LIES 105 FEET DEEP
BUT AN ATTEMPT WILL BE MADE TO RAISE THE OLD OCONTO
Kingston, July 24. - One of the most difficult wrecking jobs ever undertaken in deep water on the lakes will be the contract the Donnelly Wrecking & Salvage Co. has taken to raise the steamer Oconto. The wreck lies in 105 feet of water opposite the Thousand Islands Park in the St. Lawrence river. At the time she was lost, the Oconto was laden with general merchandise. She struck a shoal and then slid off into the deepest part of the river. That was ten years ago and this is the first move to recover the steamer and cargo. The insurance was held by Smith, Davis & Co., of Buffalo, who have just awarded the contract to the Donnelly Co.
Chicago, July 24. - There have been several vessels raised from as great depths as the Oconto lies in and wreckers think the Canadians should have success. "The steamer F.E. Spinner was sunk in the St. Mary's river, in the Canadian channel," said Capt. J. J. Rardon, "and her stern was in 125 feet of water. The bow was somewhat higher. Two or three divers were paralyzed by working under the great pressures of the water, but they kep right on with the work and finally got the boat up in good shape. Then the Canadian steamer City of Collingwood, a passenger boat, went down off Cove island, in Georgian bay, in 110 feet of water. She was brought to the surface. The steamer Oneida was sunk in 75 feet of water in Alexandria bay, not far from where the Oconto lies, and the Armour, which went down in collision at Southeast Bend, in St. Clair river, was 75 feet from the surface.
"All of these successful wrecking jobs were in comparatively still water, where the divers had a good chance to work right along without interruption. The Lehigh Valley liner Cayuga, which was sunk by the J. L. Hurd off Skillagalee light, lies out in the open water. There are 105 feet of water there, and the wind and sea have a full sweep. This is responsible for much of the delay on the wreckers in getting any results from their labors."
The Donnelly Co. is an old concern and has done many good pieces of wrecking work. The founder of the firm, John Donnelly, died recently. His two sons, Thomas and John, have been the active managers of the business for some time and will continue it.
[NOTE: Of the successful salvages mentioned all were eventually lost: SPINNER sank off Alpena in 1922, CITY OF COLLINGWOOD burned at Collingwood in 1905, Oneida foundered off North East, PA, in 1893 and PHILIP D. ARMOUR foundered off Erie, PA, in 1915. The CAYUGA was never salvaged, despite a long and expensive effort by master wrecker Jim Reid. The OCONTO also remains on the bottom, having resisted a number of salvage attempts. In 1958 she was disturbed by St. Lawrence Seaway construction and slipped into deeper water.]