You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Urger’ tag.

Urger got some love yesterday, and tugster was there to document it.

Wait . . . is that Urger?

No . . . that’s tug Seneca

and there is the Capt. Wunder getting some visitation in and 

telling stories about the days he was her captain, but

“there’s more,” he said. 

The older step-sister is here too. 

The tugs were a place of pilgrimage.

Recall they are now seldom-seen but certainly not forgotten. 

Want to make a poster?  Write my email and ask for a full-size version of this image.  Once you get it, send it far and wide to enthusiasts who lament her isolation as well as enthusiasts who can take her out of isolation.  

All May 9, 2022 photos taken by WVD with arrangements by the Canal Society of NYS.  Please share this post far and wide to the family of Urger and Seneca fans. 

 

 

Here’s a history-packed and very detailed photo.  In the foreground you see James K. Averill and Amsterdam.  In the next row back, that’s Urger behind Averill and a boat I can’t identify [name board just to the right of Averill’s stack shows a name that ends in –le No 1 ] behind Amsterdam. Also, in the foreground, there’s good detail of the ratchet and chain system to open the bottom-dumping doors of the scow.

Averill, 50′ x 14′ x 4.5′, was a wooden-hulled tug built in 1912.  It worked for a D. G. Roberts of Champlain NY until 1925.  Champlain is a town on the NY/QC border.  Her original power may have been a 200 hp coal-burning 1905 Skinner & Arnold steam engine. and a Murphy Donnely Co. boiler.  She was repowered and given new superstructure in 1930, but I don’t know what the new power or the previous superstructure were.  Notations on her info card says her coal storage capacity was seven tons and she burned on average a half ton of coal per eight-hour day. 

This dry dock photo shows a “cutaway” of her frames and stringers.

Initially, I looked at this photo and assumed Averill had experienced a catastrophic fire, but with her all-wood structure, a fire would likely not have gone out before entirely consuming the vessel.

Another look at Averill, here off the stern of Tender #3, 

says to me that this was the dismantling of Averill, which happened some time after October 1960.

 

All photos used thanks to the Canal Society of New York.  The top photo above appears in Enterprising Waters, by Brad Utter.

 

 

It appears this tug and derrick barge are working over by the power house at the Vischer Ferry 2000′ twice-bent Dam opposite lock E-7.  This is the dam where Margot and Watermaster have broken up ice jams the past few winters.

Here’s a closer up and 

an even closer up, confirming that it’s Canal tug Amsterdam and Derrick Barge (DB) 8.  And sorry . . .  this is a call for group sourcing.  Many thanks to Canal Society president Craig Williams, who started filling in details as follows:  “Amsterdam… was B. B. Odell Jr., built in Schenectady in 1901 (50.4′ x12.4′ x5.9′).  In the Department of Public Works report for 1945 (1946) Amsterdam is described as having been built, along with the Averill, ‘for the old Erie Canal, [and is] no longer efficient to operate and [having] deteriorated to the point it is no longer feasible to operate them.’ ”  A post on Averill is in the works.

Urger, on the other hand and shown here as a steam vessel and with a different superstructure configuration, has appeared on this blog many times and will appear some more next month, or so is the plan.  Urger was converted from steam to diesel in 1948.  

I can’t be certain, but Urger here appears to already be dieselized in the next photos. 

Below is a closer -up of the photo above showing the jackstaff on the bow topped with a wind direction indicator.

 

Here are two more tugs we might find more about. . . . the story of Queen City is [again from Craig] “very complicated.  In 1946 it was reported as ‘so weak it will no longer hold patches’ yet they overhaul its engine in 1948 (for use on another boat?).  It is replaced in the early 1950s by one of the 1950s tugs [of the] Pittsford, Lockport... [class]. Merchant Vessels for 1926 says that the Queen City was built in Buffalo in 1906.  The State reported that year that they had rebuilt the tug, completely replanking the hull, new decks and pilot house, and the boiler and engine ‘thoroughly repaired’  Was it then probably considered a new tug?

The Merchant Vessels for 1902 credits NYS with a Queen City, nearly the same dimensions as having been built in Poughkeepsie in 1889.  Curiously, the State Superintendent of Public Works describes painting the Queen City in 1881.  There is a 1879 Lockport newspaper article that mentions the State hiring the tug Queen City to help tow boats at Lockport.”  Maybe a name like Queen City gets recycled?”

As to Flower City, “According to Merchant Vessels it was built in Buffalo in 1909 though it doesn’t show up in the State’s annual reports until a note for 1912 that it worked throughout the season (sort of implying something new).  It was condemned in 1937, replaced by a State Department of Corrections tug Refuge.  Don’t know if it was dismantled at that time.”  Actually, I’d love to learn more about tugs operated by the State Department of Corrections.

All photos used thanks to the Canal Society of New York.  Many thanks to Craig Williams for filling in detail for these government boats.

 

This is a Carlotta in 1921.  I’m curious about the large structure on the after deck.  Is that cargo being carried?

Here’s a Carlotta 13 months later, looking the same except that large stern structure is missing.  The 1913 MVUS shows a steam tug Carlotta 56′ x 13′ x 5′ built in Boston in 1879, but registered in Buffalo as of that date. 

Aimed at canal passersby, this billboard

was located in Little Falls, most likely above lock E-17.  Steam tug George E. Lattimer was built in 1899, 59′ x 16′ x 7′ in Buffalo.

This view of lock E-17 shows a formidable structure, especially without trees on Moss Island.

I had to throw this photo in.  I took it in October 2014 of the 1901 formerly steam-powered  73′ x 15′ x 9′ fish tug Urger at the same location slightly different angle, showing a tree-covered Moss Island and virtually no windows in the powerhouse to the right of the guillotine lock door. 

Jumping back nearly a century, with lots of steam and drama, Geo. E. departs the lock and the rockpile that was Moss Island back then. 

Steamer Merchant tows a string of barges round a bend, which I believe is somewhere west of Brockport. 

From Roger N. Benson:  “A third-class wood steamer Lily was built in 1882, hailed from Buffalo NY.  Lily was 103′ x 22′ x 9′. She was registered for the Barge Canal on May 13, 1922.” Those dimensions make her a fairly large tugboat for the Barge Canal. 

The rails would likely have come from the Lackawanna Steel Plant, which that same year was acquired by Bethlehem Steel.   The area of the plant is currently the site of a wind farm called Steel Winds.

Here an eastbound Lily approaches lock E-11.  Interestingly, since the caption says the covered automobiles are Maxwells, they would be coming from one of the Midwestern plants, obviously not the original Tarrytown NY plant. Maxwell was declining at the time and as of 1922 would just have been taken over by Walter P. Chrysler, before he created the Chrysler Corporation.

I have to end with this photo I took in October 2014;  it’s the same photo of Urger as above, just with the golden morning light color restored.

Thanks to the Canal Society of New York for use of these photos;  the two versions of the Urger photo, WVD.

When this tow came off Oneida Lake headed west, 

I wondered how many folks would interpret this incorrectly, that this was a tow and not a push.

Ditto . . . heading into lock E-23.

 

Of course, regular readers of this blog know precisely what is going on. After a long hiatus at the dry dock in Waterford, Urger has been pushed across the state to the dry dock in Lysander to be hauled out and mothballed, maybe and hopefully to be revived when the time is right, like a cicada or a future astronaut traveling light years in suspended animation . . . .

For more people than not in the “canal corridor” of New York State, Urger is without doubt that best known tugboat, the only one that thousands of New Yorkers have set foot on . . . . 

Who is that unmasked fellow with a t-shirt that reads “tug boating is a contact sport”?

I have it on the best authority that exactly five years ago yesterday, he was in the Urger wheelhouse piloting the now nameless vessel through this very same lock, very much mechanically alive.

 

All photos yesterday, WVD, who offers this post as contribution to #URGERjourney.

Edna A has appeared on this blog by that name;  it was also here as HR Hawk

My goal was familiarization, not veni vidi vici, or exploration of the 2300+ miles of river crossing parts of seven states, beginning in SW Montana.

Barge traffic is possible there now because of the work of the USACE.  More on that in a later post.

Here was my top-priority destination:  the current northernmost aka upriver port.  more on that later too. 

The above port is 50 miles north of Omaha and on the Iowa side.  So is Omaha connected to salt water . . .  indeed.

There’s a story here and here. . .  about a beaver and a business opportunity.

Now in the sixth boro, boats like the one above never worked, not so on the Missouri.  If you’ve ever following the Missouri and see a sign about the “steamboat exhibit” at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, by all means, check it out. 

 

250,000 artifacts including 1860s steam technology have been excavated, cleaned/preserved, and nicely displayed.

It turns out there’s another steamboat wreck exhibit in Kansas City, which I took no time to check out, but I will next trip. Of note, both Bertrand and Arabia were built along the Ohio river, far to the east.

As to the question of current commercial activity north of Kansas City . . . it’s there.

If you’ve never read River Horse, a boat trip from the sixth boro’s Elizabeth NJ to Astoria OR, check it out.  I’m eager to re-read Moon’s account of his navigation of his boat through this geography.  Recently, I re-read his account of transiting the Erie Canal and encountering tug Urger and its erstwhile captain Meyer.

By the way, Urger will be featured in tomorrow’s post.

All photos, observations, WVD, who is back east of the Mississippi and catching up.

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve not been to the Great North River Tugboat Race since 2014, but in normal times, September 5 would see the next race.  But we’ve dispensed with the “normal times” concept for the time being.

In selecting the batch for this post, I wanted splash, froth, bubbles, and the effervescence the river can react with when tons of steel and thousands of horsepower push through the ever changing water.   The next two photos are from that 2014 race. 

It was overcast during the race, but an hour or so later, when pushing contests were happening and

the wakes flattened out and we sized up USAV MGen. Anthony Wayne, patches of blue appeared.  I should leave you in suspense about how this push went.  Let me put it this way;  they left town not long after the push-off.

2013 was an equally overcast day, and again, not to identify every tugboat in that lineup, it appears that W. O. Decker has either jumped the gun or activated its jet drive and will soon rise up out of the Hudson on her hydrofoil assists. I’d guess the latter.

See what I told you . . . Decker has gone so far ahead that it’s already over the horizon.

Second lap maybe for Decker?

It’s starting to appear that in 2012, as in ’13 and ’14, it was overcast.

It was great to see Buchanan 12, usually burdened with a half dozen stone barges, disencumbered and frothing up the river.  That’s the 1907 Pegasus back there too.

In 2011, I was able to get a photo of the racing craft along with sky spray by one of the fireboats present, likely 343.  What’s remarkable comparing the photo above with the one below is the color of the water;  hurricane Irene had dropped a lot of rain upstate and all the tributaries sent that into the Hudson with tribute in the form of silt.

Quantico Creek and Maurania III did an excellent job of stirring up the water.

But again, it was overcast and hazy over silty water.

However, in 2010, we had blue skies that really accentuated the DonJon boats like Cheyenne and

the harbor colossus, Atlantic Salvor.

In 2009, there were wispy clouds, allowing the “queen of the day” to be Ellen McAllister. But look who else showed up!!!!

Urger.   Urger would EASILY have won the race, but she was doing what she does best . . .  urging all the other boats and crews to be fleeter than she, holding herself back, allowed herself to be that day.

All photos and commentary, WVD. See you at the races in 2022.

 

 

I just happened to look at the August 2014 section of the archive, and this was the engine room at that time of the living, breathing tugboat Urger.

The top photo shows the Atlas-Imperial fore-to-aft along the portside, and below, it’s the opposite . . .  starboard side aft-to-fore.

Below is that same view as above, except with a tighter frame on the top of the engine.  On my YouTube channel here,   are several videos of this engine running and Urger underway. 

Below from early September 2015 are three NYS Canals boats, l to r, Tender #3, Gov. Cleveland, and Urger. . . .  all old and in jeopardy.

At that same 2015 Tugboat Roundup that precipitated the photo above, notice the juxtaposition of old and new:  passing in front of the 1914 Lehigh Valley 79 is

Solar Sal, which a month later would earn distinction as the first solar vessel to transit the canal from Buffalo to the Hudson with four tons of cargo, as a demonstration of its potential. Solar Sal‘s builder was David Borton, whose website has all the info on his designs for marine solar power.

A story I’d missed until looking something else up yesterday was David Borton’s 2021 adventure, sailing on solar in Alaskan waters.

And that brings this zig-zag post to another story linking the Canal and Alaska. 

Last August Pilgrim made its way through New York State to the Great Lakes and eventually overwintered in Duluth. I took photos above and below on August 1, 2020.

Earlier this summer, Pilgrim was loaded on a gooseneck trailer

so that it could transit the continent

along the Interstates to the Salish Sea.   As of last week they’d made Ketchikan, and their next stop will be Kodiak Island.  Eventually they clear customs and their next stop will be Russia.

All photos except the last three, WVD.  Pilgrim photos attributed to Sergey Sinelnik.

The Waterfront Museum in Lehigh Valley 79 is now home to a high-res livestream harbor cam aimed from Red Hook;  check it out here.

 

 

Happy 120 years old, Urger!  I urge you  to read the note at the bottom of this post.

And . . . .Oops!  I read the timer wrong. Bidding for Grouper, in Lyons NY,  ends about six hours from now. 

Lyons is a county seat, but it’s possible to take a photo of lock E-27, right in the town,  such that it appears to be rural.  A row of buildings to the right separates the canal here from a major street, Water Street;  to the left, there’s a strip mall along NY-31.

Lyons is the home of Muralmania, and it shows;  this was one of two murals just west of lock E-27.  The next lock, E-28A, is about a mile away.

Just before getting to lock E-28A, you see the section workshop buildings.

That’s Route 31 paralleling the canal.

At the top of the lock chamber, you have a great view over into the Lyons Dry dock.  Whatever is in the dry dock during the navigation season is surplus, in need of repair, or beyond repair.  Grouper is there, its rusty stack with its yellow ring visible in the foreground.

Staged and waiting for deployment are a set of tugboats, dredges, and a quarters barge aka “floating lodging,” like the one being auctioned off with bidding ending late this afternoon.  To repeat, I’d misreported closing of bidding in an earlier post, but today it ends.

We negotiate another low rail bridge before coming up to lock E-28B, about 4 miles to the west of E-28A.

 

In the port of Newark, I catch up to Sweet Love, a small trawler I caught at the Narrows last August.  The lovely storefronts in the village disappeared thanks to the misguided efforts in the 1960s called “urban renewal.”

West of Newark at Wide Waters is the hamlet of Port Gibson, Ontario County’s only port along the Erie Canal.  During the 19th-century iteration of the canal, this was a port.

The bridge here has just been refurbished.

From there, the canal narrows as we head west.  The rain started falling as well. 

 

 

We had miles and locks to go, but we called the trip “over” when we got to the Port of Palmyra, because of a breach in a spillway ahead. 

All photos, WVD.

Sign the card here to celebrate Urger‘s 120 years.  Its future too is threatened.

In six days, the gates along the NYS Canal system will be staffed and lifting/lowering vessels across the state.  This is the third in a series of posts about the vessels that have worked to keep the canals functioning. 

Not all these vessels, like Wards Island below, remain;  it’s now over 50′ under surface of salt water on Hempstead Reef, scuttled.  The bow of the tug here, Syracuse, does continue to work as she approaches her 90th birthday.

Below you see the 88-year-old tugboat Syracuse towing a group of canal vessels late in the season back in 2014.

Tender #1, along with most of the other tenders, are now in their 10th decade.

Ditto #9.

Curvaceous boats are out, and state-of-the-art boxy ones are in. 

Boats like Waterford approach their eighth decade. 

Grand Erie and Urger, both inactive, have been featured here many times.

And boxy, mostly nameless replacements have replaced them.

Urger here exits the lower side of Lock 17 in Little Falls as the sun illuminates the chamber.

All photos, WVD, who salutes the crews who operate these boats, even the finicky old ones.  If you’re sailing the canal this summer and see these boats and crews, give a wave but also give them wide berth, as they diligently work to keep the waterway open.

Of course, if you need a guide, check out my virtual tours based on my boat transits and my one bike trip.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,540 other followers

If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Documentary “Graves of Arthur Kill” is currently available only through tugster

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Archives

May 2022
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031