7, Governor Cleveland, Dragon dredge, derrick boat.  As to the tenders, think . .  a vessel for tending dredges and other vessels.  For Dragon dredge, I’ve no idea about the story there.

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