The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 2, n. 3 (December 1969)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Dec 1969

Bascom, John N., Editor
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Meetings; Assiniboia; The Shenango Fleets
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Dec 1969
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Meetings of the Society will be held Friday, December 5th, 1969 and Friday, January 9th, 1970, at the Marine Museum, programs to be announced.

The Executive of the Toronto Marine Historical Society would like to extend to all our members and friends the very best of wishes for Christmas and the New Year. May 1970 be a very successful year for our growing Society.


It was back in 1965 that the Canadian Pacific Railway discontinued its Great Lakes passenger service maintained by KEEWATIN and ASSINIBOIA. The latter ship continued in a freight-only capacity but was withdrawn at the end of 1967. She passed in 1968 to a group of Philadelphia businessmen who hoped to convert her into a restaurant afloat and she amazed followers of the shipping scene by making the entire voyage from Point Edward, Ontario, to Philadelphia under her own power. On Sunday, November 9th, 1969, ASSINIBOIA took fire and was completely gutted while lying at a pier on the Delaware River, She lies with a forty degree list to port and photographs of the wreck leave little doubt that our famous steamer is a total loss. It is with regret that we bid farewell to a good friend, ASSINIBOIA.

Marine News

The carferry GRAND HAVEN, sunk in the Old River at Cleveland, was raised November 5th after the openings in her hull were plugged. The cause of the sinking has not been determined. No plans have been announced but there is little doubt she will be sold for scrap.

The Great Lakes Towing Company's tug MARYLAND was raised from the bottom of Lake Huron on October 23rd by the Bultema Dock & Dredge Co. She sank August 26th off Sturgeon Point, Michigan,

The Brazilian freighter DALILA suffered a serious fire in her cargo of sisal and hardboard while docked at Toledo November 6th. The stubborn fire caused buckling of the ship's plates before it could be extinguished. She had visited Toronto a few days earlier.

The U.S. Steel ore carriers RALPH H. WATSON and LEON FRASER will be converted from coal to oil fuel this winter and both ships will receive automated boiler controls.

The 1930-built Lake Michigan carferry CITY OF FLINT 32 has been offered for sale by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Co. It will be interesting to see whether anyone wants to operate the ferry.

Two American lakers have headed for early lay-up despite predictions that many vessels will remain in operation as long as possible. C. H. McCULLOUGH JR., which was used as a barge on Lake Michigan, has been removed from service as has the Kinsman steamer LACKAWANNA which laid up in Milwaukee October l7th with boiler trouble. The future of the latter vessel does not look good.

The tanker AMOCO MICHIGAN, idle for several years, passed down the Welland Canal November 13-14th in tow of GRACE McALLISTER and LAURENCE C. TURNER. It was thought that she was heading for scrapping over seas but American Oil has announced that she will be reconditioned on the East Coast prior to taking up service in the Middle East. We will watch this one with interest!

The following information has now come to light concerning some of the old lakers which have gone across the Atlantic lately. ASHCROFT and SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY arrived at Castellon, Spain, on August 9th, HOWARD HINDMAN and HUMBERDOC arrived at Bilbao, Spain, September 6th, while SPRUCEDALE put in at LaSpezia, Italy, on August l4th.

The shipbuilding scene in Canada has improved lately with the news that Collingwood Shipyards has been awarded a contract for a self-unloading bulk carrier for the Algoma Central Railway. Port Weller Shipyards will build two passenger and auto ferries for the New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island service. They will be 315 feet long and will carry 153 autos and 487 passengers each.

The former Pringle Barge Line self-unloading coal barge MAIDA is now lying at Ramey's Bend in the Welland Canal. It is not yet known whether Marine Salvage Ltd. will scrap her there or sell her for scrapping overseas.

The famous Greene Line of Cincinnati has been sold for $1,000,000 to Overseas National Airways and this will almost certainly ensure the construction of a new river cruise ship. Unfortunately, it also means that pressure to obtain an extension on the permit of the old DELTA QUEEN will be discontinued. The older ship may remain as a day excursion boat, a trade for which she is manifestly unsuited, but her cruising days will be over as of November 2nd, 1970. Her 1970 schedule calls for her last overnight trip to be a 12-day grand tour of the Mississippi, departing St. Paul, Minnesota, on October 22nd and arriving at New Orleans on November 2nd.

The Cuban flag vessel M.V. JIGUANI arrived in Toronto November 11th, with a cargo of sugar from the Caribbean for Redpath where she unloaded at the foot of Jarvis St. At present she is loading Canadian milk (powdered) and cheese for Cuba, and is due to sail December 8th. This is the first ship to fly the Cuban flag, to come up the St. Lawrence Seaway. We understand that the American authorities detained her in the Seaway for some time.

When it comes to difficult names of ships, the Russians are in a class by themselves. At present in the port of Toronto is the M.S. PYATIDESIATILETIE KOMSOMOLA. This is a tongue-twister. Try and rattle that name off in a hurry, especially if you have had one too many. The Russians do not give too much information out on her, but the current Lloyd's list the following: built 1968, Volodarsky-Rybinsk; 3,500 tons gross; 394 0" B.P.

Recent Salty Changes

BETHLEHEM (HOPERIDGE) - Liberian, 1939, 5194 tons, sunk off Singapore after collision.

CAIRNGOWAN (MANCHESTER ENGINEER) - British, 1952; 9200 tons, sold Greek.

CORAL SEA - Swedish, 1960, 6130 tons; sold Liberian.

CYDONIA - British, 1955, 8180 tons; sold Liberian.

DAGAN - Israeli, 1954, 5099 tons; sold Panamanian, renamed BETHA.

HOLMSIDE - British, 1959, 6195 tons; sold Portuguese.

MANCHESTER FREIGHTER - British, 1958, 8105 tons; renamed LOMBARDY.

PATIGNIES - Belgian, 1962, 23225; sold Liberian.

PRINSES ANNA - Dutch, 1954, 4586 tons; sold Somalian, renamed HWA PO.

VICTORIA BAY (BIRMINGHAM CITY) - Nationalist Chinese, 1946, 5571 tons; sold to Taiwan breakers,

YANXILAX (WESTRIVER) - Lebanese, 1939, 10051 tons; sold to Japanese breakers.

Ship of the Month No. 4


Many of our members will be familiar with the career of the steamer PARKDALE, which spent the 1969 season laid up in the Toronto Ship Channel, but for some amongst us her strange story may be new and it is for the benefit of these that wo have chosen her as the next in our series of individual histories.

On July 27th, 1910, the American Shipbuilding Co, at Lorain, launched its Hull No. 387 and the new vessel was named WILLIAM C. MORELAND by her owners, the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation. 580 feet in length, 58 in width and 32 feet in the bean, the bulk carrier was powered by triple-expansion steam engines and cost almost $450,000 to build. She was commissioned in September 1910, entering operation under the management of W. H. Becker, and her first four trips in the ore trade were uneventful.

Her fifth trip started routinely as she cleared Superior, Wisconsin, at 3:55 a.m., October 18th, 1910, under the command of Capt. C. M. Ennes with 10,722 tons of ore. She proceeded across Lake Superior in good weather, the only difficulty being a slight haze spreading over the lake from brush fires ashore. At about 9:00 p.m., and without warning, the ship, making full speed, struck the unlighted Saw Tooth Reef about one mile offshore near Eagle River, Michigan. Efforts were promptly made to free the vessel but she remained hard ashore and began to fill rapidly with water.

The crew was taken off by the Portage Ship Canal lifesaving crew the next morning as heavy seas began to run, whipped up by freshening winds. It was not until the morning of the 20th that the master was able to return and he found the ship sagging badly on the reef. Steam was raised but before anything else could be done, the ship cracked between hatches 10 and 11. The crew was again removed and on the 23rd the MORELAND broke a second time, between hatches 22 and 23 this time, so that the wreck was actually divided into three weakly connected sections. Patching and pumping operations were carried out and the lightering equipment which arrived on the scene on October 20th managed to remove about 7,000 tons of ore, but worsening weather repeatedly drove the men off the wreck and forced the salvage ships to seek shelter. The ship was abandoned to the insurers on November 2nd, 1910 and the MORELAND had the distinction of being the largest vessel "lost" on the lakes up to that time.

A contract for salvaging the WILLIAM C. MORELAND was let to Capt. James Reid of Sarnia and his crew arrived at the wreck on November 20th with the tug SARNIA CITY and the lighter MANISTIQUE. They continued to remove cargo from the hull during the winter but were frequently forced to retreat to the shelter of the Portage Canal because of very bad weather on the open lake. Finally she was patched and bulkheaded on each side of each break and the sections were lashed together, and at last on June 20th, 1911, she floated clear. Steam had been raised but the ship could not steer herself and a collision with the tug JAMES REID undid all the elaborate patching. The MORELAND filled and sank slightly to the west of the original point, but in much deeper water and this time only part of the superstructure was visible above the lake surface.

A severe storm on July 24th, 1911 completely severed the 278-foot stern section from the rest of the ship so the salvors were forced to confine their efforts to raising the valuable stern part of the wreck. It was floated on August 8th and was towed into Portage Harbour on September 1st, 1911. The forward section of the wreck slid off the reef into deep water during the winter.

The stern of the MORELAND remained in Portage for more than a year. The salvage contract specified delivery at Superior but it was decided to take the remains to Detroit for drydocking and so, on September 4th, 1912, in tow of the JAMES REID and MANISTIQUE, the MORELAND set out again on the voyage which she had commenced almost two years earlier. She was beached at Port Huron for pumping on September 16th and two days later she was moved to Point Edward where the remaining ore was unloaded. She entered the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan, on September 29th, 1912.

No adequate bids for the half ship were received and late in November she was moved to the C.P.R. dock in Windsor where she lay until the railway voiced its objections to her presence. On October 7th, 1913, Reid tugs again took her in tow and she returned to Port Huron where she was beached. There she remained until the autumn of 1915 when she was again pumped out and cleaned up. A bid of $55,650 from Canada Steamship Lines was accepted and the new owners soon contracted for American Shipbuilding Company to reconstruct the boat at Superior, Wisconsin.

She arrived at Superior under tow on May 29, 1916, but meanwhile the yard had been building a new bow section 322 feet in length. The new section was designated Hull No. 524 and was launched on September 9th, 1916. In November 1916, the new ship made from the old stern and the newly-constructed bow, was christened SIR TREVOR DAWSON for the American Interlake Company, a wartime American subsidiary of Canada Steamship Lines. She was 600 feet in length overall, exactly the same size as the WILLIAM C. MORELAND. Her old registry under number (U.S.) 207851 had been surrendered May 15, 1911, and so she was now redocumented as (U.S.) 214499. Soon after the christening, she left for South Chicago with a cargo of iron ore, just a little over six years after her eventful last voyage for Jones & Laughlin.

The DAWSON was laid up after the war and was sold on December 23, 1920, to the Pioneer Steamship Company. Hutchinson & Co., Cleveland, managers, who renamed her CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON (II). Upon completion of the new CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON (III) in 1951 the older steamer was renamed GENE C. HUTCHINSON and operated as such through the 1961 season. Her years in the Pioneer fleet were largely uneventful. After 62 years of vessel operation, the Hutchinson interests went into voluntary liquidation in 1962 and the GENE C. HUTCHINSON was sold to Redwood Enterprises Limited, one of the Reoch companies. She was registered in Hamilton, Bermuda, as PARKDALE (II) and was, for a short period, the Reoch flagship. She was reregistered in Hamilton, Ontario, during the 1967 season.

Unfortunately, poor business conditions faced by Canadian operators have forced her owners to keep the PARKDALE laid up during 1969 but a return to a more normal situation could well see her resume active service next season. It is hoped that the lack of grain movements will not accomplish for this fine steamer what Lake Superior tried her best to do sixty years ago.

The Shenango Fleets

COL. JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER downbound in Lake St. Clair, June 23, 1951. Photo by J. H. BascomThe past few years have seen a number of smaller Great Lakes vessel operators leave the ship-owning scene, either going out of business or concentrating on chartered tonnage. In most cases, the companies involved have been fairly small concerns but the most recent withdrawal was a large American industrial firm, the Shenango Furnace Company of Pittsburgh.

The familiar green hull and orange boot top of the Shenango fleet has long been a refreshing change from the usual drab colours of the lake ore carrier. It was back in 1906 that the company commenced vessel ownership when it formed the Shenango Steamship Company specifically to transport its iron ore cargoes. The new concern took delivery of its first ship, the WILLIAM P. SNYDER, the same year and followed in 1907 with the WILPEN. A well known Cleveland vessel manager, Harvey H. Brown, operated the ships until 1912 when Shenango opened its own Cleveland office and took over operational control. The Shenango Steamship Company was wound up in 1926 and the two ships were sold. The SNYDER was renamed ELTON HOYT II (I) by her new owners and later became the ALEX D.CHISHOLM, She now operates as a bulk cement carrier under the name MEDUSA CHALLENGER. WILPEN became the DAVID P. THOMPSON and serves the American Steamship Co. as JOSEPH S. YOUNG (II).

WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR., showing her orange boot top, heads up Little Rapids cut, August 15, 1957. Photo by J. H. BascomThe parent company became a vessel owner and operator in its own right in 1909 and obtained its first ship in a most unusual way. The company traded a large amount of raw iron ore to one of the large steel companies and received in return a quantity of ship steel. The steel was then traded to the Great Lakes Engineering Works for the new ship which was named SHENANGO, She remained in the fleet until sold in 1958. She sails now as A.T. LAWSON for the Wilson Marine Transit Company.

The same type of trade resulted in the building in 1911 and 1912, respectively, of COL. JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER and WILLIAM P. SNYDER, JR. at the time of their completion, the two largest bulk carriers on the lakes. Both wore known for their luxurious guest quarters. The last vessel built for the fleet was SHENANGO II, completed at Toledo in 1959. She remained in the company's colours until sold in 1967 to Pickands Mather & Co., Cleveland, and renamed CHARLES M. BEEGHLY. The SNYDER JR. went to P.M. the same year but was chartered back to Shenango during 1967 and 1968. She appeared this year in the colours of the Interlake fleet.

SHENANGO II is upbound in Little Rapids in the St. Mary's River below the Soo Locks, June 17, 1959. Photo by J. H. BascomThe SCHOONMAKER was chartered to Wilson for 1965 and 1966 but then reverted to her owners' operation. Early in 1969 the Shenango lake operations finally ceased as this, their last vessel, joined the Pickands Mather fleet. She was immediately chartered to the Republic Steel Corporation for a three-year period and renamed WILLIS B. BOYER.

And so the famous "Shenango Green" hulls have now disappeared and one of the more interesting small vessel operations is a thing of the past. There follows a complete fleet listing.

WILLIAM P. SNYDER, (b) ELTON HOYT II (I), (c) ALEX D. CHISHOLM, (d) MEDUSA CHALLENGER, (U.S. 202859). Built 1906 by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan, as Hull 17. 530 x 56.2 x 32. 6939 gross tons, 5492 net. Triple expansion engines replaced 1950 with 4-cylinder Skinner Unaflow. Converted 1967 to bulk cement carrier. Owners: l) Shenango Steamship Co., 1906-1926; 2) Stewart Furnace Co., 1926-1929; 3) Youngstown Steamship Co., 1929-1930; 4) Interlake Steamship Co., 1930-1966; 5) Medusa Portland Cement Co.

WILPEN, (b) DAVID P. THOMPSON, (c) JOSEPH S. YOUNG (II). (U.S. 204238). Built 1907 by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan, as Hull 28. 554 x 58.2 x 33. 7612 gross tons, 5851 net. Triple expansion engines replaced 1959 with 3-cylinder Skinner Unaflow. Owners: 1) Shenango Steamship Co., 1907-1926; 2) Pioneer Steamship Co., 1926-1961; 3) American Steamship Co. Converted to self-unloader 1957.

SHENANGO, (b) B. W. DRUCKENMILLER, (c) A. T. LAWSON. (U.S. 206329). Built 1909 by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan, as Hull 62. 580.8 x 58.2 x 33. 8047 gross tons, 6498 net. Triple expansion engines replaced 1952 with 2-cylinder steam turbine. Owners: l) Shenango Furnace Co., 1909-1958; 2) American Steamship Co., 1958-1964; 3) Wilson Marine Transit Co.

COL. JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER, (b) WILLIS B. BOYER. (U.S. 209185). Built 1911 by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan, as Hull 82. 590 x 64.2 x 34.2. 8603 gross tons, 6650 net. Quadruple expansion engines replaced 1952 with 2-cylinder steam turbine. Owners: Shenango Furnace Co., 1911-1969; 2) Pickands Mather & Co.

WILLIAM P. SNYDER, JR. (U.S. 209662). Built 1912 by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan, as Hull 83. 590 x 64.2 x 34.2. 8603 gross tons, 6650 net. Quadruple expansion engines replaced 1950 with 5-cylinder Skinner Unaflow. Owners: l) Shenango Furnace Co., 1912-1967; 2) Pickands Mather & Co.

SHENANGO II (b) CHARLES M. BEEHLY. (U.S. 278807). Built 1959 by American Shipbuilding Co., Toledo, as Hull 193. 690.4 x 75.9 x 32.9. 13598 gross tons, 8405 net. 2-cylinder steam turbine. Owners: l) Shenango Furnace Co., 1959-1967; 2) Pickands Mather & Co.

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Scanner, v. 2, n. 3 (December 1969)

Meetings; Assiniboia; The Shenango Fleets