The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 2, n. 1 (October 1969)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Oct 1969

Bascom, John N., Editor
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Meetings; Ship of the Month No. 2 ; Vessel Passages; Late News; Members' Exchange
Date of Publication:
Oct 1969
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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October Friday, October 3rd - Slides of the DELTA QUEEN.

November Friday, November 7th - Dinner Meeting. Speaker to be announced. Tickets on sale at the October meeting or contact the Treasurer, Jim Kidd. Cost is $5.00 per person.

Both meetings will be held at the Marine Museum, C.N.E. Grounds. The Dinner Meeting will be held in the Ship's Inn.... dinner to be served at 6:00 p.m.

With this issue of SCANNER, you have a new Editor and also a few changes in format which I hope will be to the liking of all our members. Perhaps the most obvious will be the new cover to kick off Volume Two, but the cover will also serve another purpose which will be announced later as a bit of a surprise. Also appearing is the beginning, however crude, of a photo page that will soon become a regular printed insert. Fred Sankoff got the newsletter off to a good start with a number of features that we will continue and we will include, wherever possible, a Ship of the Month. We have already started work on at least six fleet lists featuring lakers and salt water fleets trading into the lakes.

A good SCANNER is, we feel, the best attraction for new memberships and anyone wishing to make a contribution, whether it be an article or additions to something already printed, is welcome to write to the Editor. Remember to show the SCANNER to all your friends, as they might just want to join and get their own copy!

John Bascom, Jr., Editor.

Marine News

ALALC (a) WAHCONDAH has been scrapped in Mexico. The former canaller was last owned by Aceitera y Transportadora Continental de Puerto Mexico, S.A.

ELBA (a) BRITAMOIL (b) ISLAND TRANSPORT which left the lakes in 1963 has been sold by D'Alesio and Castaldi to P. O. & M. Castaldi of Italy,

CAPE BRETON MINER has been sold by Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., to American interests who registered her in Nassau. Since transferred to Liberian registry, she will serve on the east coast as (b) CONVEYOR.

SUSAN HINDMAN has been sold by the Hindman Transportation Co. to Herb Fraser & Associates, Port Colborne. Renamed HERBERT A., she will be used for towing and would make a good wrecker.

Norwegian Caribbean Lines has postponed their plans for a lake passenger service for at least two years. No reasons have been given.

Shell Oil's tanker EASTERN SHELL has been renamed FUEL MARKETER.

Two workers were killed and forty injured at Collingwood when the new C.S.L. self-unloader prematurely launched herself on May 29. She will sail as TADOUSSAC.

The canal tanker TEXACO-WARRIOR has been purchased by Hall Corp. of Canada and renamed LAKE TRANSPORT (II).

The Reiss Steamship Co., Sheboygan, Wis., was purchased in June by the American Steamship Co., and the Boland & Cornelius self-unloader fleet was again enlarged. The ships now have the BoCo stack colours but some still sport Reiss insignia elsewhere. We wonder how long the older straight-deckers will last.

The former Owen Sound Transportation Co. ferry NORMAC arrived in Toronto under her own power from Wallaceburg on July 26th. Her new owner, John Letnik, intends to convert her to a restaurant. NORMAC is currently tied up behind the Lake Ontario Cement plant, west of Cherry Street.

Interlake is using the C.H. McCULLOUGH JR. as a barge during the present U.S. tonnage shortage. A scarcity of crewmen is the reason announced by her owners for the surprise move.

The three Detroit River carferries of the Norfolk & Western have had their bridges removed and will be pushed across the river by the chartered tugs, ST. JOSEPH and S.P. REYNOLDS. In ice....?

C. N. has bought the C. & O. ferry PERE MARQUETTE 12, now at Port Huron and may use her on the St. Clair River,

The Toronto Harbour Commission has bought the 62-foot tug, C.E. "TED" SMITH, from the McFadden Lumber Co. and has brought her to Toronto. She was built in 1963 at Port Weller.

MERLE M. McCURDY was ceremoniously christened at Cleveland, August 1st, and is now sailing for the Kinsman Marine Transit Co. She was formerly U.S. Steel's WILLIAM B. DICKSON.

Word is finally in on the disposition of the tug, FRANCES A. SMALL, which towed the unfortunate WILTRANCO I. She was sold on the East Coast by Bulk Navigation & Towing Inc., to Tidewater Dredging Corp. and is renamed JOHN A. DOWNS. Meanwhile, the barge, hard aground off Hamburg, N. Y., in Lake Erie, has been sold to Clyde van Enkevort, Bark River, who hopes to salvage her.

Among ships recently reactivated are GOLDEN HIND, EASTCLIFFE HALL, STONEFAX, GROVEDALE, and some of the new large lakers idled by labour disputes and lack of grain cargoes.

It has been announced that Scott Misener Steamships will take over management and operation of the Mohawk Navigation Co. Ltd. The Mohawk fleet has now but three vessels, SENNEVILLE, SILVER ISLE and GOLDEN HIND, after the sale for scrap of SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY, earlier this season.

The parade of old lakers to the scrapyards continues. The following have passed down the Welland Canal, all bound overseas unless otherwise noted. Also shown is date of Welland passage and motive power as well as former owner:

BEN E. TATE (Columbia) May 19, tugs ROBERT B. NO.I and JERRY G.

GOUDREAU (Algoma) May 20, under own power.

LEMOYNE (C.S.L.) May 28 from Kingston, under own power.

HOWARD HINDMAN (Hindman) June 6, under own power.

MANITOBA (Norlake) June 6, under own power.

DONNACONA (C.S.L.) June 13-14, under own power.

ASHCROFT (C.S.L.) June 17, under own power.

J.E. UPSON (Republic) July 30-31, tugs FAIRPLAY X & FAIRPLAY XII.

PETER ROBERTSON (l) (Republic) August 2, same tugs as above.

PHILIP MINCH (Kinsman) August 4, same tugs as above.

HARRY W. CROFT (Interlake) August 9, same tugs as above.

MARTIAN (C.S.L.) September 14, under own power.

PORTADOC (III) (Paterson) September 16, tugs YVONNE SIMARD and HERBERT A. PORTADOC, may avoid the scrapheap.

HOWARD HINDMAN was sold after grounding in the Neebish Rock Cut after a steering failure. She and ASHCROFT were both sold while operating, all others being laid up. PORTADOC carried on her deck an oil rig which she had loaded, dismantled, in Port Maitland. MARTIAN was C.S.L.'s last conventional package freighter but had not operated in several years. In addition to the above, ROBERT J. PAISLEY was towed in May from Point Edward to Hamilton for breaking up, by SUSAN HINDMAN. RIVERSHELL was towed from Toronto August 19 to Hamilton for scrapping and SPRUCEDALE was taken from Toronto June 29 bound, presumably, overseas.

PETER ROBERTSON (a) E.J. EARLING (b) ROBERT B. WALLACE, aground east of Jordan Harbour, Aug. 20, 1969, enroute overseas for scrapping. Photo by Barry GillhamPETER ROBERTSON, after transiting the Welland, was anchored off Port Dalhousie while the tugs handled other vessels. She broke adrift August 20 and grounded east of Jordon Harbour. She was pulled off on August 24 by DANIEL McALLISTER and SALVAGE MONARCH.

INCH ARRAN, a former R.C.N. frigate is being dismantled at Hamilton.

OTTO M. REISS grounded on Mouse Island in Little Rapids Cut on the St. Mary's River on September 17, and it will be interesting to see whether her new owners repair her.

PRINS PHILIPS WILLEM sported a "for sale" sign atop her pilothouse on her October 19 visit to Toronto, This was her last trip for the famous Oranje Lijn of Rotterdam, which is being dissolved after many years of service into the Great Lakes.

Recent Salty Changes

CAPTAIN MINAS (SEAWAY DISCOVERER), Lebanese, 1946, 11280 tons, sold to Taiwan breakers.

CORONA (SUNVALLEY), Norwegian, 1949, 9010 tons, sold Greek.

CRYSTAL JEWEL, British, 1956, 10917 tons, sold Greek.

HIRAM, Norwegian, 1961, 13081 tons, sold to South American buyers.

HOLTHILL, Norwegian, 1961, 12800 tons, sold to Chilean buyers.

LA LOMA, British, 1959, 14450 tons, sold Liberian.

LA MAREA, British, 1958, 14500 tons, sold Liberian, renamed ORION.

MANCHESTER SHIPPER, British, 1943, 9400 tons, sold to Trieste buyers.

NEWMOAT (PINE HILL), British, 1943 (Montreal), 10384 tons, sold to La Spezia breakers.

NEWMOOR (MAIDEN HILL), British, 1943 (Sorel), 10290 tons, sold to La Spezia breakers.

SALAMAT (SALATIGA), Dutch, 1945, 10770 tons, to La Spezia breakers.

Queen Of The River

Greene Line Steamer DELTA QUEEN at Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River August 11, 1969. Photo by the EditorCincinnati, New Orleans, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge, Memphis, Paducah, Natchez, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Louisville., What do all these far-away places with the exciting names have in common? They are all ports of call, from time to time during the year, of the steamer DELTA QUEEN, the last of the inland-water overnight passenger ships to serve the North American continent.

Despite the efforts of those who would rule the ship off the rivers because of her wooden construction from the main deck up, the QUEEN sails on in all her magnificence, living proof that there is still a great market for the type of hospitality, friendship and isolation from the world's troubles that the cruise ship has always offered. This vessel also offers an intimate view of the heart of America, the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the Ohio and the Tennessee.

Yet the strange part of the story is that the DELTA QUEEN, for over twenty years the pride of the Mississippi, is not a product of that river nor is she typical of the many steamers which once graced it. Her unusual appearance will be apparent in the photo in this issue. The QUEEN was, in fact, built in Glasgow, Scotland with work commencing in 1924. She was then knocked down, shipped to Stockton, California, and there completed in 1926, along with her sister, DELTA KING, for the overnight San Francisco to Sacramento service of the California Transportation Co. The service did not last for long, however, and the ships passed to River Lines Inc. in the 1930's. Soon the ships were laid up. Isbrandtsen Lines, which later acquired the ships, did not operate them and the QUEEN, rechristened YFB 56 was taken over the the U.S. Navy for personnel ferry on San Francisco Bay during the Second War. She was turned over to the U.S. Maritime Commission for disposal at the close of the hostilities.

It was while she was laid up in 1946, covered in gray paint and showing little of her former elegance, that she was discovered by Capt. Tom Greene of the famous Greene Line of Cincinnati. He took an immediate desire to have her for his river cruise service and, after buying her and having her two lower decks boxed in to prevent damage, had her towed, via the Panama Canal, all the way from Antioch, California, to New Orleans, Louisiana. In charge of the tug, OSAGE, she made the treacherous open-sea voyage in thirty-one days, arriving on May 19, 1947. She was then "uncrated"and sailed under her own power, with a stop at Cincinnati, to the Dravo Shipyard at Neville Island, Pa.

Then commenced the second half of Tom Greene's dream. The QUEEN was extensively rebuilt for her new service, alterations including the addition of much new equipment below decks. Above, she was improved by, among other changes, extending the Cabin and Texas decks all the way to the bow, by removing the cumbersome wooden paddlebox, by relocating the dining saloon on the main deck and by shortening the funnel for high-water bridge clearance. In short, she emerged in 1948 as a luxurious cruise vessel, a fitting addition to the service built up by her owners with, among others, the well-known GORDON C. GREENE.

The QUEEN's hull measures 250 feet in length, 58 feet beam and 11.5 feet in depth giving her a tonnage of 1650 gross and 589 net, but the ship is actually 285 feet in length over the sternwheel. Two oil-fired water-tube boilers feed her 2000 h.p. cross-compound engines. She has capacity for 194 passengers and her accommodations and public rooms occupy four decks. The five main public rooms are most elegantly decorated, the predominant shades being white, green and gold and everywhere are large observation windows and quantities of leaded stained glass and brass, the latter being in evidence everywhere from the magnificent stairways to the solid brass clothes-tree and spittoon in the forward cabin lounge. The staterooms are all spacious and well-appointed, there being six classes of accommodation, all very reasonable in cost.

All of the ship's officers are very friendly and seen to take a personal interest in each passenger. A prime example of this is Capt. Clarke Hawley, Master of the QUEEN on a recent voyage to Kentucky Lake. Excellent entertainment is provided by Cruise Director Vic Tooker and his staff while the crew, under Chief Steward Franklin Myles certainly knows how to give gracious service. The cuisine aboard the ship could only be described as first class in all respects. The QUEEN is, by the way, very comfortably air-conditioned despite her age.

Unfortunately, the DELTA QUEEN has been given only until November 1, 1970, to operate and, unless the much-sought extension on her certificate is approved by the U. S. Government, time for ship fans to take in the enchantment of a river cruise is short. Under the circumstances, the QUEEN's 1969 season of operation has been extended for the first time into the winter months. She will make a one-way St. Louis to Memphis trip November 8-10, a Memphis to New Orleans round trip November 10 to 19, respectively. As usual, the ship will move north come next season's warmer weather and will operate her great assortment of cruises out of Cincinnati and it is recommended that all enthusiasts seriously consider reliving the days of steamboat era of the past by relaxing for a few days aboard this, the last of the riverboats.

We wish the DELTA QUEEN many more years of sailing so that more may know her, the pleasures to be found on her decks, the merry sound of the steam calliope saluting the passing river towns, and the plaintive echo of a steamboat whistle among the hills along a river.

Ship of the Month No. 2 "Meteor"


Whaleback tanker METEOR downbound at Little Rapids, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, June 18, 1953. Photo by J. H. BascomWest Superior, Wisconsin, was the scene as Hull 136 of the American Steel Barge Co. began her life in the year of 1896. She was built as a member of the fleet of whalebacks designed by Alexander McDougall on the theory that, if a ship wore shaped so as to let the seas wash over the deck with little or no resistance from the superstructure, then little damage would result from a struggle with heavy seas. The vessels had rounded decks, pointed bows and sterns, hatches that were flush with the decks and cabins that were raised off the decks by means of steel turrets.

The FRANK ROCKEFELLER, as our steamer was christened, differed from her many companions in three ways. She was the second largest lake-built pure whaleback freighter, she carried an unusual triple-deck bridge structure forward of the after cabin and she survived longer than any other vessel of her type.

ROCKEFELLER, given official number 121015, was 366.5 feet in length, 45 in width, and 26 in depth with a tonnage of 2759.86 gross, 2013.55 net. She was originally registered in Buffalo and was operated by Pickands, Mather & Co., Cleveland, who managed the American Steel Barge fleet until 1900. At this tine, the remaining units of the fleet were purchased by John D. Rockefeller, a noted American industrialist, who was at the time operating the Bessemer Steamship Co., to transport his ore cargoes. In February 1901, J. Pierpont Morgan and Elbert H. Gary were assembling their huge United States Steel Corp. and its Great Lakes fleet, the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, Having purchased the same month the steel and shipping interests of Andrew Carnegie, they naturally cast their eyes on Rockefeller's holdings and the purchase was completed the following month, the FRANK ROCKEFELLER becoming a unit of the largest American fleet ever to sail the lakes. Until 1905, she had a green hull, white cabins and an all-silver stack but thereafter she appeared with the familiar red hull while the stack gained a black smokeband.

She served the Pittsburgh fleet well until sold in 1927 to the Central Dredging Co., and renamed SOUTH PARK. In the 1930's she passed to the Nicholson Universal Steamship Co., Detroit, and was converted for use as an auto carrier by the construction of raised wooden sides and a flat deck. For a period she was operated by the Erie Steamship Co., Cleveland. The Overlakes Freight Corp., became the force behind Nicholson Universal when the New York Central Railway was forced to dispose of its interests in the business. SOUTH PARK was reconverted for use in the bulk trade at the onset of American involvement in World War II but the service lasted only until 1942.

Late in that year, she was caught in a gale on Lake Michigan and was driven hard aground near Manistique, Michigan. Salvaged some time later, she was rebuilt in 1943 as a tanker for Cleveland Tankers Inc., the work being done by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. Her tonnage was then increased to 3383 gross, 2393 net, and she entered service as the METEOR. She emerged with a more conventional type of after cabin with a somewhat box-like upper deck.

The METEOR still serves in her latest role as the only whaleback tanker ever to operate on the Lakes, and her original triple expansion engine still gives her 2000 horsepower. She is known for her capabilities as an icebreaker, enabling her to maintain the difficult Lake Michigan winter service. She has not been seen in the Toronto area for some years.

And so METEOR sails on long after the disappearance of her many sisters whose wet decks and less than commodious accommodations were cursed by many a seaman. The whalebacks were relegated in their later days to the grain, stone and auto trades because of their small size. A number drifted off to salt water as did COLGATE HOYT; others, like JAMES B. NEILSON , were scrapped during the thirties, while a steamer and two barges finished their days in the Canadian grain trade. And some, like the JAMES B. COLGATE fell victim to the very seas they were designed to overcome. In not too many years, the venerable METEOR will join her departed sisters and the story of the "pig boats" will exist only on the written page and in the memories of those who knew them well.

Vessel Passages

Every ship fan has his favourite location for watching the ships pass by, but the complaint now seems general that either there aren't as many ships passing as there used to be, or that the boats aren't as interesting. To prove the point, we reprint below one and a half day's passages at the Cardinal Canal, The date? 1936.

The passages are taken from the last edition of the old Toronto Mail & Empire, November 21, 1936.

Up - November 19 Down - November 19

8:05 p.m. REDCLOUD 11:50 p.m. CEDARTON



11:00 DUNDAS

Up - November 20 Down - November 20

2:30 a.m. CITY OF KINGSTON 6:20 a.m. SARNOLITE



1:55 p.m. TRANSITER 8:15 RAHANE





12:50 p.m. FAIRLAKE




So, how many of them are still around?

Late News

Tanker, TYEE SHELL, of Shell Oil's West Coast Fleet, entered the Welland Canal upbound on Tuesday, September 23, enroute to Collingwood for her scheduled lengthening. She is a stranger to this area as she left for the West Coast almost immediately after being delivered by Collingwood Shipyards.

Members' Exchange

Any member having any items of marine interest to sell or trade should advise the Editor of details for publication.

Items to be included should be forwarded no later than the 15th of the month prior to printing.

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Scanner, v. 2, n. 1 (October 1969)

Meetings; Ship of the Month No. 2 ; Vessel Passages; Late News; Members' Exchange