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November 2009 saw the USS New York (LPD-21) arrive in her namesake city for christening commissioning. Just faintly, the name is visible on the stern.

I also went up to the Lyons NY dry dock in November 2009 and caught Urger, then in seasonal layup. Five years were to go by before I did my season on this Barge Canal tugboat.  May she return!

Firefighter was still working in the sixth boro.

Stephen was working then too, and she’s still working today.

Cape Ann’s Essex Creek is hardly the sixth boro, but you can get there from here . . . . and Essex MA is one of my favorite places, although –truth be told–I’ve been there only once since 2009.

Some miles north of Essex Creek is the Piscataqua River, and back then these were the horses in Moran’s stable on Ceres Street:  Carly A. Turecamo, Mary M. Coppedge, and Eugenia Moran.  Carly‘s now in Maine with Winslow, Eugenia is maybe laid up, and Mary M. is still working there . . . but again I’ve not been there in almost two years.

And finally . . .  she who need not be named alongside a dock in Philly.

Any since we’re on the retired undefeated speed champion, let’s zoom in on the “crow’s nest” in these next two photos . . .

Not my photo although I felt like talent that day . . .   Here and here are more photos from that day, in 2014.

This last photo is by Chris Ware.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

 

Let’s go back to September 2009.  CMA CGM Marlin, launched 2007,  was the standard size back then . . .  The 5092-teu vessel has since been scrapped, after only nine years of service!!

Over a dozen sailing barges came to NYC to sail in New York waters in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Half Moon arriving here all those years ago.  Here are more posts from back then. Groenevecht, below, is a 2000-built replica of a lemsteraak.

Also in town to celebrate were Onrust and HNLMS Tromp. Here’s more on Tromp.

Old and new came.  On one end of the spectrum was Day Peck, 

her great hold still waiting to be transformed into museum.

Urger still operated, here sidling up to Lehigh Valley 79.

A different Rosemary McAllister worked here.

Irish Sea (1969) was still at work.

Yessir, stuff changes.  All photos in September 2009 by Will Van Dorp.

 

If you’re new to the blog, I’ve done lots of blog posts on a NYS Canals tug called Urger.

For the past 5+ years, I’ve freelanced for a great publication called ProfessionalMariner, and this month have my first cover story.  I didn’t know my photo was on the cover until it came out!!  You can read my Urger article here.

Another piece of Urger news I have not reported elsewhere is below.  At the 2018 Waterford Tugboat Roundup, the 1901 built tug was voted “People’s Choice Favorite Tugboat,” winner of a dark horse write in campaign!  Below is the trophy.  Too bad the trophy has no boat to display it in for the public to see.

Now for big news on the political though primarily ceremonial end of things, Assembly member John McDonald III, District 108, has sponsored a bill to designate Urger as “official tugboat of the State of New York.  Read it here.

You can leave a note of thanks and support for Assembly member McDonald here.  If you vote in NYS and want to leave a note for your own rep to encourage him or her to join with McDonald in supporting this bill, you can start the connection here.

You can also write the Preservation League of New York and encourage them to continue their efforts to save this boat as a moving, floating ambassador from our state’s history.  Click here for more on their efforts.

And here’s yet another idea . . .   a 1/12 expired Urger fundraiser calendar. 

And finally, consider attending the Canal Society of New York Winter Symposium in Rochester NY on March 2.  I’ll be there.   Urger will surely come up.

And SCOW (State Council on Waterways) . . .  too bad you’ve dissolved!  There’s a reference of their Urger role at the end of this post. 

Here’s a calendar fundraiser you might consider.

It’s a fundraiser to benefit efforts to save Urger as a boat afloat:  “Update on our Urger campaign – we are talking to the New York Power Authority and waiting on a response from them on a few things. Everything is in a holding pattern right now for the winter, while the Urger is in Waterford. NYPA is commissioning an update to the 2014 Urger condition report. We asked for but have not seen (nor do I anticipate seeing) the scope of services for that report. I know they have taken metal samples, which is to be expected.

We’re working with Assemblyman John McDonald, who will introduce legislation to make the Urger the NYS Tug once session begins. We’re waiting for the final 2019 committee lists to come out before approaching someone in the Senate.

We’ve already spent several thousand dollars on the Urger campaign. Any funds raised (THANK YOU!) would go towards making us whole for those costs, as well as future expenses. It’s somewhat of a waiting game right now, but we may want to push NYPA to allow for a second opinion on the condition report, which would be pretty expensive and require its own fundraising effort. ”

Click here to see the interior pages and make your order.

Thanks to Jeff and the Preservation League.

 

And let’s start with the more . . . more photos and info on previous posts.    CCGS Samuel Risley appeared here.  She’s currently approaching the Soo.  What I didn’t know when I posted a photo of her on Lake Ontario is that she was returning from her first trip to Greenland (!!), where she was providing icebreaking support for a supply mission to Qaanaaq aka Thule.

Madison R–and I’ll do a whole post about her soon–now calls Detroit her base, I’m told.

Summer fog veils a Canadian cat and an Erie Canal buoy boat above E11.

How many folks pass by Day Peckinpaugh each summer and have no clue what she is (ILI 101… launched in May 1921!!), how long her work history  (1921–1995) has been, how wide a range of waters  (Duluth to Havana, I’m told) she covered, where her sister  (ILI 105) languishes . . . . .

She gets attention.

Here’s the blue-and-gold yard above E3!!

Yup that’s Urger among them.  And yes, the pause button on scuttling has been activated.

In the legends of Ford, a sign once marked this power plant adjacent to the Federal Lock in Troy as a Ford facility.   Could this have become the location of Ford’s imagined electric car plant?

And this brings us to Troy, these walls where construction workers have staged their equipment.

Scaffold, ladders, floats, and Jackcyn

 

 

and Lisa Ann.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’s been working his way back to the sixth boro from the heartland.

If you’re local and would like to learn more about the New York State Canals, consider joining the Canal Society and coming to their fall conference . . .  on Staten Island.  I’ll be involved in two events . . .

 

The photo below may seem an unlikely choice on tugster, especially as lead photo.  I post it here because this is where Urger in 1901 was designed, built, and launched at 300 Pine, on a finger of the Grand River and not far from Dornbos Island.  I mention that because Urger was initially called Henry J. Dornbos.

Another odd photo lies below, until you recall some posts almost two years ago . . . Mariners to Muskegon.  Here behind the chainlink,  Colleen and Katie G await matched barges.

Trieste used to be called Vegsund.

I was fooled here:  although the stern looked bald, I thought it was a laker

but wondered why the bridge windows were covered.

I was making no sense of the lines near the stern, until I remembered that this “laker” was a barge.  No stack existed because the power plant was removed and turned into a notch.  Her matched tug is Invincible;  see them paired in this post (and scroll). 

Sarah-B is a 1953 Roamer built tug, that went from USACE to a museum and back into service.

Is this a one-off?

And finally, I took a tour of this 1904 car ferry, now called Milwaukee Clipper, named like the PanAm flying boats. 

For the first decades of her existence, the Clipper was SS Juniata.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who needed to get back on the boat and continue the loop.

DeWitt Clinton was built in the 1920s, delivered before the crash. She came out of a shipyard in East Boothbay, I’m told, but I can find no record of this.   Here she was in Lockport in early October 2014.

Here is a view from the wheelhouse, and

another from a slightly different vantage point. That’s tug Urger (1901) on the wall up ahead.

Fast forward to this year, here’s one of the latest additions to the Canal tug fleet, and

here’s the view from the wheelhouse.  And yes . . . again, that’s tug Urger on the wall ahead. this time in Fonda NY, where she may or may not be today.

How about some more pics of Dewitt Clinton, all from October 2014.

Here she rounds a bend on the western Canal.

And since we’ve seen Urger from Dewitt, how about ending with Dewitt as seen from Urger.

Photos 4 and 5 by Jake van Reenen;  the others by Will Van Dorp.

 

It thrills me that use of fireworks to celebrate our Independence dates to this note by John Adams to his wife Abigail:  ” … the occasion should be commemorated ‘with Pomp and Parade, with [Shows], Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.’ ”  The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777; they were all orange.

My best shots of boats and “illuminations” were here in September 2014, and

even better here in July 2012.

Since I quote Adams, here’s an engraving of him, Franklin and Admiral Lord Richard Howe meeting at the Conference House on Staten Island in September 1776. The house was built in 1680, and Christopher Billop, the resident at the time of the Revolution, was a Loyalist who fled to Canada after he was captured and imprisoned in 1779.

But I digress, thanks to Adams, we use fireworks to celebrate today.

Photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.  Engraving by Alonzo Chappel. 

 

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.

. . . 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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