The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Silver Spray (Propeller), fire, 25 Oct 1903

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      Burned To Keelson In Dry Dock In Buffalo Harbor Last Night.
      " Beneath it rang the battle shout,
      And burst the Oallnon's roar;
      The meteor of the ocean air
      Shall sweep the clouds no more."
      -Old Ironsides.
Gone is the SILVER SPRAY. The unterrifled fishing pirate of Lake Erie is no more. Burned in drydock by some harpy of the shore is the bold ignorer of undiscoverable boundary lines. Reduced to ashes down to the keelson is the jaunty vessel that seined the lake on both sides of the boundary line, and pursued by the Canadian PETREL, always ran like a Jack rabbit before the scow from the other side. Lament, ye fishwives, from Erie to Buffalo.
Last night there was a bright glow in the sky over the harbor Opposite the foot of Genesee street. It was the glory of the SILVER SPRAY passing in flame as she burned in the Empire Ship-building Company's drydock. A still alarm was turned in to Chemical No. l. on the Terrace, but when the fire fighters responded, all they could do was to stand on the hither shore and gaze across to the pocket in the sea-wall, Where the vessel was burning. There was no means of getting across to rescue the vessel.
Everything, was against the SILVER SPRAY. The fireboat HUTCHISON lay at the foot of Genesee Street within easy squirt from her standpipes but the boilers and engines were taken apart, and the crew was off on a furloug. The fireboat GRATTAN was at the foot of Columbia street, but she was too deep of draught to reach that part of the harbor without danger of running aground. Help lay in the fire tug POTTER, only, away up at the Tifft Farm.
She was sent for in haste, but 20 priceless minutes were lost, and the SILVER SPRAY proved herself as speedy at burning up as she was at running away, from the PETREL. So when the POTTER arrived the SILVER SPRAY was already destroyed. All the POTTER could do was to put out the fire which was consuming the dry dock, The SILVER SPRAY was an excursion boat plying between the excursion docks and Elmwood Beach and Bedell's Landing before she became famous in, the warlike annals of Lake Erie. It was last summer that she earned distinction by refusing to haul down her flag while she was being riddled with shot from the slow but blustery and bellicose Canadian revenue cutter PETREL. The latter tried to capture the vessel, which was then one of the Fish Trust's fleet, claiming it was across the line. The SILVER SPRAY fled under fire and reached the American side, although shot went through her smokestack and cabin, and two of her crew of her crew had been injured. Her owner and skipper was Capt. Chris Schau. Her loss is estimated at $4,000. The drydock was damaged about $10,000. The cause of the fire is unknown.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Monday, October 26, 1903

The fishing tug SILVER SPRAY, in a floating dry-dock at the Empire Ship Building Co. yard at Buffalo, burned early Monday morning right down to the keel.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Tuesday, October 27, 1903

      Work has been started on rebuilding the fishing steamer SILVER SPRAY, which was considerably damaged recently by fire at the drydock of the Empire Shipbuilding Company. It is expected the work will be completed during the first week of December.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, November 20, 1903

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: fire
Lives: nil
Remarks: Rebuilt
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Silver Spray (Propeller), fire, 25 Oct 1903