The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Barge No. 81 (Barge), 4 Feb 1897

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Tooting of steam whistles and the clanging of innumerable bells characterized the launching of the mammoth oil tank barge built for the Standard Oil Company, at the yards of the Union Dry Dock Company today.
There has never been a more successful launching on the lakes. It was at the stroke of noon that it occurred. All the morning a gang of nearly 50 men were at work releasing the craft from the blocks which kept it in its place on the incline. The clang of hammers and the huzzas of the men as each successive block was taken from under the keel, told that the boat would soon be in the water.
For an hour prior to the launching every boat which was a point of vantage was crowded, each sex well represented. In the dry dock yards the crowd was so great it kept a squad of police busy to keep them under control. The launching itself occupied only a moment, but it was a moment of moment of tremendous suspense to Supt. Gascon and his men and a brief period of delight to the disinterested ones. When the signal was given the big, red barge swayed as if in a gale and then slid to the water. Several workmen were on the deck.
The barge is 262 feet over all, 254 feet keel, 40 feet beam, and 23 feet moulded depth. The capacity is 941,000 gallons. The material used in the construction was open hearth steel, and the cost will approximate $125,000. No name has yet been selected for the craft.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, February 4, 1897

      . . . . .

      New Steamers, Tugs and Scows at the Union Yard, Marine Mention,
There is great activity at the Union Dry Dock Co.'s shipyards these days. The steel package freight carrier for the Union Steamboat Company is all in frame and most of her bottom plates are on. She is to be called the STARUCCA, after one of the old boats of the Union fleet which was lost some years ago. The new STARUCCA will be almost a sister to the RAMAPO. She is 300 feet long over all, 44 feet beam and 28 feet deep. Two of her four boilers are already in her. They were built by the Lake Erie company and are each 12 feet in diameter by 11-1/2 feet in length and will carry 175 pounds of steam. The STARUCCA will have a triple expansion engine of 23, 38-1/8 and 64 diameter by 42-inch stroke. She will coat about $225,000 and will be ready for sea Sept. 1.
The Union yard is also building two steel dump scows, 200 feet long, 25 feet beam and 12 feet deep, for Dunbar & Sullivan. The scows will be used on the breakwater extension work here and will cost $16,000 each.
There is also partly in frame at the Union yards a big steel tug for the Erie Tug I.ine at Erie, Pa. She will be 87 feet long, 21 feet beam and 11-1/2 feet depth of hold. She will have a fore & aft compound engine of 16 and 32 diameter by 28-inch stroke, and a boiler 10-feet in diameter by 13-feet long. This tug will cost $23,000. A new steel hull for the canal tug J. F. BEHN is also being built at the Union yard. It will be 55-feet long, 14-feet beam and 7-feet deep. The total cost, including the replacement of engines, etc., will be $57,000.
The big barge Standard Oil Co., No. 81 recently launched, is nearing completion. Her steel hull is to be naphta-tight at 10 pounds pressure to the square inch.
The repairs to the excursion steamer CORONA, including her new boiler, will cost between $8,000 and $10,000. She gets entire new upper works. The inspectors have ripped her all to pieces and when she comes out she will be practically a new boat. She will go into service May 29.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Tuesday, April 20, 1897

      . . . . .
      New Standard Oil Boat No. 81Tows to Cleveland Behind the CHEMUNG.
The big standard oil steel barge No. 81, built by the Union Dry-dock Company, left Buffalo last evening in tow of the swift Erie Liner CHEMUNG, which will take her as far as Cleveland. The new tank barge is commanded by Capt. George Holdridge of Buffalo. She is intended for ocean service but will have to stay on the lakes a season or two as she is too long to go through the St. Lawrence canals in their present state. Until the contemplated enlargement is made there she will probably carry ore from Escanaba to South Chicago.
Barge 81 shows in every inch of her that she is built for ocean traffic. She has a high side out of water and is marked up to an 18 foot draft. She has four steel spars , the foremast also serving as a funnel. She is steam steering and electric lighted. Her head lights are unusual looking steel cases which resemble can buoys. All possible precautions against fire have been taken. No. 81 is 268 feet long over all, 254 feet length of keel, of 40 feet molded beam and 23 feet in depth. She will carry 941,000 gallons on a draft of 17 feet.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Thursday, June 10, 1897

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launch, Buffalo
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William R. McNeil
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Barge No. 81 (Barge), 4 Feb 1897