The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 7, n. 4 (January 1975)
Publication:
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Jan 1975


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Bascom, John N., Editor
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Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Marine News; Ship of the Month No. 45
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Jan 1975
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English
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Meetings

Friday, February 7 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Bill Wilson and ye Ed. will present . an illustrated talk on the subject of Riverboats.

Friday, March 7 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. "Scotty" McCannell and John H. Bascom are going to present a program that will be a bit of a surprise for our members. We'll tell you more about it later, but for now we'll tantalize you by saying we have been waiting for this program for a long time. Don't miss it!

The Editor's Notebook

The December meeting was a thoroughly enjoyable movie night. We were treated to four films obtained through the efforts of our dauntless program chairman Gordon Turner. The most interesting, in our opinion, was a colour production showing the construction of the wooden goelette JEAN RICHARD, one of the last vessels of her type (see Marine News section). We also saw an excellent, but all too short, film dealing with the problems of the old canallers caught in the ice jam in the Lachine Canal in December 1958, the last year of the old canal system.. "Atlantic Rescue" was a good short look at the task facing tugs such as FOUNDATION VIGILANT (why couldn't the film have been made a few years earlier so that FOUNDATION FRANKLIN could have been the star?) while "Yankee Clipper" gave us our pre-Christmas jollies in the form of this aging (in more ways than one) silent film about the tea clipper races.

Members are reminded that they should set aside Friday, April 4th, for our Dinner Meeting which will feature as speaker Mr. John 0. Greenwood. We will have full details for you next month.

Most other publications at this time of the year express a few hopes or wishes for the world in the coming year. For 1975, we wish our readers health, happiness and successful ship-chasing. For the lake shipping business, we wish a year of plentiful cargoes and no labour disputes, together with none of the tragic accidents that marred 1974.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Neil J. Bauman of Sandusky, Ohio, to James R.Hoffman of Toledo, to Capt. Robert A. Sinclair of Lakewood, Ohio, to Robert L. Campbell of Toronto, to Gerard P. Hoffman of Toledo, to Steven Hogler of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and to Ivan S. Brookes of Hamilton.

Marine News

The repercussions are still coming from the STEELTON - Bridge 12 collision at Port Robinson on August 25th. The problem which first reared its head was that of the lack of communication between the east and west halves of the small town which depended upon the bridge to join the two together into one community. Not only are folks on the west side no longer able to travel to the small (!) shopping area on the east, but the fire hall is located on the east side and the other half of the town has been effectively isolated from any municipal fire protection. The Seaway Authority finally agreed to pay the cost of erecting a shelter to house a fire truck on the west side of the canal and in addition agreed to provide a small ferry for those pedestrians wishing to cross the canal. We have not as yet seen any sign of the ferry but early in December the floating pier sections usually placed below Lock 4 were moved up to Port Robinson and it is evident that they will be used to provide a foot bridge once navigation on the canal has ceased for the winter.

A more important problem is posed by a number of lawsuits which have been commenced in U. S. Federal Court at Cleveland by shipowners who are claiming damages for loss of business as a result of their ships being delayed by the closing of the canal after the STEELTON accident. The defendant named in each action is the Bethlehem Steel Corp, but it seems reasonable to assume that the Seaway Authority will be added as a third party defendant since liability is in dispute. The ships involved are the passenger vessel STELLA MARIS II and the salt water freighter PALIAS and tanker BOW ROGN. The actions ask damages of $41,356.00, $61,917.00 and $100,848. respectively. It appears that further actions may be commenced by other vessel operators in the near future.

The Welland Canal itself will remain open until January 17 to allow the steel mills at Hamilton to continue shipments of coal and ore. Stockpiles had been running low due to the canal closing in August and also due to the two-month shipping strike in August and September. As a result of the extension to the lower lake shipping season, many of the larger carriers have not gone into winter quarters as yet and are still hauling coal. It appears that many of them will work into January on this run and will then, if weather conditions permit, head up the lakes for a transit storage cargo of grain.

The St. Lawrence Seaway section of the canals closed on schedule on December 17 and all salt water vessels were able to clear the canal without difficulty. Due to the warm weather conditions prevailing, there were no ice problems encountered.

At Strathearne Terminals in Hamilton, the last remains of the canal tanker CARDINAL have now disappeared under the wreckers' torches and work has commenced on the final scrapping of the Canadian Dredge & Dock tugs A. M. GERMAN, FRANK DIXON and STRATHMORE. It will be remembered that preliminary cutting was begun on this trio two years ago but work was stopped by court order because of legal problems arising out of the actions of a number of local gentlemen whose dealings had come under public scrutiny. Presently waiting at Strathearne and untouched as yet by the torches is the large steam tug CHRIS M.

Marine Salvage Ltd. is making short work out of the scrapping of the drill rig NORDRILL, (a) GLENCORRIE, (b) SIMCOE (I), at Humberstone. Meanwhile we have received a further report that JACQUES GRAVEL, currently reposing in Ramey's Bend, will in fact be used by Underwater Gas Developers Ltd. in connection with their gas drilling operations on Lake Erie. We understand that Marine Salvage only has the vessel to prepare her for her new duties.

Every once in a while the gremlins creep into these pages and so it was with the Marine News section of our December issue. Our thanks to the sharp-eyed readers who brought it to our attention that the Thursday in November on which ROY A. JODREY sank in the American Narrows section of the upper St. Lawrence was the 21st and not the 22nd as we had reported. In addition, we have further details to the effect that the motorship did actually strike Pullman Shoal itself and not just the buoy. The grounding occurred at 2240 hours on the evening of Wednesday, November 20th although the vessel did not sink below the surface of the river until 0309 on Thursday morning. We have still heard no explanation as to how the JODREY managed to get out of the regular channel.

A few issues ago, we reported that the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. had sold its veteran steamer RUTH HINDMAN to Marine Salvage Ltd. for scrapping. We now have word that the sale has not been completed and there is considerable doubt as to whether the vessel will be junked at this time. This of course, may not mean further operation for the ship but may just indicate that conditions are not right for a scrap sale now. In the event that further operation of the vessel is considered, we wonder how she will get through her inspection and survey (which is now due) as we understand that she is in pretty rough condition with much work to be done.

The newest Algoma self-unloader ALGOSOO entered service in December much, we suppose, to the relief of her owners who have been hurting since the loss of ROY A. JODREY. We have not as yet seen her ourselves, but we understand that she looks much like TADOUSSAC with her pilothouse forward and the boom aft.

The days are drawing short for the last few remaining wooden goelettes on the St. Lawrence River and among those currently abandoned which had made trips into the lakes in happier times are MONT STE. MARIE at St. Joseph de la Rive and AMANDA TRANSPORT and G. MONTCALM at Ile-aux-Coudres. Also laid up at the latter location is JEAN RICHARD, one of the last wooden goelettes built. Those of our members who attended the December meeting will recall that we saw an excellent film showing the construction of the JEAN RICHARD at La Petite Riviere St. Francois in 1959.

At the end of the 1973 season, the future of the tanker IMPERIAL SARNIA was in considerable doubt as the company had let it be known that her retirement was imminent. It was, therefore, with much surprise and happiness that we saw her fit out this spring and the fact that she was repaired after her spring grounding in the St. Lawrence led us to believe that she might not have one foot in the grave after all. Our doubts may now be laid to rest for in the Winter issue of "Imperial Oil Fleet News" an official announcement was made by Imperial Oil Ltd. to the effect that plans to retire IMPERIAL SARNIA have been shelved and she is expected to continue serving the fleet for some considerable period of time to come. This is indeed good news.

In the December issue, we mentioned that the barge and former carferry PERE MARQUETTE 21 was seen late in November loading portions of the old kilns at the Peerless Cement plant at Port Huron, Michigan. The plant is being dismantled (much to the pleasure of photographers at the Huron Cut) and sections are being shipped to Saudi Arabia for reassembling there. PERE MARQUETTE 21 passed down the Welland Canal on December 11 in tow of the tugs AMERICA and OHIO, with SALVAGE MONARCH assisting, and appears to have cleared the lakes before the closing of the St. Lawrence section of the Seaway. It is believed that the barge will make the crossing of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean with her cargo and we are wondering about the joys of crossing the North Atlantic in mid-winter on a cut-down Great Lakes carferry. It remains to be seen whether PERE MARQUETTE 21 will return to the lakes in the spring to pick up more pieces of the Peerless plant.

The former Trois Rivieres ferry LAVIOLETTE, a 168-foot steamer built in 1947 at Sorel, was purchased during the fall by Capt. Albert Avery of Mooretown, Ontario, with the idea of running excursions out of Sarnia. He had intended to bring her from Norfolk (and we have no idea why she is at Norfolk nor how she got there) to Sarnia for reconditioning, but his plans appear to have been blocked by the failure of the Ontario Development Corporation to agree to a grant (or loan?) of the considerable funds needed to put the ferry in service. We rather doubt that Capt. Avery's dream will ever come to fruition, although we would like to see some kind of excursion service running out of Sarnia, and it appears that the ship will be disposed of to buyers on the Gulf of Mexico unless something can be worked out quickly.

It was announced in December that the Ontario Paper Company Ltd. has purchased the Inland Chartering Company Ltd., a Winnipeg broker for grain cargoes. Inland will now be arranging cargoes for the vessels of the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Company Ltd., the shipping arm of Ontario Paper.

A number of ceremonies of differing natures were held in the St. Catharines area toward the end of November to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of construction for the first Welland Canal in 1824. A week of special activities was carried out under the title of "Merritt Week" and most of the activities were centred around the life and work of William Hamilton Merritt, the man considered mainly responsible for the development of the canal and of the idea of a seaway system (however primitive it may have been at that time).

Canadian Minister of Transport Jean Marchand announced just before Christmas that the federal government had purchased the Bay of Fundy auto and passenger ferry PRINCESS OF ACADIA from Canadian Pacific. The ferry, built in 1970 at St. John, New Brunswick, and operated on the route from St. John to Digby, Nova Scotia, has allegedly been losing money ever since she entered service in 1971 (so what else is new for a C.P.R. passenger facility?) and the government will now study the prospects for future service on the run. In the meantime, C. P. will continue to operate the PRINCESS OF ACADIA on her regular schedule.

We understand that the barge HILDA, formerly one of the Roen Steamship Company's pulpwood barges and originally the carferry PERE MARQUETTE 19, will be stripped down for use in the Mediterranean. She is to be taken down the Mississippi on her way to salt water.

The 60-foot tug BAGOTVILLE, purchased earlier in 1974 from the Aluminum Company of Canada Ltd. by the Canadian Dredge & Dock Company Ltd., was rebuilt at Kingston during the late fall by her new owners. Although rather smaller than either GLEN ROVER or G. W. ROGERS, the other tugs stationed at Toronto by Canadian Dredge, BAGOTVILLE is quite a good looking tug and is making herself useful in the harbour.

Speaking of Canadian Dredge, we understand that the company's boneyard at Kingston now consists only of the dredge PRIMROSE and the decommissioned tugs LOTBINIERE and J. A. CORNETT together with some small workboats. The dredge LELAND was, of course, scrapped at Humberstone and the thing (?) JACQUES GRAVEL is at Ramey's Bend awaiting a new career. The other longtime resident of the junkyard at Kingston, the big dredge MIDLAND, was towed from there in the early fall by G.W.ROGERS but we do not know where she was taken. Presumably she has been scrapped (her condition could warrant nothing else) but we would appreciate details from anyone who may know where she went.

Making a rush to catch the Seaway before it closed, NORTHCLIFFE HALL cleared Kingston under her own power on December 15th and is presently at the Montreal yard of Canadian Vickers undergoing a refit to ready her for new duties in the Caribbean. She was the last of the three Hall Corporation motorvessels so sold to leave Kingston, EAGLESCLIFFE HALL and WESTCLIFFE HALL having preceded her to salt water. No doubt the Hall suffix will be dropped from her name as it was with the earlier pair.

As mentioned earlier in an unconfirmed report, the tanker LAKE TRANSPORT did not make the planned transatlantic crossing under her own power and is, in fact, still lying at Sorel. She was to have been used as a bunkering vessel in Spanish waters but the sale for some reason was not completed and we assume that the 1930-vintage steamer (formerly the TEXACO-WARRIOR) will be broken up on this side of the Atlantic.

A former running mate of TEXACO-WARRIOR, the still-active steamer TEXACO-BRAVE, arrived at Toronto on November 11th and tied up at the western end of the Texaco dock in the Ship Channel. She did not let down steam for the winter until mid-December so it would seem that in the interim she received a fairly exhaustive engine overhaul. If this is the case, then it would appear that the BRAVE may yet see a few more years of service. Her status has been in considerable doubt for the last few years and we had become somewhat worried since, as strange as it may sound (how soon they slip away), she is the last of the steam canal tankers still in service.

Protests are being made to U. S. authorities over the plans to close down three Customs stations at the ports of entry of Algonac, Roberts Landing and Marine City, Michigan. The closings were to occur as Customs officers at the three ports retire since replacements have been considered uneconomical due to the small volume of persons passing through the ports. More important to ship fans, the projected closings would eliminate the ferry services which currently operate between Walpole Island and Algonac, between Port Lambton and Roberts Landing, and between Sombra and Marine City. Protests directed through the Canadian Consulate in Detroit have apparently caused a delay in the closings, but it is doubtful that any lasting victory can be won in a fight against the bureaucracy of the Immigration Department. Many travellers would regret the cessation of ferry operations on these routes as they provide scenic, relaxed and uncrowded alternatives to the push and crush of the Sarnia and Windsor crossings.

The 1974 shipping season on the lakes has proven quite costly in terms of damage sustained in marine accidents of one sort or another. The latest in a series of major accidents occurred at 0245 hours on the morning of December 11th when the Greek bulk carrier GEORGIOS A. and the American self-unloader H. LEE WHITE collided in fog on the St. Clair River about one mile upstream from the town of St. Clair. The WHITE was upbound light at the time, having just unloaded an iron ore cargo at Great Lakes Steel in Trenton, Michigan, while the Greek vessel was downbound from Duluth, presumably with a load of grain. H. LEE WHITE, in her first season of operation, returned downstream to Nicholson's Dock at Ecorse for inspection and it appears that her damage was not particularly serious. The GEORGIOS A, however, received a badly ripped bow and, after going to anchor in the river, was towed stern first to Toledo by the tugs BARBARA ANN and ATOMIC. We understand that in Toledo a portion of the cargo was lightered from the ship and temporary repairs were put in hand to enable her to clear the Seaway before its December 17th closing. It is interesting to note that GEORGIOS A. was the former PATIGNIES of Belgian registry and had been a regular visitor to the lakes for quite a few years. Her name was changed at Duluth just before she began the trip on which the collision occurred.

Another recent collision, fortunately involving very little damage to either ship, occurred on Lake St. Clair on December 8th at which time the U. S. Steel bulk carrier PHILIP R. CLARKE and the Kinsman veteran MERLE M. McCURDY came together in a sideswipe impact. The CLARKE had just returned to service in the last week of November following her lengthening at Fraser Shipyards, Superior.

Those who follow the comings and goings on deep-sea passenger vessels will no doubt be interested to learn of several developments involving P & O operations. Their SPIRIT OF LONDON, just fresh from a refit at Yarrows in Victoria, B. C., has been renamed SUN PRINCESS and she will operate in the Pacific in conjunction with ISLAND PRINCESS recently purchased by P & O. Meanwhile, the company has also purchased SEA VENTURE from K/S Sea Venture A/S & Co., Norway, and it is to be assumed that she will be taken round from the Atlantic to join the P & O Pacific services. To replace SEA VENTURE on the Bermuda cruise run, Flagship Cruises Ltd. has chartered Holland America's idle VOLENDAM and she will be renamed SEA VENTURE 2 for her new duties.

Last month we reported the loss of BELVOIR, (a) BELVOIR (70), (b) NAZCA which sank after striking a submerged object in the Caribbean on November 12. NAZCA had been sold in 1973 by Compania Peruana de Vapores, Peru, to Surpana S.A., also a Peruvian concern. At the time of her loss she was owned by Bamar Marine Company Ltd., Nassau, and although this has yet to be confirmed, we presume that she had been sold to them in 1974 and that it was at this time that she reverted to her original name.

In the December issue we also commented on the grounding of EAGLESCLIFFE, (a) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL, in the Caribbean on October 18. We had been wondering why she was under tow at the time and it appears as though our question has been answered. We have a report to the effect that EAGLESCLIFFE had been on a voyage from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Talara under her own power when, for some unknown reason, she called for assistance. The British tug RUMPOINT went to the scene from New Orleans and it was while she was attending the former lake motorship that both vessels grounded. They were both refloated with no major damage and no further assistance was required.

We are normally on the lookout for hot news items to fill these pages and how we overlooked this one, we'll never know. We first learned some two months ago that the Hall Corporation had sold SCOTIACLIFFE HALL to Norwegian buyers, but we missed reporting the sale earlier. SCOTIACLIFFE HALL made her last trip down the lakes with grain from the Lakehead and was handed over to her purchasers at Halifax during the first week of December. We suspect that her owners may not have found her ideally suited for lake trading.

When the U. S. Steel lay-up list came out in late fall, it was known that HENRY PHIPPS would be joining the "surplus tonnage" fleet at Duluth's M.P. & L. dock. It now looks as though two more steamers will be joining the crowd, namely WILLIAM B. SCHILLER and RICHARD TRIMBLE which date from 1910 and 1913 respectively. The TRIMBLE was on drydock at Fraser's at the close of the season and we gather that she was found to require considerable work. The SCHILLER, always recognizable by the peculiar dip in her pilothouse sunvisor, had surprised observers when she returned to service in 1968 after the better part of a decade in lay-up. Perhaps she will be able to escape the torch a second time.

Local observers were somewhat surprised to see MARTHA HINDMAN with a cargo of sugar for the Redpath plant in Toronto last month. She arrived in port on December 14 and cleared on the morning of December 16. Later the same day, however, she returned to the Redpath dock and the next day was towed to a lay-up berth alongside the Texaco dock in the Ship Channel by the tugs GLEN ROVER and BAGOTVILLE. We have no explanation of what the problem was that caused her to go into winter quarters so unexpectedly, but from the fact that she was towed down the channel, we suspect engine troubles, MARTHA's problems have continued since she was laid up, for on the afternoon of December 31st she suffered rather severe fire damage to her after cabin, the blaze apparently starting in the galley area. The flames were shooting from portholes, the skylight and galley stack when the Toronto Fire Department arrived, but prompt action on the part of the fireboat WM. LYON MCKENZIE and shore-based firemen soon had the fire extinguished. There is little exterior evidence of the fire apart from a bit of soot staining the port side of the cabin, but we suspect that interior damage must be fairly extensive.

Once again this winter, Canada Steamship Lines package freighters will go awandering on salt water. ESKIMO has been chartered to the Agence Maritime to run between Montreal, Quebec, Baie Comeau, Port Cartier and Sept Iles. Meanwhile, PORT CHAMBLY has taken a cargo of equipment and newsprint down the east coast with stops to be made at Newport News and Florida. By the time this appears in print, she will have returned and will be operating under charter to the Quebec North Shore Paper Company for the running of newsprint from Baie Comeau south to Florida. CHAMBLY will relinquish this role during January when FORT ST. LOUIS will re-enter service after repairs necessitated by a recent fire in her cargo hold. It is not known whether FORT CHAMBLY will then lay up or whether another charter has been arranged for her. It well could be that other units of the fleet may stray from the lakes as well, since the only package freighter laid up at the usual spot beside the Hamilton terminal is FORT HENRY.

Ship of the Month No. 45

Arizona

The middle years of the nineteenth century, specifically the early and middle 1850's, were years of prosperity for the Great Lakes shipping industry. This period spawned the development of what were to become known as the "palace steamers," the first really impressive steamboats built on the lakes, an area where functional considerations had always superceded thoughts of comfort for the travelling public. The palace steamers were the largest ships then operating, huge wooden hulls fitted with cabins dripping with grotesquely luxurious furnishings. They cost their owners a fortune to build, but they might better have spent their money elsewhere, as these vessels had about the shortest lifespan of any class of lake craft.

The wooden ARIZONA, with a deckload of lumber and with a barge in tow, is downbound below the Soo Locks in this 1904 photo by Young.The palace boats were killed by two major events, one being the completion of the American railroad system which rendered much lake travel unnecessary, and the other being the grim depression which characterized the latter years of the decade. One by one the palace steamers disappeared, their place being taken in the sixties by a class of smaller, more functional, and more economically operated carriers.

The new breed of vessel was the small combination passenger and package freight steamer which was common on the lakes during the sixties, seventies and eighties and which lasted, albeit on a much reduced scale, into the early years of the new century. The vessels were, for the most part, limited to a length of about 200 feet or a little more, and were usually propellers. They were wooden-hulled and the side planking carried high up the sides around the 'tween decks. On the upper deck was a long cabin for the accommodation of passengers and officers, a cabin which came to a point at the forward and and whose interior was furnished in a comfortable, if not opulent, style. The steamer normally carried an ornate octagonal pilothouse forward on the hurricane deck and stepped behind this could be found a very tall fidded mast on which sail could be set. The funnel, usually tall and rather thin, was located aft as these ships normally carried their engines far aft to increase cargo capacity. The main feature of many ships of this type was the presence of arch hog braces, huge wooden frames which arched up from the hull fore and aft to reach their zenith high above the boat deck. These frames gave to a wooden hull the strength and durability needed for the strenuous lake trade of the day.

Such a vessel was the ARIZONA which was built at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1868. She measured 189.4 feet in length, 32,5 feet in the beam and 13.4 feet in depth, and was built to the order of the Erie & Western Transportation Company, the famous Anchor Line. This company had been incorporated at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with the backing of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1865 and the new line so formed took over the vessels formerly operated by E.T. and J.C. Evans of Buffalo.

During the 1870's the Anchor Line, in association with other railroad-controlled lake lines, formed a pool service known as the Lake Superior Transit Company. The purpose of this pool service was to provide frequent service from Buffalo to Lake Superior ports and to lessen the cut-throat competition amongst vessel operators which had previously existed. ARIZONA was one of the Anchor Line steamers assigned to the pool service and she remained on the run until late in 1887.

On November 17, 1887, ARIZONA cleared Marquette, Michigan, for Portage Lake on what was scheduled as her last trip of the season into Lake Superior. In describing the subsequent events, we quote from Mansfield's History of the Great Lakes, first published in 1899 and recently reprinted by Freshwater Press of Cleveland.

"ARIZONA, was compelled to put back by a furious storm from the North East. While laboring heavily in the high seas five or six miles from Marquette, a carboy of acid was broken, filling the space between the decks with dense and stifling fumes and setting fire to the steamer. The poisonous fumes made it impossible to fight the fire, and the engineers and firemen were soon driven from the engine room. The Chief Engineer was the last to leave his post, and only when nearly suffocated . He turned on a full head of steam and joined the rest of the crew on the upper deck. There were 900 barrels of oil and acid in the cargo. Captain George Glaser stood with the man at the wheel. As the burning steamer drew near to port and swept around the breakwater, the fire blazed out from the sides, creating a general alarm and the steamers at the docks began sounding their whistles. The CHINA and NYACK lowered boats to pick up the ARIZONA's crew.

Although the Captain and crew had escaped death on the open lake, they were in almost as great peril in the harbor, in charge of a burning ship which was rushing on at full speed without a man at the engine. Sweeping around in a broad circle, Captain Glaser headed the burning steamer square toward the breakwater, determined to land the men there. She struck the pier just forward of the steamer NYACK and the crew, 23 in number, leaped to the breakwater. The burning steamer's engine, still working held her nose up to the dock until the rudder swung her stern around and the abandoned steamer shot along the pier into the slip by the waterworks. The crew, chased by the steamer, had to run for their lives along the breakwater to keep from being suffocated by the clouds of smoke and fumes from the burning acid. The ARIZONA finally buried her nose in the sand and found her last resting place..."

So ends the quotation, but this was not the end of ARIZONA. The hull, burned out in the bizarre accident, was sold in 1888 and was towed to Port Huron, Michigan. There she was rebuilt at the yard of Dunford & Alverson as a bulk carrier designed for the lumber trade. Re-registered at Port Huron, her tonnage was shown as 765 Gross and 601 Net when she returned to service. By 1900 her port of registry had been changed to Merritt, Michigan, and her owner was listed as W. D. Young of Bay City.

The extensive rebuild given ARIZONA by Dunford & Alverson brought new strength to the old wooden hull which had already seen almost two decades of service before the fire of 1887. This became evident when ARIZONA was caught in the violent storm of the fall of 1905 on Lake Superior. The gale, which raged from November 27th to the 29th, battered the city of Duluth and whipped up huge seas at the western end of the lake. The steamer IRA H. OWEN foundered off Outer Island with her entire 19-man crew and some 17 vessels were driven ashore, including the famous MATAAFA of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. This steamer, having dropped her barge outside, was driven against the north pier at Duluth while trying to re-enter the harbour and subsequently she was blown ashore north of the entrance where she broke into three sections. Nine crew members lost their lives in the MATAAFA accident. ARIZONA was caught in the storm on November 28th and despite the heavy seas her master pushed on hoping to make Duluth in safety. When she was less than one half mile from the Duluth entrance, she was spun completely around three times by the heavy seas. However, under the skillful handling of Captain Walter Neal she was straightened around and finally negotiated the Duluth Ship Canal, reaching the safety of the protected waters inside.

About 1908, ARIZONA's registry was changed to Buffalo when she was acquired by James A. White's White Transportation Company of that city. This concern operated her for about ten years and in 1918 she was sold to the Twin Cities Transportation Company which was managed by John J. O'Hagan of North Tonawanda, New York.

On April 20, 1920, ARIZONA was sold to McDonald & Griffin of Tonawanda, this according to The Great Lakes Register. The 1921 Register shows the same particulars for her new owners, but the 1922 issue shows the owners as McDonald & Griffin of Oswego, New York. If you prefer to believe Beeson's Register, then you would show her owners in 1920 as the Ogdensburg Steamship Company Inc. of Ogdensburg, and in 1921 as Alexander McDonald of Oswego. The Ship Masters' Association Directory indicates her owners in 1921 and 1922 as being McDonald & Griffin of Ogdensburg. No matter who the actual owners were in her last few years of service, ARIZONA seems to have been employed for the better part of the time in the Lake Ontario coal trade, frequently bringing cargoes to Toronto.

By this time, however, her old hull was badly hogged from years of heavy work and her condition compelled her master to seek shelter whenever the weather threatened. Strangely enough, her ultimate demise did not come amongst the rollers on the windswept lake. The end for ARIZONA finally came on December 1st, 1922, when she burned at Cape Vincent, New York. She had played the phoenix once before, but this time it was not to be and the destruction was total.

(Ed. Notes For their help with the story of ARIZONA, special thanks go to our Treasurer, Jim Kidd, and to Rev. Peter J. Van der Linden of Harsens Island, Michigan.)

The Oakes Fleets

A Short History & Fleet Listing

Herbert K. Oakes of Detroit and Cleveland was one of the more important vessel operators of the early years of this century, although it is likely that today there are many observers of the shipping scene who have never heard of him. Oakes was a member of the Detroit legal firm of Shaw, Warren, Cody & Oakes which he joined in 1896. He was, however, quite active in the lake shipping circles and on May 7, 1911, he resigned from his position with the law firm in order that he might devote full time to his vessel interests.

Although Oakes in his capacity as an admiralty lawyer may well have had a minor position with other shipping companies earlier, and indeed this is most probable, his first prominent entry on the scene as a vessel manager came in 1906 when the Cambria Steel Company formed a shipping division known as the Franklin Steamship Company, Cleveland. Oakes assumed the position of manager for the new firm, the same position he took in 1908 for the Fremont Steamship Company, a concern organized by the Berry Brothers of Detroit to operate their bulk carrier B. F. BERRY.

In 1912 the Cadillac Steamship Company, Detroit, was formed by Emory L. Ford and once again Oakes came on the scene to operate the line's vessels. The last of the four small companies over which Oakes presided was the Beaver Steamship Company, Cleveland, which was incorporated in late 1915 or early 1916 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cambria Steel Company. Cambria was, in turn, a subsidiary of the Midvale Steel & Ordnance Company. Oakes was already manager of the Franklin fleet and it was only natural that when Cambria formed Beaver, it would be done under the management of this knowledgeable gentleman.

In 1924, Herbert K. Oakes became vice-president and manager of the shipping arm of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation - the Bethlehem Steamship Company -which was then being formed. This company later became known as the Bethlehem Transportation Corporation. The vessels being operated by Oakes in 1924 were absorbed into the Bethlehem operations, although it should be noted that the Franklin Steamship Company's funnel marking, a black stack with a white shield on which was superimposed a large black "F", continued to be carried by several vessels as late as 1941.

In the fleet list which follows, we have included only those ships which were operated by Oakes' four original companies. For obvious reasons, we have not listed all the Bethlehem vessels which were owned by that concern during the years of Oakes management. It is interesting to note that one further vessel did, however, bear the Franklin funnel design, that being the EDWARD J. BERWIND. She is not included in this listing as she was not built until 1924 and hence did not join Franklin until after the operation of the fleet had been assumed by Bethlehem.

B. F. BERRY (22), (b) BERRYTON (42), (c) VISCOUNT BENNETT (54), (d) C. A. BENNETT. (U.S. 204981, C.141676). Steel bulk carrier built 1908 at Cleveland by the American Shipbuilding Company (Hull 357). 480.0 x 52.0 x 25.7; Gross 6188, Net 4775. Originally owned by the Fremont Steamship Company (the Berry Brothers), Detroit. Sold to the Franklin Steamship Company 1915 (still Oakes management) and carried principally for the Cambria Steel Company. Sold 1922 for $400,000 to the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd., Toronto. When Mathews went into receivership in 1932, was operated for one year by Toronto Elevators Ltd. prior to being sold by the liquidator (Frederick C. Clarkson) to Colonial Steamships Ltd. which was formed by the Misener interests in 1933. Transferred 1959 to Scott Misener Steamships Ltd., Port Colborne, and again transferred later to Misener Holdings Ltd. (later known as Misener Enterprises Ltd.). Sold while in service 1968 to Marine Salvage Ltd. and resold to Spanish breakers. Arrived at Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, for scrapping, June 1969.

EDWIN L. BOOTH (21), (a) DAVID M. WHITNEY (14), (c) G.N.WILSON (I) (28), (d) THOMAS BRITT (II) (43), (e) BUCKEYE (I). (U.S. 157601). Steel bulk carrier built 1901 at Wyandotte by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company Hull 138). 412.9 x 51.5 x 28.0; Gross 4626, Net 3584. Originally owned by the Whitney Estate, Detroit, and operated by the Gilchrist Transportation Company, Cleveland. Sold 1914 to the Cadillac Steamship Company (Oakes), Detroit, and rebuilt. Sold February 12, 1916 for $260,000 to the American Steamship Company (Boland & Cornelius), Buffalo. Sold 1928 to the Lakewood Steamship Company, an affiliate of Oglebay Norton & Co. Transferred 1938 to the Columbia Transportation Company, Cleveland. Converted 1943 to a craneship by the Fairport Machine Shop, Fairport, Ohio; Gross 4343, Net 3301. Sold 1968 to Steel Factors Ltd., Montreal. While in tow bound out of the lakes, broke adrift and stranded on Sugarloaf Point west of Port Colborne, October 9, 1968. Refloated November 27, 1968 and continued eastbound tow. Resold to Spanish breakers and arrived November 4, 1969 at Santander, Spain, for scrapping.

E. J. EARLING (24), (b) ROBERT B. WALLACE (57), (c) PETER ROBERTSON (I). (U.S. 203108). Steel bulk carrier built 1906 at West Superior, Wisconsin, by the Superior Shipbuilding Company (Hull 514). 535.5 x 55.0 x 31.0; Gross 6657, Net 5140. Originally owned by the Franklin Steamship Company (Oakes), Cleveland. Some sources indicate that she was operated by D. Sullivan & Company, Chicago, under charter for the period 1909 to 1923. Sold 1923 to the Kinney Steamship Company, Cleveland. Acquired 1926 by the Wilson Transit Company, Cleveland. Sold 1957 to the Republic Steel Corporation but continued under Wilson management. Retired at close of 1968 season. Sold 1969 to Sea-Land Service Inc. and traded in to the U. S. Maritime Administration. Sold 1969 to Oxford Shipping Corp. While anchored off Jordan Harbour, Lake Ontario, awaiting east-bound scrap tow, grounded after breaking away in storm, August 20, 1969. Refloated August 25. Broke away from ocean tug off Newfoundland in September 1969 but recovered. Broke away again off Spanish coast and grounded near La Coruna, Spain, November 1969. Broke up in heavy seas.

EMORY L. FORD (65), (b) RAYMOND H. REISS, (U.S. 214318). Steel bulk carrier built 1916 at Lorain by the American Shipbuilding Company (Hull 715). 580.0 x 60.0 x 32.0; Gross 7986, Net 6225. Originally owned by the Franklin Steamship Company (Oakes), Cleveland. Management assumed 1924 by the Bethlehem Steamship Company (still managed by Oakes). Ownership of Franklin Steamship Company taken over by the M. A. Hanna Company in 1936 but management not assumed by Hanna until 1941. Latterly owned by the Hanna Mining Company. Chartered 1963 and 1964 to the Gartland Steamship Company (D. Sullivan & Company, managers). Sold 1965 to the Reiss Steamship Company, Sheboygan, Wis., and repowered 1966 with Nordberg diesel. Control of Reiss acquired 1969 by the American Steamship Company (Boland & Cornelius), Buffalo. Sold January 10, 1972, to the Kinsman Marine Transit Company, Cleveland, but before opening of navigation was resold to the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company. In service.

Downbound out of the Davis Lock at the Soo is FRED G. HARTWELL in this Young photo apparently taken in 1923, her first year of service.FRED G. HARTWELL (II) (51), (b) MATTHEW ANDREWS (II) (63), (c) GEORGE M. CARL (II). (U.S. 222641, C. 304498). Steel bulk carrier built 1923 at Lorain by the American Shipbuilding Company (Hull 78l). 602.8 x 64.2 x 28.5; Gross 8889; Net 6942. Built for the Franklin Steamship Company (Oakes), Cleveland. Absorbed 1924 by the Bethlehem Steamship Company (still managed by Oakes) and in 1925 was transferred to the operation of the Bethlehem Transportation Corp. Ownership of Franklin taken over by M. A. Hanna Company in 1936 but management not assumed by Hanna until 1941. Later operated by the Hanna Coal & Ore Corp. and by the Hanna Mining Company. Sold 1962 to Misener Enterprises Ltd., St. Catharines, but ownership transferred by 1967 to the parent Scott Misener Steamships Ltd. In service.

HERBERT K. OAKES, in the colours of the Beaver Steamship Company, has some bow plates replaces in Buffalo Dry Dock about 1918.HERBERT K. OAKES (25), (a) MILINOKETT (16), (c) STEELTON (I) (43), (d) CORNWALL, (U.S. 204393). Steel bulk carrier built 1907 at Ecorse by the Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull 30). 504.0 x 52.2 x 31.0; Gross 6215, Net 4947. Built for the Milinokett Steamship Company (Howard L. Shaw, manager), Bay City, Michigan, and operated at one time by G. A. Tomlinson, Duluth and Cleveland. Purchased December 18, 1915, by the Cambria Steel Company and turned over to the Beaver Steamship Company (Oakes), Cleveland. Ownership taken over 1924 by the Bethlehem Steamship Company and in 1925 by the Bethlehem Transportation Corp. Traded in to the U.S. Maritime Commission for new tonnage in 1943 but continued to operate under Bethlehem management until retired at close of 1945 season. Sold November 1945 to the By-Products Iron & Steel Corp., Cleveland. Resold 1946 to the Steel Company of Canada Ltd., and arrived at Hamilton under tow in June 1946. Not scrapped until 1948-49.

E. H. UTLEY (25), (b) CAMBRIA, (U.S. 207568). Steel bulk carrier built 1910 at Wyandotte by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company (Hull 184). 504.0 x 54.2 x 31.0; Gross 6287, Net 4861. Built for the Frankl Steamship Company (Oakes), Cleveland, but transferred 1916 to the Beaver Steamship Company (also Oakes), Cleveland. Ownership taken over 1924 by the Bethlehem Steamship Company and in 1925 by the Bethlehem Transportation Corp. Transferred 1942 to a Bethlehem subsidiary, Iron Mines Company of Venezuela, but no change in management. Transferred prior to 1949 to yet another subsidiary, the Gasparillo Dock Company. Rebuilt 1955-56 as a craneship by the American Shipbuilding Company at Lorain, Gross 6393, Net 4966. Although registered thereafter to the Bethlehem Steel Corp., management was transferred at the time of the rebuild to the Ore Steamship Company and she was operated by Boland & Cornelius, Buffalo. Retired from service late in 1970 season and sold October 30, 1970, to the Miller Compressing Company for use as a storage and transfer barge at Milwaukee. Sold 1973 to the Elizabeth River Terminal Company and taken to Norfolk, Va., for further use as a transfer barge.

WESTERN STAR (18), (b) GLENISLA (26), (c) PRESCOTT. (U.S. 200376, C.138214). Steel bulk carrier built 1903 at Wyandotte by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company (Hull 155 - the American Bureau of Shipping incorrectly shows as 135). 416.0 x 50.3 x 29.0; Gross 4764, Net 3593. Originally owned by Michael J. Cummings, Oswego, and operated by D. Sullivan & Company, Chicago. Driven ashore on Lake Superior near Ontonagon in the severe storm of November 28, 1905, but subsequently refloated. Purchased by Emory L. Ford from the Cunnings Estate on October 11, 1912, and transferred to the Cadillac Steamship Company (Oakes), Detroit. While en route from Toledo to Little Current with coal on September 24, 1915, struck Robertson's Rock in upper Lake Huron and sank. Abandoned to the underwriters as a total loss, a salvage contract was let to the Great Lakes Towing Company but it was not until September 15, 1917, that the ship was refloated. Hull sold by the underwriters to the Valley Camp Coal Company for $358,000. Resold by Valley Camp to their Canadian representative, James Playfair of Midland. Rebuilt at Detroit and Midland, the ship was returned to service by Playfair in 1918 under the ownership of the Great Lakes Transportation Company Ltd. Lengthened to 494.0 by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company Ltd. in 1924, Gross 5461, Net 4268. Acquired 1926 by Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. Retired in June 1962 when boilers and engine mountings were condemned during inspection at Collingwood. Laid up at Toronto and sold later in 1962 to the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. for scrapping at Hamilton. It was intended to use the mid-section of her bottom as a derrick barge, but this did not materialize and she was completely broken up.

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Scanner, v. 7, n. 4 (January 1975)


Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Marine News; Ship of the Month No. 45