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. . . illustrating what will be lost if present course is maintained.   If you don’t know what’s likely to happen imminently, Urger is NOT to be reefed.  But, it’ll be beached at Thruway Lock 13 “living history” exit, with holes “punched” in the hull and that beaching will cost –I’m told–over $3 million.

Why should you care?

First,  listen to this engine, as I recorded it four years ago on a calm day above Amsterdam NY.  Click the thumbnail below left for the sound from inside the engine room and . . . right, from outside.  It’s like the steady panting of a racing horse.  Click here for a list of remaining Atlas-Imperial engines, although I don’t know how out-of-date this info may be.

  

Here’s that same engine as seen from below, starboard looking aft, and

here, the camera is looking aft along the port side.

Here’s the view port side looking down.

For whatever value it has, Urger is

one of about two dozen NY vessels on the National Register of Historic Places, has been on that list since November 29, 2001.    Click here for what that means in terms of significantly changing the historic floating structure.

Urger was built by Johnston Brothers Shipyard in Ferrysburg, Michigan, in 1901, originally as H. J. Dornbos, a fish tug.  My point . . . if she’s been around this long and is in this good shape, that’s prime reason to keep her that way.

Urger faced significant change before, back in the late 1980s, ending Canal maintenance duty in October 1987.  Then, Schuyler Meyer (1918–1997) stepped forward with a proposal to save her by making her the “ambassador vessel” of the NYS Canals that she did become.  During those ambassador years, scores of thousands of folks–especially school kids–saw her, walked on her, learned from her about NYS.  Read the whole article below if you have time, but signifiant info is concentrated in the rightmost column.   Look at the image he’s holding in the photo.

Urger is a flagship of NYS history, having made public appearances all over the confluent waterways of the state from Lockport (I don’t have photos of her in Buffalo) to

the famous culvert east of Medina to

Oswego, shown here at Lock O-8 with tug Syracuse to

the Upper Bay of New York City, and all the great little towns in between.   I lack the photos myself, but I know she’s been to the southernmost point of the Finger Lakes and upper reaches of Lake Champlain from this video clip.

So what can be done . . .  especially since, given the imminence of converting Urger to a “static display,” time is so short?

First, share this post with anyone you know who might care about Urger.  Seek out your loud, articulate, reasonable, and well-known advocates who know [connected] people and can speak out in the meetings, press, and blogs.  It’s summer, so key political and agency leaders might not be reading their mail, forwarding it to folks with less decision-making power.  Congressman Paul Tonko would like to hear from you. State legislators might be contacted in their home districts, where you can even walk into their local offices.   Talk to your local mayors, business leaders, and union officials.  I was born upstate but haven’t lived there since the 1960s.

Educators, especially in Canal corridor towns,  have benefitted from the Urger program over the past quarter century.  They might choose to exercise power through NYSUT rather than as individuals if anyone in to better get the attention of government.

Finally, if the choice were between spending no money to beach Urger vs. spending money to keep it afloat and active, that would lend support to the idea of beaching her.  BUT, significant money (in the seven digits) will be spent to beach her at Lock 13 Thruway exit.

Thanks for your attention.  All the color photos here were taken by Will Van Dorp, except the one below, taken by Chris Kenyon in Port Gibson in 2014.

Personal disclosure:  I worked as deckhand on Urger during the 2014 season, on a leave-of-absence from my other life.  I spent about 100 nights and days aboard her between June 6 and October 30, i.e., about 2/3 of the time between those dates.  Some of the hundreds of references to the boat on this blog can be found here.

I hope you agree with me that NYS gains more by keeping her afloat and active than by beaching her.  Pass it on, if you agree.

 

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Here’s the tugboat named for the politician who mustered the public will to build this fabulous infrastructure.  Her designs were completed by naval architect Theodore D. Wells at 11 Broadway NYC in November 1925.  And she’s the oldest tug on the Canals still working on canal maintenance.

 

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I hope you enjoy these somewhat random photos taken over two days on about 80 miles of canal lifting about 235 feet above the pool level above the Troy lock.  With limited wifi, I’m not sure when next I’ll post.

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First, thanks to Andrea of I love upstate New York for use of this photo of the Oswego Harborfest fireworks.

The tug visible though is NOT Syracuse.  It’s Nash, which I’ve previously written about here.  Syracuse is somewhere in the darkness beyond Nash.

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The fireworks barges would not have been in position without Syracuse, here seen at launch over 80 years ago.

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Today she’s just a tug, not an antique vessel.  She just works;  she doesn’t demonstrate working.

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New York colors as seen in darkness and

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rain.

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Notie the logo on the t-shirt of the gentleman to the left . . .the same company that does the Macy’s July 4 show!!

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And on the lighthouse . . . a local expression of thanks.

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Again, thanks to Andrea for use of that top photo;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

 

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In order . . . autism awareness kayak marathon, Schenectady aqueduct remnants, scullers, Waterkeeper vessel, lobsterboat as yacht, self-described “redneck pickup”, amusement park  rocket, pirates’ parade, Hackercraft, 1942 Richardson,  boat and wooden barge remnants and rowing dory, Corps of Engineers survey vessel, and Capt. Henry Jackman discharging aggregates in Oswego.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

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Top to bottom:  summer fireworks, deer along the banks, more deer, engine room assistant, sea ducks? eel fly, and  . . . yes . . . camels.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’ currently canal side at the north end of the Oswego Canal, where the boat is open to the public.

 

Lots of photos today . . . about just that, DeWitt being a former 1810 NYC mayor (after becoming disgruntled as US Senator from NY state . . . and before going on to other offices)  greatly responsible for up-commercializing the waters around the city so that the other five boros would come into being.

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Denizens today, include all manner of critters, plus folks like these McQuaid rowers who come to help others.

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Or like Ra to prove something.

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Notice the salad growing on the outriggers and elsewhere.

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Or to heal, while kayaking 6000 miles.

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Folks come to the canal to tootle around on interesting boats like this 1973 Albin 25.  Here’s a similar boat.

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Or this antique.  Sorry I don’t know the manufacturer of Lazy Bones.

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Or this Island Packet with an unusual tender.

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A Lagoon 43 power cat.

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A Mark V design.

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Boats from distant ends of the US . . .

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and beyond.

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In case you don’t recognize the flag there from World Cup play, Zwerver is Dutch.

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All manner of denizens travel along the banks whether for shelter or

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an interest in technological history like this and

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lots like this.

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Cheap living space with unique roommates can be had too.

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The canal is a place of work too. …

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and commerce past . . . like 127′ Alanson Sumner, built by the Goble yard in 1872; and

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present . . . like the half century young Margot.

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Come on up, stick your neck out like Chelydra s. here,  and enjoy  . . .

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All photos taken in June by Will Van Dorp.

Happy Independence Day . . .

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