The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 30, 1873

Full Text

p.2 The Harbour

We are of opinion that the News is fairly entitled to a large share of the credit in calling persistent attention to the state of the harbour, admittedly one of the best and finest on the lakes. True, there is much to be done to provide for the larger class of propellers which the enlargement of the Welland Canal will assuredly bring down upon us; but it is gratifying to know that there is room and to spare for any increase in the number or size of vessels which may call at this port to tranship their cargoes, or for any other purpose. It is unnecessary to refer to the occasions, recent or remote, upon which attention has been called in our columns to the necessity of improvements in the harbour. It is of more importance to keep pace with the growing anxiety of the citizens for correct and reliable information concerning its wants and imperfections and their remedy. As to the first, we may say that for some weeks in the fall, when time is more precious to forwarders and shippers (and to other people too,) the southwest wind has a nasty habit of blowing in from the lake and raising "Old Harry" about the wharves in the west end of the city, and preventing the forwarders from making their shekels or following their lawful calling, and this has elicited a cry from property holders in that section for everyone to go to their help and raise a breakwater, which would enable them to pursue their avocations at all seasons and in all weathers. Another drawback to the perfection of the harbour is the existence of two or three large shoals which, at low water, are not unattended with danger, and upon which several gallant vessels have come to grief. As to the remedy for this state of affairs public opinion is, as may be expected, very much divided. Property holders in the west end of the city cry out loudly for a breakwater to be constructed (not at their own expense), running out from the Murney Tower, for - say 800 feet; per contra it is said that nearly all the captains trading to the city have signed a declaration that such an erection would be an obstruction to the harbour. Last year, the Board of Trade and City Council sent a joint deputation to the Government at Ottawa for aid, but the members of the deputation were not agreed among themselves - one portion desiring a breakwater, which the other portion abhorred. The Government made a grant of $10,000, and sent up a dredge to dredge the harbour, which expended $4,000 of the grant, without, it is said any great compensating benefit - save the dredging of the Montreal Transportation Company's wharf. This season, although the water is higher, the question has again been renewed, and Mr. Kingsford, an experienced engineer, has been sent up to examine and report to the Government upon the state of the harbour. The committee on wharves and harbour thought that they would make an examination upon their own hook, and having invited the representatives of the Press to accompany them, we had yesterday the pleasure of doing so. There were Ald. Allan, chairman of the committee, also Aldermen Harty, McIntyre, Robinson and Sullivan, Mr. Smith, Harbour Master, etc. The Mayor had been invited and had promised to attend, but after waiting an hour, we were compelled to put off without him, much to our regret. We fully expected that the proprietors of such a magnificent estuary as the port of Kingston would have been provided with a handsome steam-barge, elegantly fitted up and provided with all those accommodations which go to make such a trip enjoyable, but were mistaken; any little extras of the City Fathers have not been given out in that direction, and so we were all compelled to huddle together in one of John Wall's boats at 25 cents an hour. Alderman Allan, as the Commander-in-Chief, occupied a prominent position with the Harbour Master in the bows, looking out for break-waters and for squalls. Alderman Harty very generously took the helm, and, supported by Aldermen Sullivan and McIntyre, steered the vessel of municipal state through the rocks and dangers by which we were (figuratively) surrounded and brought her safely into port. Our first course was towards the great shoal lying off Mr. Carruthers' wharf, and extending from William to Gore streets, here the Harbour Master dipped his divining rod several times all around the shoal and recorded the water on it at several points to be 13 ft., 13 ft 6 in.; 13 ft. 6 in.; 13 ft. 9 in.; 13 ft.; 12 ft.; 14 ft., 6 in., the shallowest part being 11 ft. From this point we proceeded westwards to a point opposite Murney Tower, and about 800 feet from that spot, the site for the proposed breakwater, and where the water is said to be 70 feet deep. After a short rest and tasting the water, we crossed the harbour to Point Frederick, where we landed and obtained a magnificent view of the harbour and city. The Commodore was so delighted with the prospect that he called for a poet to celebrate in glowing terms the beauty of the scene, but nary a poet was there, and so, after taking another look, we departed for a visit to another shoal opposite the city hall. This we circumnavigated, and found the depth of water on it to be 14 ft., 13 ft., 12 ft.6 in., 12 ft., 12 ft., 12 ft. 6 in., 13 ft., 11 1/2 ft., and the shallowest place in the centre 11 ft. Having satisfied ourselves here, we resolved on going above the bridge. There, it may be observed, is a large section of the harbour, rarely used, owing no doubt to the obstruction caused by the Cataraqui Bridge. We sounded several portions of the water here, and found it 12 1/2 ft., 12 ft. 3 in., 12 ft., 10 ft., 9 ft. 6 in., 9 ft., 11 ft., 12 ft., 13 ft. 6 in., and 14 ft. 6 in., in addition to some feet of mud which could easily be dredged out. We paid a visit to Belle Island, and examined it thoroughly, and saw how easily a bridge could be thrown across to the Pittsburgh shore, while on the west side the marsh has almost filled up the intervening space between the island and the Grand Trunk Depot. We were informed that the city limit ran a little beyond the island on a straight line from the Grand Trunk Depot easterly to high water mark opposite the Pittsburgh shore. We think it should be continued on until it would reach the St. Lawrence and embrace the village of Barriefield and intermediate land within the city limits, that it will do so sooner or later is certain - in fact, it is a mere question of time. The members of the committee and visitors conversed freely on the subject of the application by Messrs. Calvin & Breck, a year ago, for a lease of the shoal in front of the City Hall to erect an elevator upon, and the opinion was unanimously expressed that it was a great mistake to refuse the request. The space on each side of the shoal is so great that it would accommodate all the traffic that will ever be required, and the erection of the elevator would cause a great deal of business to be done in the harbour and the city, which is now done at Garden Island. We are confident that if the application were renewed it would be much more favourably entertained than on the previous occasion. The party disembarked at 8 o'clock, after having been four hours under a scorching sun labouring pro bono publico.

Marine News

Jones & Miller's wharf - The schr. Mary, from Toledo, 14,400 bush. wheat; barge America, 300 tons salt, from Montreal. The schr. E. Blake left with 300 tons salt for Chicago; barge Minnie, for Montreal, with 14,000 bush. wheat and deck load of staves, and barge Cato with 90,000 staves.

Coulthurst & McPhie's wharf - The prop. Calabria, Port Dalhousie, 19,963 bush. corn; H.P. Miurm ?, Sandusky, 10,000 bushels of corn.

Montreal Transportation Company's wharf - Arrived: Lady Dufferin, Chicago, 21,350 bush. corn; Geo. W. Davis, Chicago, 21,497 bush. wheat; Thos. Parsons, Chicago, 22,571 bush. wheat; Julia Willard, Toledo, 13,948 bush. corn; Forest Queen, Toledo, 9,000 bush. corn; Pandora, Toledo, 19,700 bush. corn; E.W. Rathbun, Port Dalhousie, 10,585 bush. corn; Smith & Post, Toledo, 14,141 bushels corn; Itasca, Chicago, 23,000 bush. wheat; tug Elfin with 5 barges, light. Cleared: tug Elfin with barges Friend, 7,500 bush. wheat; Fortitude, 10,966 bush. wheat; Cleveland, 19,706 bush. wheat; Corn Crib, 18,650 bush. wheat; Glengarry, 15,975 bush. wheat; Wheat Bin, 19,500 bush. wheat.

James Swift and Co.'s wharf - The steamers Picton, Athenian and Passport passed up; and Corinthian and Abyssinian down.

Holcomb & Stewart's wharf - The schr. Sybilla, Toronto, 9,200 bush. wheat.

Port Colborne, Aug. 29th - Down: Tug Gardner, to Ogdensburg, barges Johnson, do., do., coal; Argo, do., do., do.; schrs. U.L. Collins, Milwaukee, Kingston, wheat; White Oak, Bay City, do., staves; prop. Columbia, Chicago, Montreal, gen. cargo; schrs. Fellow Craft, Cleveland, Welland, coal; G.B. Drawbridge, Chicago, Kingston, wheat; Wacousta, Cleveland, Toronto, coal; W.F. Greenwood, do., do., do.; Dominion, do., Kingston, coal.

Up: Steam-barge Westford, schr. Mary Merritt, Ironsides, Heather, prop. City of New York, Maine, Empire, L. Shickluna, schrs. Dauntless, Sweepstakes, Cavalier, Mary Grover, F. Perry, L. Seaton.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
Aug. 30, 1873
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 30, 1873