The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), May 3, 1872

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Report Of The Committee Of The Board Of Trade To Improve Kingston Harbour

Kingston, May 2, 1872

In consequence of the extreme shallowness of the harbour this season, it is very desirable that some dredging should be done at as early a date as possible, in order to make it available for the proper safety of the large class of vessels that now trade to this port.

The present depths is inadequate to do so. In ordinary low seasons the depths near the wharves where the greater part of the transhipping is done is barely eleven feet, which is the draft vessels load to. Now it is fifteen to eighteen inches lower, and in the slips where mud and dirt have been accumulating for years it is shallower still.

It is in these slips that grain cargoes are transhipped to barges, and it is necessary to have still water, well protected from winds to do this work properly.

These slips are the property of private parties, and it is for the public good that they should be deepened. Although it is the interest of owners or occupants to have this done, they have not the facility to do so, unless the Government furnish the dredging facilities.

Opposite the Grand Trunk wharf there is a shallow part of the harbour that vessels frequently ground on.

It is also very desirable to remove the shoal near Point Frederick, if the nature of the bottom will admit of it.

Your committee recommend that the Government be petitioned to send a dredge to improve the depth of the harbour, and that private wharf owners be allowed the privilege of getting their slips deepened also at a reasonable rate.

Upon inquiry your committee have learned through Mr. Thomas Overend, a gentleman who has had much experience in building piers, that in his estimation a breakwater could be built a quarter of a mile long and about 26 feet deep, which assuming an average of water to be 20 feet, and 6 feet above surface, by 36 feet wide, at a cost of $40,000. Such a breakwater as this would be very useful to the harbour, if it commenced at Murney tower, from that point to shipyard the deepest water is found, but it is too much exposed to southerly winds to be made proper use of at present.

Your committee are of opinion that the Dominion Government ought to build this breakwater, and that they will do so, if its great necessity is properly brought under their notice.

On a chart of the harbour, kindly furnished your committee by the City Engineer, the following depths of water is indicated, say at a distance of 40 feet off the front of the following docks:

In front of Water Works dock 40 to 50 feet; on the shoal off United States' dock 12 to 15 feet; between Martello tower and Railway track 12 to 15 feet; off Atlantic wharf 14 to 17 feet; off Anglin's wharf 14 to 17 feet; along the upper side of Cataraqui Bridge 9 to 15 feet; on Point Frederick shoal 10 to 15 feet. The depth of water on each side of this shoal is represented at from 25 to 30 feet on south side, and from 13 to 19 feet on north side.

These soundings were undoubtedly taken at an ordinarily high stage of water, and actual soundings now would undoubtedly reveal from 1 1/2 to 2 feet less water.

L.N. Putnam,

James Richardson,

G.M. Kinghorn,

James Swift.

p.2 City Clock - dials facing water now lit by gas as a beacon for vessels; part or all of cost to be covered by Dept. of Marine & Fisheries.

Marine News

Shipping - There is little movement in the shipping today. The harbour has not been cleared of ice, and vessels entering and departing have to call into requisition the services of a steamer to tow them to and from the channel of unobstructed water along the Wolfe Island shore.

Messrs. Jones and Miller's wharf - The schr. Frank D. Barker left today for Chicago with 400 tons of iron. The schooners Eureka, Sibella and Marienette were unloaded yesterday; and the schooner Annie Minnis, homeward bound, arrived today.

Montreal Transportation Company's wharf - The schooner Heather Bell, from Toronto, with 8,142 bushels of wheat reached here this morning.

Messrs. Coulthurst and Macphie's wharf - Several craft are loading and unloading, but there have been no arrivals or departures since yesterday.

Messrs. James Swift and Company's wharf - The steamer Osprey and propeller Indian (which has completed a round trip to and from Hamilton) touched here yesterday, and thence proceeded to Montreal, both laden with a general cargo. The new propeller International passed down the St. Lawrence to Gananoque for wood.

Port Colborne, May 2nd - Up - Schrs. Dewolf, Oswego, Cleveland, salt; John F. Mott, do., Chicago, coal; Jas. Platt, do., Cleveland, salt; Undine, Hamilton, do., sheep skins; props Dalhousie, Port Dalhousie, Toledo, light; Argyle, St. Catharines, Toledo, light; steam barge Bella P. Cross, Ogdensburg, Saginaw, stone; schrs. M. Drayton, Buffalo, Toledo, light; Ariadne, Whitby, Cleveland, light; Queen of the Lakes, Toronto, Port Huron, light; Ontario of Montreal, Kingston, do., do.; H. Fitzhugh, Oswego, Milwaukee, coal; brig E. Cohen, Oswego, Toledo, light; schr. Lillie Parsons, Oswego, Chicago, railroad iron; bark Gan Burnsites (sic - Gen. Burnsides ?), Clayton, Detroit, light; schrs. Cuba, Oswego, Detroit; Union Jack, Corsaio, A. Ford. Down - Nothing, wind west, fresh.

The change of wind has blocked up the passage in the ice. Tugs have not been able to make another move yet. Some thirteen vessels are in sight in the ice. There is a large fleet in the harbour wind bound.

Sunk - A report was current this afternoon that the steamer St. Helen, in descending the Cascade Rapids yesterday, struck a rock and sunk. Her position in the current was such that it is feared she will be a loss.

Coteau Landing, May 3rd - The steamer St. Helen broke her rudder chain while running the Cedar Rapids yesterday afternoon and ran on a shoal. She is lying in a very bad position with seven feet of water in her hold aft. There were no passengers on board. Her cargo is safe.

Garden Island, May 3rd - The schooners Bermuda, Jennie Rumball and E.W. Rathbun, with staves from Hamilton, arrived today. They report large quantities of ice between the Main Ducks and here. The schooners Orion and Hercules are discharging today. Several loaded vessels for Garden Island are in sight, ice bound, some two or three miles west of here. A large number of vessels are at anchor waiting to get away. Dead calm, but looking very dirty.

A schooner is reported ashore at Northport. A tug will go to her assistance.

p.4 Captain Porte, formerly of the Greenway, which was burned last fall, has purchased another steamer. He has not yet decided upon the route which he will take this summer, but it is probable that she will make a daily trip from Picton.

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May 3, 1872
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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.
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Daily News (Kingston, ON), May 3, 1872