Friday, May 5th - Annual Spring Dinner Meeting, King Edward Hotel.
This will be the last meeting of the season. As you know, the Society takes a bit of a holiday in the summer since so many people are away on vacation or are otherwise occupied. To those who have attended the meetings regularly over the past winter, we thank you for your support and trust that our programs have been of interest. Our thanks go to the Program Committee for an excellent series of meetings and to Alan Howard for once again making the arrangements that we might meet in the Marine Museum. The first meeting of the Autumn will be held at the Museum on Friday October 6th, at the usual time, 8:00 p.m.
The Editor's Notebook
Even though we will not be meeting as a group until October, there will be one more issue of this newsletter in Volume IV. We will publish an extra issue some time during mid-summer, the exact date of publication to be decided once we see how much marine news has developed.
We hope that all our regular correspondents will remember to keep on sending in bits of marine news as they hear them. Only in this way will we be able to keep up with all the developments that we should report.
In the New Member Department, we should like to extend a most cordial welcome to Donald Taylor of Batchawana, Ontario, and to George Dowhy of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The 1972 navigation season got off to a slow start as a result of heavy ice conditions in the St. Lawrence canals as well as in lower Lake Huron, the St. Mary's River, Whitefish Bay, Georgian Bay and Thunder Bay. Strangely enough, Lake Erie for once did not pose any great problem this year since the ice formation was lighter than usual and easterly winds kept it from plugging the Port Colborne area. No salt water icebreakers were kept in the lakes over the winter months by the Canadian Coast Guard, but the NORMAN McLEOD ROGERS was brought up in early April to help break out the Lakehead and the Bayports. The ice did cause much trouble for the U.S. Coast Guard in that several of its vessels, including the tugs NAUGATUCK and ARUNDEL were damaged while working the St. Mary's and the Straits of Mackinac.
The Welland Canal was officially opened for traffic on March 29 but the first through transit was not recorded until TADOUSSAC passed down on April 3rd bound for Hamilton with coal. TADOUSSAC also made the first upbound transit on April 5th while on her return trip. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened on April 14, much later than was planned, when the Danish ship OLAU SYD passed up through the St. Lambert Lock. The first downbound passage was made by ALGOCEN. The Soo Locks saw their first commercial transit on April 5th when the craneship YANKCANUCK passed through the Poe Lock en route to the Algoma Steel dock. The first ship to make it out of Buffalo, a perennial spring trouble spot, was PONTIAC which sailed on April 9th. Duluth saw its first arrival of the year on the 12th when WILLIAM CLAY FORD arrived to load. Toronto Harbour opened on April 7th with the arrival of IMPERIAL LONDON from Sarnia, and the first salt water ship of the year, the Russian motorship IVAN MOSKVIN, docked at the Cousins Terminal on April 18th. The Straits of Mackinac were opened on March 28th by Huron Cement's perennial port-openers S. T. CRAPO and J. A. W. IGLEHART.
While most lake carriers spent the winter in the shelter of lake ports, three units of the Paterson fleet were running on salt water. HAMILDOC, LABRADOC and PRINDOC were operated in the newsprint trade from Baie Comeau, Trois Rivieres and Dalhousie, N.B., to Jamaica, Miami and Puerto Rico.
Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. has let it be known that the two vessels it is building for the Burnett Steamship Co. Ltd., will be named LAURENTIAN FOREST and AVON FOREST. Work on the second ship is to begin as soon as the first hull has been moved from the graving dock.
Nothing more has been heard from Marine Transit Inc. as to whether that firm will be commencing operations this year. It appears that some difficulty has been encountered in obtaining suitable tonnage since other fleets seem reluctant to dispose of their surplus vessels to the new concern! The company had boasted of having received several contracts for this year and presumably something will have to break soon if they are to get things going in 1972.
It has been announced that Cleveland Tankers has offered its whaleback tanker METEOR to the city of Superior, Wisconsin, for use as a museum. Several cities have been anxious to obtain the METEOR but Superior would seem the most appropriate choice since it was the site of the shipyard where the whalebacks were built. The city is currently studying the cost of acquiring the ship and maintaining her. We sincerely hope that this bid at preservation will be more successful than efforts a few years ago to save JOHN ERICSSON and keep her as a museum in a park near Hamilton.
While prospects remain good for a successful year for Canadian vessel operators, primarily due to heavy grain movements, things still look rather bleak on the other side of the border. Most American steel plants have large stockpiles and do not anticipate heavy shipments. One bright point on this gloomy picture is the announcement by the Kinsman Marine Transit Co. that the little steamer JOE S. MORROW will operate this year. This pleasant surprise comes about as a result of the demands of one particular grain company which has insisted that the MORROW, the smallest American upper lake bulk carrier, must be used if Kinsman wishes to haul grain to its elevator.
It seems that there has been a further cutback in operations planned by Wilson Transit for 1972. Originally it had been said that Wilson would run THOMAS WILSON, J. BURTON AYERS, J.H. HILLMAN JR., A.T. LAWSON and BEN MOREELL, but now the HILLMAN and AYERS have been deleted from the list. We hear that these two are badly in need of repairs, particularly to tank tops. The LAWSON will not fit out until her crew has brought to Buffalo the steamer FRANK R. DENTON which wintered at the American Lakehead with storage grain. The DENTON will then be laid up.
There is still some doubt as to whether the U.S. Steel craneship CLIFFORD F. HOOD will see further service. It was first thought that she was to be fitted out but doubts have now been expressed.
During March, the Escanaba Towing Company's craneship O.S. McFARLAND which was being used as an unloading facility for the bulk barge A.E. NETTLETON, was observed lying at Zug Island in Detroit. We now learn that she was moved to the Penn-Dixie Cement dock and has settled in the mud while vandals have looted her cabins. Presumably she will soon have to move or else MEDUSA CHALLENGER will not be able to reach the cement dock to unload. Meanwhile, Escanaba was rumoured to be interested in the surplus Boland & Cornelius self-unloader PETER REISS for the Toledo to Detroit coal shuttle, but we find this very hard to believe in view of Escanaba's very poor financial position.
UNITED STATES GYPSUM is one of the veteran BoCo self-unloaders that had been rumoured for sale. Readers will recall that we mentioned in our last issue that she would, in fact, operate in 1972. We have now learned that, due to her condition, her certificate has been restricted to allow her to operate only within the area bounded by Toledo and Port Huron. If this is the case, we do not foresee a particularly long future for the steamer.
The Bethlehem Steel Corp., apparently aware of the advertising possibilities for the maiden voyage of STEWART J. CORT, recently made a well-publicized announcement of the trip for the benefit of fans and photographers. The ship was to leave Erie on April 24th so that she would pass both Detroit and Port Huron in daylight the next day. She was also scheduled to have daylight for the passage up the Soo Locks on April 26th. Unfortunately for those who had made plans to witness the trip of the giant, the voyage was postponed because of heavy ice in lower Lake Huron and the Soo area. Presumably the company did not want its new vessel to get herself all banged up in the ice on the maiden voyage when everyone would be looking at her.
A jurisdictional dispute amongst lake pilots has threatened to disrupt the early shipping season. American pilots have demanded to be paid for taking ships bound from Port Colborne uplake to American ports but the demands have been refused by the Canadian pilots who now have the right to take these ships wherever they may be bound in the lakes.
The new C.S.L. self-unloader J.W. McGIFFIN made her first passage down the Welland Canal on April 22nd bound for Hamilton with coal. It seems that her looks leave something to be desired.......
We had noted above the difficulties of the Escanaba Towing Co. We have now learned that one more problem has cropped up. The Great Lakes Towing Co. has placed a "Do Not Tow" order against Escanaba's barges in view of the company's tardiness in settling accounts. This would mean that Escanaba would have to use other than G-Tugs if extra tugs were needed at any port and it could cause a few nasty problems.
The veteran upper lake bulk carriers JOHN P. REISS and OTTO M. REISS are expected to arrive in Hamilton shortly, en route to their appointment with the scrappers. Kinsman Marine Transit Co., which purchased the ships from the American Steamship Co., has applied for permission from the U.S. Maritime Administration to sell the ships to United Steel. It appears that the bowthruster from JOHN P. REISS (she was one of the oldest lake ships ever to be fitted with one) will be placed in the OREFAX which is currently being converted at Whitby to a sludge barge for use in the St. Lawrence dredging project.
The first grounding of the season occurred on April 19 when the French salty VILLE DE MEXICO, upbound for Cleveland, grounded in the Massena area. Damage appeared minimal and the channel was not blocked.
WHEAT KING, undergoing repairs at Port Weller after a fire in her after end during the winter months, headed out into Lake Ontario for her trials on October 21st. Unfortunately, she suffered a major engine breakdown and her troubles compounded by a steering gear failure, so she had to be brought back in to the shipyard for additional work. The vessel was disabled on the lake for a number of hours.
There has been no further word on the possible purchase of the salt water vessel GOSFORTH by the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd., but it has come to light that the ship was chartered by the firm last winter for the newsprint trade between Baie Comeau, Quebec, and New York City,
As a service to our members, we continue with our reviews of publications produced by members of T.M.H.S.
HISTORY OF THE GREAT LAKES - Freshwater Press Inc., Cleveland ................$45.00
This fine two-volume work on the history of our lakes was originally published in 1899 by J.H. Beers & Sons. Unfortunately, both volumes of the original printing are now extremely rare and when they do appear, the pricetag can be a real shock.
The two volumes have now been reprinted by Freshwater Press Inc., one of the enterprises of member John O. Greenwood of Cleveland. The reproduction is exact and there are no additions or deletions of material from the original text or photographs. The first volume gives a detailed history of the lakes and their development as well as much information on the ships that were sailing at the turn of the century, as well as many that had passed from the scene already. The second volume is purely biographical and gives excellent details on the lives of many familiar vessel operators and masters, together with others connected with the shipping scene.
The volumes are available separately for the price of $30.00 each, or together for a total price of $45.00 on orders postmarked before May 10, 1972. After that date, the price of the two volumes together will be $50.00. No matter what the price, these volumes are a must for the library of any serioua student of lake shipping. Orders should include remittance (postage is paid by the publisher) and should be addressed to Freshwater Press Inc., Room 446, The Arcade, Cleveland, Ohio, 44114, U.S.A.
Everyone knows the effect that the Great Depression had on the lake shipping industry. Starting in 1930, ships began going to the wall and by 1932 things looked very black indeed. However, the autumn of 1929 was a good one for the vessel operators as the following passages, only a few days before the Market Crash, will show. What we wouldn't give to go back to that day, adding a good camera and a motorboat to the river scene.
Upbound - October 15, 1929
STEEL VENDOR, 6:30 P.M.; D. O. MILLS, 9:40; DENMARK, 9:50; CALUMET, 11:50.
Downbound - October 15, 1929
MUNISING, 6:15 P.M.; FRANKCLIFFE HALL, 7:00; W. C. RICHARDSON, 7:20; MYRON C. TAYLOR, 7:30; KING, 7:50; JAY C. MORSE, 7:50; GENERAL ORLANDO M. POE, 8:30; MICHAEL GALLAGHER, 8:30; GUARDIAN and barge MAIDA, 9:10; S. B. COOLIDGE, 9:15; GEORGE W. PERKINS, 9:20; LEHIGH, 9:20; ADAM E.CORNELIUS, 9:50; AMASA STONE, 10:00; WILLIAM B. DICKSON, 10:00; R. L. AGASSIZ, 10:05; R. R. RICHARDSON, 10:10; A. E. NETTLETON, 10:30; WILLIAM C. ATWATER, 11:30; HARVEY D. GOULDER, 11:40.
Upbound - October 16, 1929
DOUGLASS HOUGHTON, 1:45 A.M.; C. T. JAFFRAY, 1:50; WILLIAM G. CLYDE, 1:50; VICTORY, 1:50; CANADOC, 2:20; SUMATRA, 2:30; GEORGE F. BAKER, 2:40; HERBERT F. BLACK, 2:40; JOHN J. BOLAND, 3:15; CORVUS, 3:40; FRANK E. TAPLIN, 4:20; SIMON J. MURPHY, 4:40; THOMAS LYNCH, 5:40; JAMES DAVIDSON, 6:30; THOMAS WALTERS, 7:55; CLEMENS A. REISS, 8:00; WILLIS L. KING, 9:05; ROBERT W. STEWART, 9:25; HENRY STEINBRENNER, 9:30; SHENANGO, 10:00; GENERAL GARRETSON, 10:30; WILLIAM P. PALMER, 11:00; CHICAGO, 2:50 P.M.; RENSSELAER, 3:50; barge MAGNA, 3:50; MICHIGAN, 3:50; NEPTUNE, 4:00; COLONEL E. M. YOUNG, 4:35; COL. JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER, 5:20; SAMUEL F. B. MORSE, 5:30.
Downbound - October 16, 1929
MacGILVRAY SHIRAS, 12:50 A.M.; T. W. ROBINSON, 1:10; WESTMOUNT, 2:00; HENRY C. FRICK, 2:30; WILLIAM J. FILBERT, 3:00; THOMAS F. COLE, 3:15; 0. S. McFARLAND, 3:20; AUGUSTUS B. WOLVIN, 4:30; PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR., 4:40; FRANK SEITHER, 5:15; ISHPEMING, 5:25; CHARLES HUBBARD, 6:15; ALVA C. DINKEY, 6:35; SIERRA, 6:35; MICHAEL J. BARTELME, 6:40; SUMATRA, 7:15; JOHN J. O'HAGAN 7:30; JOHN P. REISS, 8:25; JOSEPH P. BURKE, 9:00; BUTTERCUP and barge LAKE FREELAND 9:20; THOMAS BRITT, 9:50; H. A. SCANDRETT, 10:05; BETHLEHEM, 10:10; JOHN O. McKELLAR, 11:50; ANGELINE, 12:15 P.M.; WILLIAM B. SCHILLER, 12:20; BARKHAMSTEAD and barge SAGAMORE, 12:45; SAMUEL MATHER, 1:45; FRANK C. GOODYEAR, 2:00.
By the way, in view of the current scarcity of passages in today's newspapers, our readers may be interested to know that in 1929, the papers were regularly publishing passages, arrivals and clearances from Conneaut, Huron, Lorain, Toledo, Indiana Harbor, Ashtabula, Buffalo, Sandusky, South Chicago, Gary, Escanaba, Fort William, Ashland, Duluth, Two Harbors, Fairport, Marquette, Cleveland, Detroit, Port Huron, Port Colborne, Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston, Sheboygan, Mackinaw City and Sault Ste. Marie, plus a number of other ports.
Ship of the Month No. 22
In this day of large modern lake vessels, we sometimes forget the important role played by the smaller freighters in the early development of the commerce of the Great lakes. We remember the beautiful steel steamers of Capt. John Mitchell and the Gilchrist Transportation Co. which not only revolutionized the development of the modern carrier and led ultimately to the giants of today, but which combined utility and gracefulness. However, we fail often to take the next step back into the past, to remember the little wood and iron-hulled combination passenger and package freight steamers of the second half of the nineteenth century. These steamers may have been crude in machinery, accommodations and cargo handling equipment, but they were, in their way, just as great a step forward as were their successors. Our ship for this month was one of these gallant little workhorses and proved her mettle by operating for the astonishingly long period of seventy-four years.
This very early photo, dating from about 1875, shows CUBA in the river at Chicago. Note the workment on the foremast. Bascom collection.One of the early package freight lines on the upper lakes was the Commercial Line. This firm was founded in 1867 and was operated by Holt and Ensign of Buffalo. It was an "independent line," that is, it was not owned or managed by any of the railroads that operated extensive package freight services from Lake Erie to the upper lakes.
In 1872, the company had several new vessels built. One of them was an iron-hulled, twin-screw steamer constructed at Buffalo by the King Iron Works. Gibson and Craig were the sub-contractors. The new vessel was 231'7 in length, 35'7 in the beam, and 13'3 in depth. Her tonnage was 1526 Gross, 1359 Net. Given official number U.S. 125028, the steamer was christened CUBA. Her twin screws were driven by two steeple compound engines with cylinders 17" x 40" and a 36" stroke. The machinery was built by H. G. Trout and Company, Buffalo. No details are available on the original boilers.
CUBA was built of iron only up to the main deck. Above that point, she was wooden. In appearance she resembled so many other vessels of her type. She carried twin funnels athwartships and had the traditional octagonal "bird-cage" pilothouse on the hurricane deck. It was surmounted by the usual carved eagle. She was given a tremendous fidded foremast on which she originally carried sail. Passengers were carried in cabins on the upper deck,
CUBA operated on the Commercial Line's services from Buffalo to Duluth, Milwaukee, and Chicago. These routes continued until 1884 when the Commercial Line ceased operations. At this time, CUBA was sold to John Donaldson of Buffalo, She operated hence under the name of the Red Star Line, apparently managed by Drake and Maytham, the famous Buffalo steamship operators. They ran her for over two decades in conjunction with the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. In 1888, she was given new fire-box boilers measuring 8'6 x 15'0.
IONIC is sseen at Sault Ste. Marie in this photo by A. E. Young. By this time she had but one funnel.Donaldson, or the Lackawanna Railroad, as the case may be, sold CUBA during 1906 to the Northern Navigation Co. which at that time needed another vessel for the Sarnia-Lakehead package freight trade. Simultaneously, the Canadian company acquired the steel package freighter TADOUSSAC from the Playfair interests. The two vessels were renamed IONIC and DORIC respectively in keeping with Northern Navigation's practice of giving all its ships names ending in the letters "IC", IONIC was enrolled as Can. 116954, registered at Sarnia, and was stripped of her cabins on the upper deck, She received a new boilerhouse, texas, and pilothouse. Her dimensions at this stage in her life were shown as 238'2 x 35'6 x 12'6, and her tonnage was 1708 Gross, 1030 Net.
IONIC operated the upper lake route through several changes in ownership. In 1912, Northern Navigation was absorbed into the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Co. Ltd., Montreal, and in December 1913 this firm in turn was amalgamated into the newly-formed Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. Nevertheless, Northern Navigation was retained as an operating but wholly-owned subsidiary of C.S.L. During World War I, IONIC was transferred to the Toronto-Montreal run. However, she met misfortune on this route when she sank in the Williamsburg Canal in the St. Lawrence River on November 8, 1919. Soon salvaged, she was rebuilt and her twin funnels were replaced by a large and imposing single stack. She re-entered service in 1920 as (c) MAPLEBRANCH, a name that was to have considerable importance. At the time of her rechristening, C.S.L. was maintaining a rather interesting series of names. Vessels were being given names beginning with the prefix "MAPLE" indicative of their Canadian ownership. The suffixes began with the letter "H" to indicate steel-hulled canallers, as in MAPLEHURST, MAPLEHILL and MAPLEHEATH, with the letter "G" to indicate wooden canallers like MAPLEGREEN, MAPLEGLEN and MAPLEGULF, and with "B" to indicate iron canallers such as MAPLEBORO, MAPLEBROOK and MAPLEBRANCH herself.
When she re-entered service after her accident, MAPLEBRANCH was placed on the package freight service between Montreal and the Canadian Lakehead. She continued thus until 1926 when she was rendered surplus and was laid up. She and her aging running mates were replaced by the new City Class of fast steel package freighters. She was sold in 1928 to St. Lawrence Tankers Ltd., an outgrowth of the Webster group of companies which included the Canada Import Co. She was converted at Montreal to a tanker for use on the St. Lawrence River and her tonnage was altered to 1014 Gross, 634 Net. Her dimensions were now shown as 231'8 x 35'5 x 12'6. In this conversion she was cut down to the main deck and was given a new triple deck, but rather ancient looking, pilothouse set back from the bow.
MAPLEBRANCH operated in the petroleum products trade until August 13, 1934. The thirteenth was unlucky for the steamer even if it did fall on a Monday that month, for MAPLEBRANCH was rammed and sunk in Montreal harbour by the British "D" Class cruiser H.M.S. DRAGON. The diminutive tanker was subsequently raised and taken to Sorel, Quebec, by Marine Industries Ltd. who rebuilt her in 1935 in their yard on the Richelieu River. Re-registered in Sorel, she maintained her previous appearance but was given new boilers. These were two second-hand Scotch boilers measuring 11'2 x 11'2 and built in 1891. It is not known what ship they had served in previously.
The final rebuild left MAPLEBRANCH looking like this. She is sesen entering the Toronto Ship Channel in this 1939 photo by J. H. Bascom.To operate MAPLEBRANCH, Marine Industries formed a new subsidiary, namely Branch Lines Ltd., many of whose later vessels would bear the suffix "BRANCH" in their names, taken from this historic ship, and a prefix taken from the name of some other tree found in Canada, such as "POPLAR," "PINE," "SPRUCE," etc. The same firm is currently operating a modern diesel tanker carrying the name MAPLEBRANCH (II).
For the last eleven years of her operating life, MAPLEBRANCH plodded around the lower lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Indeed for the last few years her certificate was restricted to allow her to operate only below Port Colborne. This regulation was allegedly brought on by an unfortunate attempt to buck the spring ice in Lake Erie one year. Despite her apparent lack of power, her antiquated appearance, and the natural loosening-up that comes with age, MAPLEBRANCH continued on through her seventy-fifth season and was finally retired during 1946. She was laid to rest in the company's boneyard at Sorel and was stripped of her upperworks. Accompanied by several other interesting old vessels, the hull, complete with its wooden bulwarks and with the name still showing proudly on the bow, lay in peace into the early 1950's when it was finally dismantled. She was still in documentation as late as 1950.
At the time of her scrapping, MAPLEBRANCH was the oldest iron-hulled ex-package freighter still in existence on the lakes. Out of all the similar vessels which had been built in the 1870's and 1880's, she was survived only by PONOKA (ex LEHIGH) and ALGONAC (ex SYRACUSE) which lasted a few years longer, but these steamers were a decade younger, not being built until 1880 and 1884 respectively. Yes, CUBA - IONIC - MAPLEBRANCH proved her worth over the years and her builders would have been proud had they but known how long she would serve.
TAKE A PRIVATE PARTY TRIP JUNE 27TH
The first Triangle Cruise of the Georgian Bay Country starts
There is still chance for you to become a member of this first Tour if your reserve at once.
And you'll find every pleasure plan and comfort consideration arranged to make this your most delightful vacation.
- TO THE WONDERFUL GEORGIAN BAY COUNTRY -
Volumes have been written about this Romantic Country. Come on this Complete Tour and learn it first hand.
Included in the Cruise are, of course, meals and berths - of the finest on the Lakes.
CARRIAGE DRIVES - VISITS TO FALLS - SHORE PICNICS - FISHING - SIDE TRIPS
A rapid movie of events begins as soon as the boat leaves the dock.
Dancing every evening with splendid music. At Mackinac Island there is a carriage drive around to the Arch Rock, Lovers' Leap, Cave of the Winds, Sugar Loaf, Devil's Kitchen and the Forts. Then follows in rapid succession the trip through the Largest Locks on fresh water at the "Soo". Carriage Drive to Bridal Veil Falls at Kagawong, Fishing, Bathing and" Launch Rides at Killarney, Picnic on the Rocky Shore and Side Trip for 60 miles through the 30,000 Islands on the Steamer WAUBIC.
* * * COMPLETE CRUISE $37.75 FROM DETROIT * * *
with rebate of $2.50 per Ticket if Side Trips are not taken.
RESERVE BERTHS QUICKLY
of C. LEIDICH, 69 Fort Street West, Detroit.
NORTHERN NAVIGATION COMPANY - SARNIA, ONTARIO
The above advertisement appeared in Detroit newspapers on June 22, 1915.
We are indebted to Dave Glick for the clipping which is, as might be expected, well illustrated. Now, on NORGOMA........