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You may recall previous posts here and here about these machines called “alligators” or warping tugs, flat bellied vessels used in timbering a century ago that could pull themselves across short stretches of land between bodies of water.    These photos were sent to me by Steven Smith who owns a camp near where the photos of wreckage in the second link above were taken.  The images that follow likely show that same tug in its prime.  Steve writes that in the early 1920s, the tug was “shipped on a flatbed railroad car to the RR station at Bemis, Maine, next to Mooselucmeguntic lake – it steamed over to Upper Dam, over the carry to Richardson Lake then to Middle Dam and then down the Carry road to its home on Pond in the River all under its own power .”  Notice the name Roebling on the spool of cable.  Alligator worked on the lakes from 1923 until about 1953.




In this close-up, notice the levers and U-joints employed to raise the props and shafts during land transits.


The next two photos below show while the Alligator was in transit from the Bemis RR station to Pond in the River:  two lakes and two transits on dry land to get to Pond in the River



Thanks much to Steve Smith for sending along these photos.  Credit for the top four photos goes to Brown Company Collection, Michael Spinelli, Jr. Center for University Archives and Special Collections, Herber H. Lamson library and Learning Commons, Plymouth State University, and that’s in Plymouth, NH.

And the timing . . . check out this story about the annual celebration of alligators  below NYC . .  maybe connecting the various parts of the sixth boro.

Two years ago, I learned about these tugs while north of the border here.   Many thanks to Paul Fehling for today’s fotos of alligator tug remains.  He took the fotos while canoeing recently in western Maine.    My reference book called Alligators of the North makes me believe these could be this could be what’s left of a 1923 warping tug called Alligator shipped from Simcoe Ontario to Portland Maine.

These ruins raise questions like . . .  are there fotos of Alligator intact and

how did it ship from Lake Erie to here?

When was it last operational?

It lies downstream from Umbagog Lake near the New Hampshire/Maine border, not far from the town of Errol, where I haven’t been in over 20 years.

Many thanks to Paul Fehling.

For some coastal Maine delights, click here for Sally W reports from Camden.

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August 2022