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I don’t go to galleries, museums, or other events enough, I know, but ’tis the season when it’s dark and rainy, and indoors can be bright, dry, and cheery. Rainy Sunday afternoon recently, I stopped in at the Noble Maritime Collection on Staten Island to show it to a friend not familiar with Noble’s work. Snug Harbor –location of  Noble Maritime— is always a good place to visit.   I’ll put links to John A. Noble in general at end of post, and I know some of my readers knew him.

Here’s one of the images that caught and held me.   Spend some time and savor it;  farther below is more information. 

How about those 1949 Cadillacs?   I needed to know more about the Cadillacs, of course.  And I found some.  Can you name the other “Cadillacs” of the Moran fleet?  Any more about them?  Answer follows.

Here’s a slightly closer up of the image above.  This image is on display as part of a current exhibit called “Andrea Doria:  Rescue at Sea.” 

While you mull over what you know about the Moran Cadillacs, how ’bout a glance at some Cadillacs of that general vintage. 

Never before have I looked at a hood ornament and thought how much that figure resembles a version of mermaid . . . not a woman and fish; rather, a woman and a ray.  Agree?

The first of four here is a Cadillac, again . . . that general vintage.  Can you name the other three?

All photos, any errors or digressions, WVD.

Here and here are some starter John A. Noble links.    Here’s an online gallery of some of his works for sale.

As to Moran’s Cadillacs:  Grace (now Towell Power), Doris (last Piar), Barbara (reefed as Georgia), Carol (reefed near her sister), and Moira (later Cedar Point) from Levingston Shipbuilding, now gone.  They launched at the rate of one each month between April and August 1949.  Paul Strubeck mentions their naval architect–Tams Inc., in his book Diesel Railroad Tugboats I reviewed not even two months ago here

While I’m on books, Erin Urban offers at least two books on John A. Noble. 

 

 

 

 

Full disclosure first, I met the author, Paul Strubeck, around 15 years ago, and he’s been working on this voluminous tome for almost a decade.  We met on a retired diesel railroad tugboat, of course, not either of the ones depicted below.  Over the years, Paul has shared photos and information on this blog.

I’ll tell you what I think about this book in a moment, but first, any guesses on the date, location, and info on the two tugboats depicted on this striking cover?

The rear cover has some Dave Boone art.  Anything look familiar in that painting?

Soon after Paul and I  met, we took this same WHC tour together.  I’m certainly not a packrat, but the fact that I still have the program attests to my sense that it was an extraordinary tour, much narration of which was prefaced “you can’t see any trace any more, but …” because rail marine in the sixth boro is mostly a thing of the past.  What’s not in the past but an immutable geographical fact is that the sixth boro surrounds an ever more densely-populated archipelago that still needs resupplying today, mostly provided by trucks and frustrated drivers clogging highways today, hence efforts like the recent beer run, to name but one.  

Contractors move carfloats today, but at one time rail lines built their own dedicated tugboats, steam and diesel, and the evolution of the latter type is what Paul’s book interprets for us.  These tugboats are mostly gone, and he tracks the disposition of each one, but a few still in use have been redesigned so successfully you might never guess their previous lives.

As I said earlier, Paul has worked on this book for the better part of a decade.  When he wasn’t employed on a  tugboat, he got jobs on the railroad, which employs him now fulltime.  But when he wasn’t scheduled by some employer, he traveled to places where he researched this book in harbors, photo archives, libraries, and museums.   To “unpack” this table of contents a bit, the “Oil-electrics” chapter focuses on  the railroads that switched from steam propulsion to diesel:  first in 1916 the Pennsylvania RR re-powering steam tug Media with a 4-cylinder Southwark-Harris heavy oil engine;  in 1926 NY Central RR built a pair of tugs on Staten Island and named NY Central’s No. 33 and No. 34, and Erie was next. 

Then next four chapters elaborate on the naval architects, the decisions they made, and the tugboats they built.

“What’s inside a tug?” includes nomenclature

 

and specialized information not commonly known to a layperson as well as to a mariner who works on non-railroad tugs.

Documents like this top one from August 1978 demystify the daily/hourly activity of tugboat crew, in this case,  the marine engineer.  Paul brings his tugboat/locomotive perspective to the page.

The book has 266 color photos and 131 black/white, for a total of 397, of which 342 have never been book/web published;  he scanned them from company records, trade literature, negatives, and slides.  Each photo has a detailed caption.  Further, the book has 4 original maps, 22 blueprints/drawings, and 17 documents/advertisements from vintage marine diesel magazines.

There are 11 appendices, including

 

17 pages of Appendix K listing all East Coast diesel railroad tugboats and their dimensions, designers and builders, engine specs, multiple names, and [what I find very helpful] their disposition, i.e., still in use, scrapped, reefed, or other.  A total of 23 railroad companies are mentioned.

On the last page, you learn a bit about the author.  He’s already working on a volume 2, focusing on railroad tugs of the Great Lakes and Inland Waterways.

To me, this book is a delight to read through and a reference for East Coast tugboats.  On my bookshelf, it goes next to Thomas R. Flagg’s book New York Harbor Railroads In Color, volumes 1 and 2, published in 2000 and 2002 but with most information cut off in 1976.  Paul’s book will be a delight for historians, aficionados of rail and marine technology, modelers, urban planners, and the general public with curiosity about how we get stuff from place of manufacture to place(s) of use.

As anyone who releases a book or other work knows, an author does not want to keep a pile of books like this at home.  For info on ordering your copy, click here.  This is not a “mainstream” book you’d see while browsing the all-too-few bookstores surviving these days.  Rather, it is published by an independent railroad-focused publisher called Garbely Publishing.

To answer the questions about cover “photo,” the front cover shows Erie tugs Elmira and Marion  in Hoboken in March 1975. Marion was launched at Jakobson’s  in Oyster Bay NY in 1953 and is being prepared for reefing at this very moment in 2022.  Anyone know details?  Elmira was launched the same year on Staten Island and was scrapped in 1984 after an engine room fire.  The Dave Boone painting shows New York Dock Railway tug Brooklyn southbound on the North River.  Notice the Colgate clock along the right side.  Brooklyn (now Florida) is currently a rebuilt but active boat in the Crescent fleet in Savannah GA.  My image of the boat as I saw it in 2014 is below;  that day I took another shot of the tugboat which appears on page 190 of Paul’s book.

Previous book reviews I’ve posted here can be found at these links.

2021

2020

2017

2014

2012

2012

2010

 

 

 

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.

2011 began in Charleston, a great place to welcome a new year.  Strolling around, I encounter the 1962 75′ buoy tender Anvil, 75301, here made up to CGB68013.  In the background, that’s cutter Cormorant or Chinook.

Heading farther north a day or two later, it’s Hoss, sister of Patricia, and now habitat for fish and other sea life.  Click here to see her sink if you do FB.

Still farther north, I see this T-boat, a 1952 Higgins named for a high point in Ireland.

Lucinda Smith, then based in Maine, is currently based on Cape Cod.

Bering Sea, like a lot of K-Sea boat, has become a Kirby boat;  it is currently in Philadelphia.  According to Birk’s invaluable site, this boat was Stacy Moran for a short time.  I never saw it in Moran red.

Thanks to my friend Paul Strubeck, this Kristin Poling needed an assist from Cornell to get through an ice jam.  This is one of my all-time favorite photos.  It looks to me like a submarine in the very deeps.

McCormack Boys was active in the sixth boro back in 2011, and although she’s still working, I’ve not seen her in years.

I glimpsed Stephen Scott in Boston a few months back, but since this photo was taken, she’s lost the upper wheelhouse.

There’s classic winter light beyond Torm Carina, provisioned here by Twin Tube.  Torm Carina is currently in the Taiwan Strait. 

Later Margaret and Joan Moran assist the tanker westbound in the KVK while Taurus passes.  Taurus has become Joker, wears Hays purple, and I’ve not even seen her yet.  I guess it’s high time I hang out in Philadelphia again.

A wintry photo shows McKinley Sea in the KVK eastbound.  In the distance,

notice the now foreign-based Scotty Patrick Sky.  If you want to see her, gallivant to St. Lucia.  McKinley Sea is currently laid up in Louisiana.

Erie Service, now Genesis Valiant, pushes her barge 6507 westbound. 

And on a personal note, it was in January 2011 that I stumbled into a locality that had been attracting me.  I suppose if ever I created a retreat, I’d have to call it Galivants Hideaway.   Here‘s another Galivants Ferry set of photos.

Thanks to Paul for use of his photo.  All other photos, a decade back, WVD.

 

Check out the sailboat.

But look closer.  Thanks to George Schneider:  “She’s sitting abandoned at Larose LA along Bayou LaFourche.  I took the shoreside photo on 8 October 2013, the cross-bayou photo 16 July 2012.  When I saw her, the only name visible was OLD COURAGE in lettering on her wheelhouse window.  Being undocumented since Moran disposed of her, there’s no “official” name for her, so I’ve used that for her present identity.

Local rumor had it that a man had intended to make a charter sailing boat out of her.  The exterior is essentially complete, although crude and problematic.  Local lore says his son killed him for spending all “his inheritance” on this project, but I’ve heard that same story for other unsailable vessels down in those parts.

Below decks there are two coves with wooden bunks, but not much else, and the engine room is mostly just gutted and, of course, awash with rain water and jungle by-products.

One can see hints of the lettering of her name around the stern where the new plating has been cut away, but not enough to make sense of it, hence another trip’s expedition inside.  This time I brought some snake gear with me to board her, and found her official number on an engine room bulkhead.  I didn’t even try to sanitize my clothes after that expedition, since I didn’t have room to pack them anyway.  I first saw her there in 2004, and last saw her in 2013.  She  still shows up  in 2019 satellite imagery.”

She’s 103′ x 26′ and built in Port Richmond NY in 1926 as tugboat New York Central #33.

The next two images are credited to Paul Strubeck, and will appear in his book, which I’ll surely tell you about when it’s available.

Going on with Paul’s info:  New York Central sold her to Moran Towing in 1945 and renamed Thomas E. Moran.  She was repowered with a Cleveland 12-278A diesel electric drive.   Around 1980 she was sold and converted to a three-masted schooner to enter the charter trade . . . until she ended up along this creek.

A more successful conversion of tugboat-to-schooner is Empire Sandy, photo here I took in the Welland Canal in August 2018.  Here are some photos from before her conversion.  Empire Sandy does tours mostly out of Toronto.

Many thanks to George and Paul for these photos and this information.

 

All photos in this post come from Paul Strubeck, who has started a blog here called vintagedieseldesign.

Mary H is the right size to serve the fuel storage in Newtown Creek, a renowned location in the sixth boro. Here are previous posts I’ve done there.

The first oil refinery in the US was sited here, and that industry fouled it, given attitudes at that time toward the environment and disposal of chemical waste.

Today a lot of commerce happens there from oil storage to scrap metal processing.

 

 

 

 

The creek has its advocates, these folks and others. At its headwaters lies Bushwick, not for everyone but vibrant in its own way.  Here’s a post I did last fall after a tour on land and on the water of Bushwick.

Again, thanks to Paul for these photos.

 

Here’s what GL tugs have looked like for a century, and many of them are still working, despite their age, as you can see here by clicking on the state names.  The tug below is Nebraska, launched in 1929.  Grouper–frequently mentioned on this blog–has the same basic design.

A new beginning took place yesterday in Toledo at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, and Paul Strubeck of Vintage Diesel Design as well as all these photos on tugster took these photos of the ceremony:  in front of the Colonel aka Schoonmaker, the 116-year-old tug Ohio was rechristened along with

the new tug Ohio. Below and to the left, the old/new Ohio (originally built as a Milwaukee fire boat) was christened with beer and the new Ohio  . . . with champagne.  Read the ToledoBlade story here.

Click here for a story on the new design, based on the Damen 1907 ICE class design.  This blog did a post on the first of this new design about two years ago here.

 

 

The new Ohio will assist ships in port of Toledo, so juxtaposition of these three vessels will be commonplace in years to come.

Many thanks to Paul for use of these photos.  And if you are ever in the Toledo area, do stop by the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

 

A toast to the unseen engineers who tended the engines for that drive to the beach that day! Thanks much, Paul Strubeck, too, for putting together this post.  This marks the first time I’ve reblogged someone else’s blog, but you’ve seen Paul’s work here before.   You’ve also seen Nash before here.

Vintage Diesel Design

Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, operation Overlord, and the storming of the Normandy Beaches. Way more then I could ever write has been written about today’s events, and I defect to others on that one. But, today I will share two D-Day Veterans anyone can visit.

Tug LT-5, the “Major Elisha K. Henson”, now a museum ship in Oswego, New York

First up is the LT-5, “Major Elisha K. Henson”, and later known as the “John F. Nash”. The LT-5 is an Army “Large Tug”, built by Jakobson Shipbuilding in 1943. The LT-5 was used on D-Day towing various barges, in part of the operation of building an artificial harbor off of Normandy. After the war the tug was used by the Army Corps of Engineers in the Buffalo area, until begin retired in 1989. Today the LT-5 is part of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in…

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and to someone else who took these photos back in 1974.

From what I can see in these photos, taken in the shipyard over in Jersey City, the lines are simple and very pleasing.

Of course, I can’t see the frames, and even if I could, I’m not a naval architect in any way shape or form.

Here’s she’s had finish paint.  Joe Weber was the yard foreman.  Here’s a photo of Joe Weber at work in 1983, and here’s one of her at Miller Girls at work around 2006.

I took the next photo, below, in January 2007, thirty-three years after she was built.  And my question is . . . since I have not seen Miller Girls in a long time, is she still around?

It looks like some sponsons have been added.

Photos this old qualify this as a “fifth dimension” post.

Many thanks to Paul for passing these along.

 

 

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