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I grew up less than 10 miles from this very location, in Wayne County, and having seen the whole system, I’ll suggest that, from the water, Wayne seems the most rural county transited by the canal, and that’s just description, not criticism.  Interesting to me is the fact that familiarity makes it hard for me to identify this area’s tourism appeal.

Tug Seneca, whose distance table we’ve been using, followed us into lock E-28A. In the distance, notice the “abandoned” 1912 tugboat Grouper, the topic of many many posts on this blog.

Below is the same area, from 400′ up and looking east. Note the lock center right and Lyons dry dock to its left in February. That’s Route 31, again, along the right side of the canal.  One of the pieces of equipment long-term (and maybe terminally) in the dry dock is Dipper Dredge No. 3, entered service around 1929 and last operated in 1985.  I’m told that the expertise to operate the unit no longer exists.

Lyons pre-dates the canal, only briefly, and is named for the city in France. It owes some international fame to H. G. Hotchkiss and peppermint essential oil, made there for over 150 years.  At one time, the smell of peppermint wafted over the canal and greeted travelers. More on that story here. A unique feature of the canal corridor through here is the number of houses, built by canal workers, made of cobblestones.  For a list with photos of cobblestone buildings in the immediate area, click here.  Signage on the north bank directs boaters around town and the area.

Let’s take a prompt from those signs and go ashore to

admire both the bucolic splendor and, alongside old Route 31 here in Lock Berlin, stare in disbelief at this ditch. Yes, that’s Clinton’s Ditch!  If you have ancestors who traveled west on the Erie Canal, this is where they floated past.

Off the road just slightly in Black Brook Park are these remnants of lock no. 54 of the Enlarged Canal, i.e., this saw traffic between 1862 and 1918.

I mentioned signage above:  Many murals have been created in Lyons and elsewhere along the canal by organizations like Mural Mania.  See a few Lyons examples here.  Murals help maintain a sense of history.  This one is a work-in-progress (notice the table and chairs in the studio?) painted on large sheets of plywood;  when the time is right, the mural is one of two to be assembled in mosaic form in a location to be disclosed on this blog later.

Another Lyons detail, this time from the Moran archives, of Agnes A. Moran (upper right)  tied up in town in summer 1961.  Many thanks to Chris Williams for a “heads up” on that on.  Click on the photo for the full context, and scroll.

It’s time to get back onto the boat.  Here we’ve passed under the Route 14 bridge.  Note the county courthouse dome in the center of the photo.

More industrial remnants catch our attention;  what looks abandoned now isn’t really, but its current usage differs from its original.

It was built 1900  (or 1903) for the Empire Sugar Beet Company, in season processing 600 tons of beets daily to produce 50 tons of raw sugar.  The beets came from 6000 acres farmed for this purpose locally. No sugar beets have been grown in the county for some time. In the 1940s the factory processed dates brought here by rail and sea from Iraq and Iran, pineapple . .  from Hawaii and the Philippines.

This is the reason one always carries a camera and maintains a sharp lookout.

Traffic on the narrow bridges here reveals what’s going on beyond the wooded banks.

The wooded banks, however, appear to shelter great hideaways, even though there may be a paved road 300′ on the land side.

Traffic . . . again, keep a camera handy, because you never know what you’ll see.  Grand Erie, now a NYS Canals vessel, spent the first part of its life on the Ohio River system.

Have another machine from the inception of this land cut.

Here’s another example of an industrial vestige along the Canal;  until 1989 when the last barge made a delivery, hot asphalt was moved here and through the pipes into the storage tank from a “hot” barge pushed by a tug all the way from Perth Amboy NJ.

Ten miles east of Lyons we arrive in Clyde, a village with a population of about 2000 for over a century.  Clyde Glass Works put the town on the map.  Here’s more on the glassware made here.

What’s not visible from the boat is the proximity of the Enlarged Canal, as seen from this drone photo of the laser-straight “ditch” to the right of the current canal.

Lauraville Landing in Clyde back in summer 2017 saw these boats tied up for an evening, part of the “votetilla,” a parade of boats that transited this part of the canal on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of New York granting women the right to vote.  The 19th amendment was passed two years later.

The bottleneck for folks that travel the canal frequently, this is the infamous Clyde Bridge, aka the E-93 bridge that once carried the many-years-defunct West Shore Railroad.  It blocks passage of any vessel exceeding about 15′ of air draft.  If you’re 16′ and can ballast yourself down without hitting the bottom, there’s hope. Otherwise  . . . Lake Erie is only 130 miles behind you, and you’ll see things you missed as you return, right?  The jackstaff with the yellow “flag” aka jack can also be called a feeler or a tell tale.

In the photo above,  we approach just barely drifting, in case we need to reverse engine to avoid hitting.   Below, I took the photo before I knew exactly what this “grafitti” represented.  Later,

I learned that Blount Small Ships Adventures then known as American Canadian Caribbean Line, used to transit this portion of the canal, and here the owner of the company, Luther Blount, is standing atop the highest deck of Niagara Prince, leaving a record before squeezing through on the way west to Lake Erie.  Photographer unidentified.

Two miles east of here we transit E-26, and then another five miles farther, we get to lock E-25. The small boat just before the lock to the left is called a buoy boat.  You may have seen others earlier in the trip and wondered. In the first decades of the Barge Canal, when traffic moved 24/7 as long as the ice was not too thick, channel buoys had kerosene lamps;  buoy boats carried kerosene tanks to replenish the tanks on the buoys to keep the flame burning.  They are still used as appropriate in the system.

A mile east of  E-25,we’re in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, and

we come to a junction, shown

more vividly here from a 1981 aerial.  We will overnight here and, rather than heading straight ahead for Syracuse, we’re branching off to the right.  And that triangular island, does it have a name?  If the name is as boring as Junction Island, I think we need a a legend and an intriguing name.  In the absence of one, I’ll call it Tadadaho island, and if you want to learn about this scary local, click here.

Given all the mention of Haudenosaunee names in this series, you might be wondering where “Montezuma” comes from.  Well, a cosmopolitan NYC physician named Peter Clark with a commercial interest in the salt deposits under the marsh there  built a home overlooking the area in 1806.  He considered his home akin to the palace of the Aztec ruler, and therefore chose that name.  It stuck.  I’d love to see a photo of that house.  And salt, that’ll come up again.

At the start of the next post, we’ll virtually transport ourselves 50 miles mostly south to the bottom of Seneca Lake, town of Watkins Glen, and head north across the Lake.  One could do the same trip heading north starting in Ithaca, less than 20 miles to the mostly east from Watkins Glen, but then we’d hit only one lock.  So to Watkins Glen we’ll go.   It’s a nice place, by the way for hiking (last three photos here) and spectating this and more.

Many thanks to Bob Stopper of Lyons for some of these photos and information, Chris for the Moran tug heads-up,  Mark De Cracker for the mural-in-progress, and drone-assisted photos by Jim Kerins.

There are at least three more installments coming.  To continue this series, consider this:  if you’ve done any part of the NYS Canals and feel like adding here, info and photos of something sublime or even that I’ve underrepresented–section, activity or historical context, please contact me.  You can supply photos of the area, activity, constituent, or era . . . Together we’ll collaborate to get that represented.  It could be like this one cruising the Champlain Canal in the 1950s.

This post, beginning in the hamlet of Jacksonburg NY,  overlaps a portion of the canal represented in yesterday’s post.  Notice our vessel to the left below;  the cattails beside the road to the road are growing in the original canal bed from 1825.

Our tender ferries folks back from shore excursions.

I believe this is tug Lockport in Herkimer.

Gradall #2 and tug Governor Roosevelt conduct dredging at Illion marina.

 

Tug Seneca undergoes shore work at Lysander.

Juice is generated in Fulton.

 

And as we approach Oswego, a sentinel watches our progress.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who needed to reduce file size to enable this post to load.

 

It seats one to power nothing, but makes a good puzzle here in the PowWow River some years ago.  In dry season, you walked through the gate and sat here to fish or just sit.

Poseidon’s Sea-Bee Pusher power unit has

has no seat, so you make your own with your own, complete with a foot rest.

You notice you can’t drive Urger from a seat; but there is a seat

for the engineer of this bell boat.

If we assumed the engineer’s seat, this handle would be our major control over this 19-ton Atlas-Imperial.   You can see the seat on this youtube clip of the engine running.

Since we’re on the Erie Canal, check out the wheel and controls of Seneca, which is also steered by standing crew.

I know I know . . . this is hard to read, but tug Seneca (1930) had a career with the USN in Boston and Brooklyn before it was purchased for work in the Erie Canal, in 1960.  GE?  yes, it’s diesel electric.

I’ve got lots of helm seats (or lack thereof) from Bart Hakse aka Zee Bart, who delivers vessels around the world with Redwise.  He took the photos below on a naval vessel.  Nation?  Zee Bart also finds time to do a blog called Uglyships.

 

The seatless helm above is from an unidentified vessel of the Vietnamese Navy.  Clearly it’s not a MetalShark.

Below, it’s the helm seats of  MF Hornelen.  

Note the flag on the left shoulder of the jacket.

And another from Zee Bart, FV Alpha.

 

I have many more helm seat photos from Zee Bart, but I’d love to have others to dilute Bart’s.

All the first photos here by Will Van Dorp; the others, thanks to Bart.

This is probably the last of this series as well.  These photos were all taken between October 2 and 19 in an area of the western canal, the extreme western portion of which is now more than a little snow-covered.  I don’t know much about this little 1985 one-off (I was told) fiberglass tugboat named Tilly.  Not the Tilly that’s currently underwater.  

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Mandalay . . . said to have down east fishing origins from the first decades of the 20th century . . . is a stunner.  Reminds me of Grayling, third photo down here.   Mandalay is on the Genesee river, not technically the canal, although their waters commingle.

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Capt. Green . . . another Genesee River denizen said to be a converted landing craft.

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Any word(s) on this?

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Truly a unique craft of western NY, cobblestone architecture–its height came during the first few decades after the completion of the Erie  Canal)  is celebrated in this museum just north of the canal in Childs, NY.

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Heidi, a 37′ 1941 Richardson, is truly a gem on the western canal.

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And this looks like almost too much fun!

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This brown “sculpture” made no sense to me when I first saw it, but then at a farmer’s market in Lockport, I notice a reference to “farm to pint” and local hops sales and tasted a range of local craft beers . . . of course . . . it’s a huge representation of a hops cone.

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Hobbit house?  dungeon?

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Try . .  outlet for a 19th century water power system in Lockport.

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And for a feat quite unimaginable to DeWitt Clinton and his cronies, here’s the Red Bull take.  Click on the photo below.

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Finally . . . I know I’ve posted a version of this photo previously, but this culvert under the canal begs a tip of the hat to that craftwork of an earlier era.

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I was truly fortunate to see this variety of craft, but for a time traveler’s view, you must read Michele A. McFee’s A Long Haul:  The Story of the New York State Canal.  One of my favorite sets of photos from the New York State Archives and featured in her book relates to Henry Ford . . . his 1922 vacation on the canal and subsequent decision to ship auto parts on the canal.  In fact, on p. 193 there’s a photo of new automobiles shipped across the state NOT by truck or train but by barge!

 

 

Here’s a view from the oldest of the fleet–Urger–heading through the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge.

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Grand Erie and Tender 4 (?) heading west almost three weeks ago.

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SPS 54 (?) tied up above lock 1 of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.   By the way . . . SPS expands to “self-propelled scow.”

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Earlier this week, Urger meets Grand Erie near Clyde.

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Seneca in Lyons.   It was built by Electric Boat in 1932, and in 1960, was sold from the USN to Canal Corp.

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Another SPS,

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a derrick boat and a tender.

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Syracuse, a heavily loaded scow, and a derrick boat.

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And finally . . . can you tell by the foliage color?  Urger and buoy boat 109 with external fuel tanks in late August.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who recently with one erroneous click, lost about 200 photos.  Ouch and we move on.

 

Boston Navy Yard, February 1932 and launch day.  Click here to see the context.

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Grand River at Grand Haven, February 1907.

H J Dornbos
82 years later, the same vessel as the top one and now known as Seneca, pushes Tender #10 eastbound just east of Oneida Lake.

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107 years later than the second photo above, H. J. Dornbos, now known as Urger awaits dry-docking between Locks 2 and 3 in Waterford last week.  For a sense of how Urger looks high and defy, click here.

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Enjoy these additional shots from Seneca‘s wheelhouse.

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Here’s the story, and

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here’s what the 1960ish waterways of New York State looked like.

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Click here for an article on an international set of passengers Seneca has recently carried;  ditto here for an fall 2013 article an Seneca.

Thanks to William Lafferty for the 1907 Dornbos image.

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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick and dirty . . . since forces are pulling me every which way these days.  Between the Great Lakes, which Joe is warning me about, and the sixth boro, which I call home, is the Erie Canal.  And some classy vessels populate it, like Governor Roosevelt.   See my latest foto here.  Thanks to Jason LaDue for this shot of a very substantial ice-breaking hull.

Lockport here assists Day Peckinpaugh.  I hope to get to Lockport in spring.

More recently, Seneca was on the hard in Lyons.  So . . . was she the one built in 1932?

Thanks to Jason for the fotos attributed to him.  Here’s a foto of sister Canal Corp  vessel Urger in the drydock last spring.

{First, an “ad” for the opera on Mary Whalen.} Great mood foto and  ticket info here.

Now . . . Defender to Cigarette . . . prey to predator; cheetah to zebra. And the outcome…
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Cheetah! Busted! Hove to.

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Erie Canal tug Seneca, a government boat, attends to various and sundry canal work, here accompanying a crane barge clearing tree encroachment on a boat landing.

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Below is Marine 1’s John D. McKean. See this link for John D‘s welcome of the QM2 on her first arrival here. John D. may have only a few years of service left; scroll down to “changing tide” for 2009 replacement plans. More FDNY boats here.

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The newly refurbished 110′ cutter Tybee based in Woods Hole cruised westbound this summer. Tybee is one of about 40 110′ sisters.

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Getting us back to predator and prey, conversion of these 110′ cutters to 123′ faster ones has not gone smoothly.

For fantastic video of Coast Guard rescue of tran-Pacific rowe Roz Savage, see this link from Sea Fever, long on my blogroll.

All images by Will Van Dorp.

By the way, new to the blogroll at left… World Ship Society with lots of New York links.

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