The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Conestoga (Propeller), U125669, sunk after collision, 1 Nov 1899

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The Anchor Line steamer CONESTOGA, Capt. Conkrite, collided with the new 5-mile intake crib last Thursday in a dense fog and smashed in her stem and bow from the sail to the forefoot, causing her to leak so badly that she sank at the entrance of Chicago River with her main deck about three feet under water. The Dunham Wrecking Co., with tugs and scows, pumps and divers, began work on her Thursday morning, raised her and towed her to the L. M. & L. S. Co's Dock Saturday morning, where her cargo was unloaded by noon on Monday.
      Marine Record
      November 23, 1899

In a dense fog in the early morning of Nov. 16 last the steamer CONESTOGA ran into the waterworks crib off the harbor of Chicago and sank before she was able to make the harbor entrance. There was a loss on the steamer and cargo of about $80,000. Suit was begun by the Anchor line a few days ago in the United States district court against the city of Chicago and the Fitzsimmons-Connell Co., contractors, to recover the loss. The suit is of great importance as its results will define the liabilities of cities at all lake ports in regard to their waterworks cribs and the rights of navigation. It is claimed in the bill that the CONESTOGA was running at only 4 miles an hour, when suddenly the light of the crib was discovered dead ahead. There was no fogbell or other means of warning vessels except a light. In spite of all the captain could do the CONESTOGA crashed into the crib, opening up a large hole in her bow. The steamer filled so rapidly that she sank in 25 feet of water not long afterward.
It is claimed that it was the duty of the city of Chicago or the contractors to maintain an adequate fog signal upon the crib to warn vessels of their danger, that the crab was in the direct course of vessels and that the city was liable because of its negligence.
      This is the first time the points raised in the bill have come before the United States courts for decision. H. D. Goulder of Cleveland and C. W. Greenfield of Chicago represent the Anchor line, while C. E. Kremer of Chicago has been retained by the city to defend the suit.
      Marine Review
      July 26, 1900

Steam screw CONESTOGA. U. S. No. 125669. Of 1,726.21 tons gross; 1,562.24 tons net. Built Cleveland, O., 1878. Home port, Erie, Pa.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1884

Media Type:
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Reason: sunk after collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Raised
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 41.85003 Longitude: -87.65005
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Conestoga (Propeller), U125669, sunk after collision, 1 Nov 1899