Harbor Bay Took Name From Wreck
Schooner Grampus Went Ashore Under Fort in Fall of 1846
Speculation along the waterfront always has been rife as to the origin of the name of Grampus Bay, that cove lying west of the embankment of Fort Ontario, on the Oswego River. Actually, it is perhaps the oldest part of the harbor in use for it was a natural place of shelter from the winds and waves of Lake Ontario through the original bar at the river mouth. No ocean aquatic monster ever blew water skyward there but instead, the Bay took the name from a small Canadian schooner called the Grampus.
In the late autumn of 1846, a schooner in distress was seen 10 miles off the harbor, and a small steamer dispatched to her aid. She was the Grampus, laden with heavy timbers, and when taken into the harbor, was placed on the shipways of George S. Weeks and overhauled. Captain Young re-loaded his timber cargo, all heavy stuff, and moored his vessel to a west side river dock. Then, with evening coming on he went uptown to spend the hours until he could get away.
"A social evening" the newspapers of the time reported, but while wassail or whatnot prevailed so did old Boreas and a tremendous northwester rose during the night and the Grampus was swept across the river and high and dry on the shore beneath the for, with other ships that felt the fury of the blast.
The others were hauled off, but the Grampus was beyond salvage and the ship and her timber cargo remained for seven or eight years, until it became a matter of habit for Oswego water-front habitues to refer to the cove as Grampus Bay. And Grampus Bay it is 99 years after the little ship there took the ground.