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Preface: The title 1W indicates this is a west-to-east trip, almost 200 miles between Lake Erie and the cut into Onondaga Lake, not far from Three Rivers, where previously we left the Erie and headed north on the Oswego.  Many smaller recreational boats traveling between the Lakes and the Atlantic follow this west-to-east via Lockport route to avoid using the Welland Canal. Click here for regulations regarding smaller craft in the Welland Canal, considered one section on the Saint Lawrence Seaway and entirely in Canada.

I have to be frank; I’ve traveled this part of the Erie Canal much less frequently than the portion we just finished, and most of my photos are from 2014, so if you’ve been through here more recently and stuff has changed, please update me.  Also, I’ve not been on the water between Black Rock Lock and Pendleton NY.  There may be gaps, omissions of key features in this part of the guide.

That being said, thanks for booking another trip. Virtual trips can magically re-position you; even time travel is possible.  For food, drinks, or a more comfortable pillow, though, you’re on your own.  Remember, doubleclick on a photo to enlarge it.

 

Welcome to Lake Erie, the lake with the seiches,

now looking east toward Buffalo. The Canal is named for this body of water.  It could have been named the DeWitt Clinton Canal, the New York Canal, or anything else.  But mercifully it was not.  “Erie” is an abridged name for a Haudenosaunee people whose more complete appellation was closer to “Erieehronon,” meaning people of the cat, possibly a long-tailed cat.  I add as much info as I do about First Peoples because so many places bear references,e.g., Lakes Erie and Ontario, Lackawanna, Tonawanda, Niagara . . . etc.

 

If we were heading west, here‘s some of what we’d see.  But the rainbow attracts us to look east.  See the white structures on the horizon near the center of the photo?

That’s Steel Winds, an energy project built on a former brownfield, technically in Lackawanna,  where part of the Bethlehem Steel plant was once located.

Grain elevators were invented in Buffalo and made the city rich, a past place of the future.  Since 1959 when grain shipments out of the midwest began to bypass the city via the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway to anywhere in the watery parts of the globe, much of this infrastructure was left empty, left to be reimagined.  Oh . . . that white vessel shrunk by the elevators of “silo city . . .”  yes, that’s SS Columbia, a project that plans to bring this steam vessel to the Hudson River.

Some elevators still operate;  not far from the General Foods/Gold Medal Tower is the plant where to this day, as your nose will tell you, they make Cheerios and other breakfast cereals.  I learned this by walking there one day and smelling, Cheerios. Another day, it was clearly Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Buffalo has a lot of interesting architecture, but the Liberty Building, one of my favorites, is germane to our virtual tour;  twin Statue of Liberty replicas on the roof face one east toward the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal and one west toward the Great Lakes.  Buffalo is a boom and bust city of the canal, reflected by its population size:  1820–2k people, 1850–40k,  1900–350k,  1950–580k, and now declining and approaching 250k.  There really is so much in Buffalo, which in 1900 was the eighth largest city in the US;  today it’s around #50.

Of course, we’re getting ahead of the history here;  none of this would have happened if Buffalo had not become the original “western gate” of the Erie Canal, aka the back door of the Atlantic.  Things could have turned out differently if a town to the north had been chosen.

Everyone knows about “wedding of the waters,” but I want this ceremony, performed on Seneca Chief‘s return to Buffalo, to be as well-known.  One of the confusing aspects of historical research is that names like Seneca Chief get adopted widely, as with this steamboat not long afterward.  As an aside, given what DeWitt Clinton expressed about the Iroquois, of which the Seneca were part, I’m puzzled by this choice of name, unless by that time the name of the Lake had already been divorced from the people.

Calusa Coast, once a regular in the sixth boro, now works the Great Lakes.  Here she passes Buffalo’s Erie Basin and heads for the Black Rock Lock, an entry point for our eventual turn east into the Erie Canal.

The western terminus of the Erie is in the Tonawandas.  Remember my caveat about my relative unfamiliarity with this part of the state, relative to the other side of the state.  Here‘s a summary of some attractions of the area, although even I know they’ve skipped the carousel museum, the Wurlitzers, and the Richardson boatyard.  At the beginning of the boating season, new Richardson boat owners would take part in a mass “sailaway” transiting the canal to salt water, as shown in this delightful video from 1935.  A 1941 Richardson docked alongside the canal back in 2014.

Pendleton is a few miles east, and then a bit farther, it’s the deep cut,

one of the hardest sections of the canal to dig, and it was dug before 1825, i.e., without materials and technology available for the Barge Canal.  As soon as this part of the canal opened in 1825, the Seneca Chief procession departed for New York City. More on the rubble removed here later.

 

See the locks ahead, beyond Lockport’s “big bridge,” which should be called the wide bridge.

 

Once east of the big bridge, we are at locks E-35 and E-34.

We started this leg of the trip on Lake Erie, currently above average height, . . . at 570′ or so above sea level.

We’ll end this post here, above E-35, heading east.  Using the distance table from part 1 of this series, Syracuse lies 146 miles ahead and at 370′ above sea level, and Waterford, 319 miles . . . and 15′.

All color photos by Will Van Dorp, unless otherwise stated.

 

Not far from E. M. Cotter, the SS Columbia crew prepares for the next stage in the journey.  2015 and before had the project here, (with a clip of the actual arrival in Buffalo here) and last year I saw her from the Buffalo River here.

Last month, I had the good fortune of a tour through all the decks,

from starboard just inside the ramp looking forward,

from near the stern looking forward,

a gaze up the starboard passageway from the emergency steering,

a glance back,

a peek up the port passageway,

a coup d’oeil  back at the companionway into the engine room, where

the engine rods wait to dance again and

push the indicators as the

steam pressures.

A different companionway leads up to the main deck and then

another brings us to the ball room,

with a closer-up of the bar.

Ultimately all the way up where the once and future pilot will

guide her on delightful voyages as

her stack funnels exhausted power heavenward.

If you do FB, here’s their page.  If not, here’s the .org page.  Here’s some info on the crew.

Many thanks to the crew for the tour.

Somewhat related:  If you don’t see the clip of fireboat E. M. Cotter breaking ice on the Buffalo River yesterday in the comments, here’s a great clip, and it can lead you to many others.

Also, if you’re in Buffalo, be sure to check out the Buffalo Harbor Museum. 

 

I paddled up Buffalo River, and saw West Wind and a smaller twin screw,

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G-tugs Vermont and Washington,

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and my goal . . . SS Columbia.

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Retracing my path, I had to pay respect to Edward M. Cotter, BFD and built in Elizabeth NJ.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has no time to embed links because he is headed for Cleveland.

 

SS Columbia and her resurrection . . . back in November 2011, when I took this photo in Detroit, I was not a believer.

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But a year ago, she was towed from Detroit to a Toledo graving dock for inspection and most urgent hull repairs.  The photo below and some of those that follow are used with permission from the SS Columbia project.

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This past summer she was refloated, and

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on September 1, Great Lakes tugs Michigan (1965)  and Nebraska (1929) arrived to tow her from Toledo to Buffalo.   Here’s 0820,

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0830, and

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departing the Maumee River by 1030.

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The next two photos were taken by Luke Wark . . .  late afternoon September on a very placid Lake Erie.  Now note what happens to the stack in the next few photos.

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David Torke captures the tow arriving off  Buffalo and

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up the canal to its new but temporary dock . . . .

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Many thanks to Ian Danic for permission to use these photos.  You can keep informed about the project through this website.

Click here for the article from Professional Mariner.

Thanks to Ken of Michigan Exposures . . .  her starboard.  You saw her portside back in November.  Might stuff happen with the Boblo boat such that some day we might all freely see her inside and out?

Unlike the case in saltwater vessels, Great Lakes ships like Herbert C. Jackson and M. V. Algolake tie up for the winter;  maintenance happens, but no cargo gets moved.  Re-opening of the Soo Locks is about three weeks away . . . March 25.

The sixth boro has been virtually snowless this winter;  not so, though, areas along the North Coast.  Alice E (1950)  hibernates in Benton Harbor.

Although rough as the Great Lakes can be, there was no ice on the St. Joseph pier when Ken took this foto.

Many thanks, Ken, for keeping us apprised of the season along that other coast.

This just in from Paul Welch . . . Mighty Servant 1, whom you saw here in several posts between December 12 and 19, has recently loaded Sevan Brasil off Shanghai bound for Rio.

Harold Tartell and Jan van der Doe were 100% correct in their identification of the white-striped red self-unloading vessel in Road Fotos 11.  It is the Arthur M. Anderson.  I didn’t get to see it close up, but through the magic of YouTube, it’s rubbing-or-scrapping distance here.  At about a minute into the video, you learn how the can be that close.

One of the joys of gallivanting is meeting new folks;  this was especially true here.  One person on this waterfront had a focus I recognized;  he carried a zoom camera and looked at the same things I did.  Seeing me take a foto of Arthur M. Anderson, he said its name (which I’d not been thinking of).  Then he added, “And farther down there, it’s American Integrity.”    Check out Ken’s blog here.  Here are some highlights of Ken’s blog:  American Century, the Westcott delivering mail to a passing vessel, Stephen B. Roman, a 1000-footer dwarfed by “big mac“, and check this one . . . the Huron Lightship . . . which I spotted from the Blue Water Bridge but couldn’t quite figure out.  When I have more time, I plan to digest Ken’s archives, now added to my blog roll.

Here are my shots of Westcott and Hogan.  I’d love this job although it has risk.

My zoom camera quit as this vessel approached, frustrating because I’d recognized the Algoma bear logo.  And I’d assumed it was a bulk carrier too, as I thought that was Algoma’s only business, but Algosar is a tanker.  See her history here.

Just south of the Ambassador Bridge, Dutch-flagged Moezelborg transfers cargo near the now-abandoned Boblo Island Detroit dock building.  Boblo lives on but only in the way that this whole list of defunct amusement parks does.  When Moezelborg left the international port of Detroit, she headed north, west, and south for the next international port of Chicago.

Here’s another shot of the two steamers that served Boblo Island, SS Columbia and SS Ste Claire.  I wanted to get better shots but even as I got this–along with my anonymous partner–we were threatened with arrest for trespassing, which I firmly believe we were NOT doing.  Here and here are more links for Ste Claire.  The second one is a video of a tour of Ste Claire, interesting video but unfortunate audio.

I hope to return to Detroit in August, and at that time, hope to arrange for a boat tour of the waterfront, possibly to get better shots of these vessels.

I have returned to the sixth boro, but part of my heart got left behind in Detroit, a place of both rust and new molten steel.

Here, fun but otherwise a propos of nothing except a post on the official end-of-hurricane-season, check out “bone in its teeth” blog.

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