The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), April 25, 1856

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p.2 Notes About Town - The Kingston Marine Railway and Ship-yard, situated at the upper end of Ontario Street, have frequently been noticed in commendable terms by a city contemporary in his annual "spring walk." Nevertheless they have contributed so much to the advancement of the shipping interest of this city, a passing glance may not be unacceptable to the readers of this journal. For several years past employment has been afforded to from one to two hundred men at this establishment, in ship-building and repairing, and vast sums of money have been expended in the purchase of timber and other material required in the business, causing a large circulation of money, chiefly among our own citizens. The facilities provided here for raising of vessels, of any tonnage, out of the water, for the purpose of caulking or the repair of injuries, and the superior skill of the mechanics employed in the various branches of ship-building, have attracted to these works a large amount of business from other ports, which assisted in no small degree to keep up its resources and character. Two schooners are now on the stocks, the one contracted for by Messrs. Sutherland and McDonald, of Cobourg, and the other, clipper built, will be for sale when completed. The elegant steamer Banshee has been on the ways all winter, undergoing an important alteration, with the view of strengthening that part of the hull where the engines and boiler are placed, under deck. It would occupy too much space to attempt a description of the manner by which this has been effected, and at the same time weary the reader without conveying a distinct idea of it. Suffice it that the Banshee is stiffer in the back bone than she was last year, and no depression or "hogging" need now be apprehended. The Banshee is commanded by Capt. Howard, and will, in a few days, take her place in the Royal Mail Line. Messrs. A. & D. Shaw's steamer, Corra Linn, and the propeller St. Lawrence are also on the ways, high and dry, undergoing repairs, being made by the usual process, water-tight. They, too, will soon be in readiness to take their places on their accustomed routes. Mr. James McGuire's schooner America has had her hull lengthened twenty feet, which, it is thought, will improve her sailing qualities, and increase her tonnage. The steamer Experiment looks in a woeful plight, being completely dismantled, but will be thoroughly renovated before she leaves the hands of the shipwrights. There is also on the stocks a dredging machine for the government, built on a plan patented by Messieurs Carmichael and Osgood, of Troy, N.Y. It is intended for some point down the river. The heavy work of the yard, such as drawing up vessels on the ways, hauling up timber and heavy planking to be sawed or dressed, etc., is performed by a steam engine of thirty horsepower, which also works the saws, propels machinery for planing boards, tongueing and grooving flooring, dressing ship knees, turning, etc. In the apartment where the planing and tongue and grooving machine are situated, in a convenient position is a bottomless box, or hopper, placed over a wooden cylinder, round which revolves an endless canvas broad band communicating with the engine room, into which is thrown the shavings and refuse, and conveyed thence to the engine-room, and used for fuel to generate steam.

The pattern room forms the principal part of an oblong two-storey stone building, the front wall of which is supported by square stone columns of mason work. The basement is used as a carpenter's shop, where the heavy work is usually done, especially in inclement weather. The pattern-room above is the depository of wooden shapes, or patterns, of the various parts of vessels, which are so conveniently disposed of as to admit of the room being used as one of our rifle companies for a drill-room. At the west end of this structure is the counting-room, where the manager of the whole concern, Mr. C.W. Jenkins, keeps the records of the multifarious financial and other business affairs in "black and white."

The blacksmith shop is situated remote from the combustible material spread over the yard, where all the iron work for vessels is done by a few hands. On the whole, there is no place in Upper Canada that has finished so many fine vessels for the different branches of Canadian commerce as this shipyard, and we sincerely trust, in spite of the adverse circumstances under which it has from time to time labored, it will continue to be the scene of industrial activity, and profitable enterprize.

Notes By A Traveller - The steamer Kingston left the Hon. John Hamilton's wharf with your correspondent and some sixty or seventy other passengers a little after 4 a.m., on Tuesday, and arrived at her wharf here a little after 5 p.m., thus accomplishing the first trip of the season in something over thirteen hours, including long stoppages at Cobourg, Port Hope and Port Darlington. The Kingston met with very little ice in the lake. The high winds of Saturday and Sunday had broken up the fields or driven them toward the south side of the lake, and with the exception of some collections near Kingston harbor, which had been pounded up pretty small, and some still more minute in the bay of Toronto, the good steamer did not come in contact with ice enough to scrape off a particle of paint from her white and glittering sides.

The Kingston will be the crack boat of the season, and it is quite certain that she could do the distance between Kingston and Toronto in 12 hours if the time of stopping at the intermediate stations was shortened. She is in beautiful order for running, and her captain, Mr. Clarke Hamilton, and her purser, Mr. Noel Kent, are evidently determined that the boat shall do no discredit to the city whose name she bears.

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April 25, 1856
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily News (Kingston, ON), April 25, 1856