The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 8, n. 3 (December 1975)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Dec 1975

Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Marine News; More About the Steamboats to Hamilton; The November Meeting; White Star Revisited; Ship of the Month No. 53; Late Marine News
Date of Publication:
Dec 1975
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Friday, January 9 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Jim Kidd will present an illustrated program dealing with a trip through the Seaway on a lake freighter. Please note the date of this meeting.

Friday, February 6 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Open Slide Night. Topic will be ships built prior to 1930 and members are invited to bring a few slides each for showing.

The Editor's Notebook

We've had postal strikes before, but the one just ended takes the prize as the longest such disturbance in Canada's history. As a result, we have been cut off from many of our correspondents, have been unable to mail the "Scanner" to our members, and worst of all we have not received all of the membership renewals which should have reached us. Some of our U.S. members may have been shocked by the arrival of the November issue with a Buffalo postmark on it - we held them for several weeks hoping that our local difficulties would be ended but we finally resorted to mailing them across the border. Nevertheless, the scandalous mess in the Post Office seems to have been resolved and we'll now do our best to bring up to date all those who have missed hearing from us.

It's quickly getting around to that time of year when the shipping world goes into winter quarters. There's a touch of snow in the air and a cold haze hangs over the lake waters as the freighters head for the safety of a snug harbour berth to wait for the warmer and brighter days of the spring. It means that we observers will have time to stow away all the photos and "objects" that we collected during the summer and to get our cameras in good shape for the coming navigation season. And it also means that it's time for us to extend to each and every one of our members and their families the very best of wishes for a very Merry Christmas and for success and happiness in the New Year.

Edmund Fitzgerald

The month of November has, over the years, come to be known as the month that lake sailors and vessel operators dread. For November usually brings with it the nastiest weather that can hit the lakes with poor visibility and vicious winds that can whip the lake waters into a deadly trap for ships unfortunate enough to be caught in exposed areas.

EDMUND FITZGERALD, 1958-1975. Photo by the Editor, July 23, 1974.The worst of the November weather seems to come in the middle of the month and for some reason there has been a tragically coincidental association of that sort of weather with November 11th, Remembrance or Armistice Day. On November 11, 1901 the schooner barge MARINE CITY foundered on Lake Huron with the loss of four lives. In the Big Storm of November 9 through 12, 1913 thirteen lake vessels were lost with all hands and many more were driven ashore and severely damaged. On November 12, 1919 the steamer JOHN OWEN disappeared in very heavy weather on Lake Superior and the same storm was the undoing of the wooden lumber carrier H. E. RUNNELLS which stranded near Grand Marais, Michigan, and went to pieces. November 12, 1920 saw the steamer FRANCIS WIDLAR driven ashore on Pancake Shoal, Lake Superior, while the next day the JOHN F. EDDY foundered on Lake Erie. And on November 11, 1940 the steamers ANNA C. MINCH, WILLIAM B. DAVOCK and NOVADOC (II) were lost on Lake Michigan in what is generally called the Armistice Day Storm.

And now 1975. Anyone who might have thought that such disasters could not happen in these days of large modern carriers and efficient (supposedly) weather reporting had his hopes dashed when, awakening on the morning of November 11th and turning on his radio, he heard the reports of the tragic events which had taken place on Lake Superior the previous evening.

On November 10th, the steamer EDMUND FITZGERALD, a straight-deck bulk carrier operated by the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton and Company, Cleveland, was downbound in Lake Superior with a cargo of about 26,000 tons of taconite pellets bound from Taconite Harbor to Detroit. She was running with the very large seas kicked up by strong winds which accompanied a cold front that was moving eastwards across the lakes bringing a brief indian summer to an abrupt end. The winds, sweeping the full length of the lake, were gusting as high as 80 m.p.h. At about 7:00 p.m., Capt. Ernest McSorley of the FITZGERALD contacted ARTHUR M. ANDERSON which was a short distance away and asked her to stand by in the area as FITZGERALD had suffered some sort of minor damage. PARKER EVANS was also in the vicinity at the time. At 7:10 p.m. when the ship was about thirteen miles off Coppermine Point and almost to the shelter of Whitefish Bay, all visual and radio contact with her was lost. Several vessels remained in the area all through the night to search for survivors or debris but none were found, nor was there any further sighting of the ship herself.

The following day, the wreckage started to come in on the Canadian shore and, from the concentration of debris positively identified as being from EDMUND FITZGERALD, there could be no doubt that the vessel was lost. A few days later the U.S. Coast Guard using depth sounding equipment located a large wreck in the area and it is believed that this is the FITZGERALD, although positive identification of the sunken vessel has not yet been possible as the hull is lying in well over 500 feet of water. Not one of her 29 crewmen has yet come ashore.

EDMUND FITZGERALD was owned by the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and had been built in 1958 as Hull 301 of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan. She measured 711.2 x 75.1 x 33.4 with an overall length of 729.3 and tonnage of 13,632 Gross, 8,686 Net. She was powered by a Westinghouse two-cylinder steam turbine with steam supplied by two coal-fired watertube boilers. She had the distinction of being the first maximum Seaway size carrier built on the lakes and now has earned the unenviable record of being the first such vessel to be lost in Great Lakes waters. (The Halco bulker LEECLIFFE HALL (II), also a maximum-sized carrier, was lost by collision September 5, 1964 but this accident took place on the St. Lawrence River below Quebec City.)

To comment on the possible causes of the loss of EDMUND FITZGERALD would not be appropriate at this time. We join the rest of the lake shipping community in expressing our shock and grief at the disappearance of such a fine vessel, and to her owners and operators and to the families of her crew go our deepest sympathy.

Marine News

TRILLIUM has come home! She is shown here at the Bay Street ferry docks two days after her arrival from Port Colborne. Photo by the Editor, November 9, 1975.At long last, Toronto's own TRILLIUM has come home, looking as good as new (if not better) and ready for service next spring. The steam ferry left Ramey's Bend during the evening of November 6th and was towed down the Welland Canal by the tugs G. W. ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE. It was necessary to tow her down because the authorities that be had not as yet given the ship her final inspection and she could not be brought down under her own power. Unfortunately, however, the Metro Parks Department pursued its crazy notion that TRILLIUM should be sneaked into Toronto harbour without fanfare and as a result the many prospective admirers of the vessel were deprived of the joy of seeing her homecoming simply because they were not informed when she would arrive. Nevertheless, the press found out about it and at least we could see newspaper photos of her arrival! In any event, the ship arrived safely and she has since been put through trials on the bay under her own steam. There remains a bit of work to be done on TRILLIUM before she is really ready for service but this should all be finished by spring. Then the paddler will go into full operation, serving mainly in the excursion trade although she will be used on the island run on days of peak loads.

As some vessels are coming from the shipyards either new and just off the stocks or, as in the case of TRILLIUM, completely refurbished, so there are other lake ships that are reaching the end of their operating careers. Such a vessel is the Reoch steamer AVONDALE which, although an apparently staunch self-unloader, has been looking every bit an operating antique the last few years. On Thursday, November 27th, AVONDALE arrived at Toledo to load a cargo of soya beans, presumably for delivery to Toronto. Before they could get the spout into her, however, she received a visitation from the American Bureau of Shipping and as a result of an inspection of the vessel she was condemned, allegedly because of a weakness in a structural member beneath the deck. Her owners tried to get permission for AVONDALE to load coal instead of beans but this was refused and accordingly she set sail in ballast for Port Colborne, arriving there and tying up alongside the West Street wharf on November 28. There she was stripped and on November 29 she moved under her own power through Lock 8, entering the old canal and laying up behind PETER ROBERTSON. Problems were encountered in backing the vessel down the old channel due to high winds and at one point she swung across the canal, her bow and stern wedged firmly on opposite banks. She was eventually moored safely and now lies there cold, a retired steamer. She has not as yet been sold for scrapping but there seems little doubt that such a sale lies not far in the future.

AVONDALE was built in 1908 as Hull 53 of the Great Lakes Engineering Works at St. Clair, Michigan, and entered service as (a) ADAM E. CORNELIUS (I) for the American Steamship Company. Originally measuring 420.0 x 52.2 x 28.2 (Gross 4900, Net 3736), she was lengthened in 1942 to 475.8 (Gross 5663, Net 3796) and was converted to a self-unloader. BoCo renamed her (b) DETROIT EDISON (I) in 1948 and (c) GEORGE F. RAND (II) in 1954. She was acquired in 1962 by the Reoch interests and was registered in Hamilton, Bermuda, although she was later brought into Canadian registry. In the last thirteen years she has carried almost every kind of cargo available to lake shippers and has certainly earned her keep in the Reoch fleet. But time has run out for the old girl. We'll miss not only her peculiar forward end (with a pilothouse that never really suited her) but also the clouds of steam that perpetually encircled her stern, and that very deep and tuneful steam whistle that sounded almost like that of KEEWATIN as it echoed across Toronto bay.

Indications are that the Reoch/Pierson fleet will shortly be expanding its operations despite the recent demise of AVONDALE. We understand that the organization may take delivery of as many as three former U.S. bulk carriers and that these will be placed under the ownership of the Soo River Company, a firm actually owned by Pierson but operated by Reoch. The first of the acquisitions has already been announced and she is the SAMUEL MATHER which has been purchased from the Interlake Steamship Company. The MATHER was built in 1927 as (a) WILLIAM McLAUCHLAN, Hull 793 of the American Shipbuilding Company, Lorain, Ohio. She has always been owned by Interlake and was given her present name in 1966, the year after her sistership of the same name was sold to Upper Lakes Shipping (the present POINTE NOIRE). The MATHER, 8024 Gross and 6314 Net, measures 586.3 x 60.2 x 27.9 and was the last of the small steamers in the Pickands Mather fleet. In Canadian registry she will join another sister, ROBERT HOBSON, which was sold in September to the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. and renamed (b) OUTARDE (III) after having been sold earlier for scrapping. SAMUEL MATHER will be brought to Port Colborne very soon and will be converted to burn oil fuel by Herb Fraser and Associates. For her new duties she will be renamed (c) JOAN M. McCULLOUGH in honour of the wife of Mr. Harry McCullough, president of Westdale Shipping Ltd. The other two vessels which may be moving to the Pierson/Reoch fleet cannot as yet be identified, but it is entirely possible that one of them may be the same steamer that was rumoured to be making the same change earlier in the autumn.

As we go to press with this issue, the Port Weller drydock is occupied by the steamer PIERSON DAUGHTERS which entered the dock on November 29th. It seems that the Soo River Company's bulk carrier was upbound in the St. Lawrence River on November 22 when she grounded on the tip of North Colban Island near Clayton, New York. She sustained bottom damage and numbers one and two port tanks were flooded. The vessel was freed and pumped out and on November 23-24 she passed up the Welland Canal bound for Conneaut where she unloaded her cargo of iron ore. She then came back down the canal in ballast and had to wait a few days outside the drydock until it disgorged BLANCHE HINDMAN before PIERSON DAUGHTERS could be accommodated.

In our last issue we mentioned that something new was afoot in the Steinbrenner world and that a new company had been formed to operate three of the ships. The vessels involved are not, we now discover, HARRY L. ALLEN, CHICAGO TRADER and KINSMAN ENTERPRISE but rather the ENTERPRISE, C. L. AUSTIN and FRANK R. DENTON. These ships are now officially owned by the Bay Shipping Corp. which is a Steinbrenner affiliate although its actual ownership is not known. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet of the former Kinsman Marine Transit Company has been officially transferred to S & E Shipping. The whole concern has been renamed and will henceforth be known as S & E Shipping Corp. db/a Kinsman Lines and this parent firm will operate the Bay Shipping vessels. Accordingly, the association of the Kinsman name with the Minch/Steinbrenner family shipping interests will not be lost.

The Algoma Central Railway continues to expand its fleet of lake carriers. With another self-unloader already ordered from Collingwood Shipyards, the company has announced that it has purchased the 520-foot salt water vessel BROOKNES from the Jebsen shipping group of Bergen, Norway. The ship, which was built in 1970 in Scotland, has now been sent to Swan Hunter Shiprepairers Ltd., North Shields, England, and there she will be lengthened to 642 feet over the coming winter. During 1976 she will be brought to the lakes and the conversion to a self-unloader will be accomplished at Port Colborne by Herb Fraser and Associates Ltd. with the ship scheduled to enter service during the autumn months. Algoma feels that the cost of a conversion of this nature will be much less than that of building a new ship and in addition the railway will wind up with a ship that can be operated on salt water during the winter months. BROOKNES will be renamed ALGOSEA prior to entering the lakes.

For a number of years now the former Manitoulin Island ferry NORMAC has been lying in Toronto's Yonge Street slip and functioning as Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant. Completely rebuilt, she now looks nothing like NORMAC and, in ye Ed.'s opinion, even less like a ship at all. But her owner, John Letnik, a native of Yugoslavia who came to Toronto in 1957, has ideas of something even bigger than NORMAC and as a result Toronto's newest restaurant sailed into the port on the evening of November 20th, 1975. She is the former Yugoslavian cruise vessel JADRAN which Letnik purchased earlier this year from Jadranska Linijska Plovidba, "the Adriatic Line". Measuring 295'6" x 42'10" x 15'3", 2564 Gross, the ship was one of three sisters built in 1957 at Split, Yugoslavia, by Brodogradiliste Split. JADRAN was capable of accommodating 170 first class passengers, 38 in tourist class, and she could pack aboard 1000 deck passengers. During her service in her home waters, she normally operated line runs and sometimes cruises in the Aegean Sea. A typical schedule, such as that which she ran in 1967, called for her to serve regularly on a route from Venice to Rijaka, Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu and Piraeus. JADRAN is somewhat unique in that she has a lounge in the forecastle and a dining saloon/lounge on the upper deck forward where one might normally expect an observation area. Ye Ed. managed to sneak aboard JADRAN on her first night in Toronto and had the pleasure of being escorted around the ship. She has some beautiful dark woodwork in her, all carved with intricate designs by Yugoslav craftsmen, and by the same token she has some very plain modern areas. Generally speaking, her furnishings have a rather tatty look as if they have either been used very hard or else have not been particularly well maintained. Letnik plans to open the ship to the public in January and will be using the two dining rooms together with a cocktail bar to seat about 300 persons. Later plans call for the installation of "convention facilities" in the space presently occupied by passenger cabins, all this despite the fact that the ship is moored directly across the slip from the brand new Harbour Castle Hotel which opened this past summer. It is evident that Letnik is thinking of his new acquisition solely in terms of her "hotel" capabilities and not in terms of her being a ship on the waterfront. While we wish her well in her new role, we might also wish for JADRAN a future not completely incompatible with her actual reality as a vessel moored in a port which is currently emphasizing its waterfront facilities.

At the present time it seems as if the Canada Steamship Lines package freight service may well last through another year of operation. Earlier this year the company had given indications that it would pull out of the package freight business when the C.N.R. and C.P.R. refused to continue paying C.S.L. for the loading and unloading of rail-water cargo. The agreement was reinstated for the remainder of the 1975 navigation season but the company has been looking around for some other source of income to replace the railways' payments in the future. As a starter, the company has increased its freight rates to offset part of the loss. It is hoped that the remainder can be made up by having the port authorities at Hamilton and Thunder Bay reduce the harbour dues charged when C.S.L. vessels call there. No such action is necessary at Windsor or at Valleyfield, Quebec, the other two ports which C.S.L. serves, as the docks there are owned by the firm. Negotiations to this end are continuing and if they are successful, the package freight service may not yet have given up the ghost. Meanwhile, C.S.L. has announced that it has revived its subsidiary Ocean Lines Ltd. and that FORT CHAMBLY has been transferred to this concern. She will soon be leaving the lakes for salt water where she will operate between the east coast and Germany. She will be renamed (b) CHAMBLY ERA for her new service and whilst in Germany will be fitted with two deck cranes. The lake package freight fleet has been further reduced in strength by the chartering of FORT ST. LOUIS to Newfoundland Steamships Ltd. for whom she will operate, apparently on a year-round basis, between Montreal and Corner Brook, Nfld., in conjunction with CHIMO and CABOT. C.S.L. has said that if the lake service operates in 1976 it would be held down by three vessels and with FORT CHAMBLY and FORT ST. LOUIS gone, and with ESKIMO also out on charter frequently, it means that the only ships available for the lakes would be FORT HENRY, FORT WILLIAM and FORT YORK.

More About the Steamboats to Hamilton

In the May 1974 issue of "Scanner" we presented an article entitled "Steamboat to Hamilton". With the assistance of member Robert L. Campbell of Toronto, we have been able to continue our research into the intricacies of the ownership and operations of TURBINIA as well as MACASSA and MODJESKA and we give you herewith the results of our further enquiries.

It develops that during the winter season of 1905-1906 the Turbine Steamship Company placed TURBINIA in service in the West Indies under charter to the Canada - Jamaica Steamship Company. This venture did not prove successful and the Turbine Steamship Company reported a loss of $18,000 for the year 1906. The company was reorganized early that year when a large proportion of the company's stock was purchased by shareholders of the T. Eaton Company Ltd. (Toronto's largest department store) and John C. Eaton became president. The head office of the Turbine Steamship Company was transferred from Hamilton to Toronto. TURBINIA did not return to the West Indies during the winter of 1906-1907. During the 1907 season she was advertised to make two trips daily between Hamilton and Toronto and to make a weekly trip on Saturday night to Charlotte, New York, returning on Monday morning.

Early in 1908 press reports stated that "the Turbine Steamship Company proposes the building of another turbine steamer for the Toronto-Hamilton route and that the order will be placed in Canada, the turbines being imported from Great Britain. It stated that tenders have been submitted to the company for the construction of a vessel similar to TURBINIA but 65 feet shorter and 8 feet less in width, with accommodation for 1000 passengers. The name of the proposed vessel is given as EATONIA and the approximate cost as $150,000." This ship, of course, was never built.

On January 15, 1909 the Hamilton Steamboat Company, owner and operator of MODJESKA and MACASSA and the principal opposition to TURBINIA, was also purchased by the T. Eaton Company Ltd. Both the Hamilton Steamboat Company and the Turbine Steamship Company continued to operate as separate concerns until John C. Eaton and his associates at the T. Eaton Company Ltd. sold control of both companies to the Niagara Navigation Company Ltd. in 1911. Niagara Navigation was itself absorbed by the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company Ltd. in 1912.

An interesting story about TURBINIA concerns an occurrence of the autumn of 1907. The famous Knapp Roller Boat which had proven to be a failure as a commercial vessel was blown from its moorings at the Polson Iron Works in the east end of Toronto Bay during a heavy storm. TURBINIA collided with the wayward derelict and the Turbine Steamship Company took legal action against the owners of the roller boat for damages sustained. The court graciously awarded TURBINIA judgment in the amount of $250.00 despite the argument raised by defence counsel that the roller boat was not a ship within the meaning of the Canada Shipping Act.

On August 15, 1909 the TURBINIA caused some little damage to a number of vessels at Charlotte, New York. For some unexplained reason, full steam was applied to TURBINIA's engines while she was moored at her wharf and she collided with the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company's steamer KINGSTON which was then pushed into two other ships. The damage done was comparatively minor as all the vessels were able to proceed on their scheduled trips. A report stated that "official enquiries will be held by both Canadian and U.S. authorities, but in the meantime the second engineer of TURBINIA, who was in charge, has been dismissed".

The November Meeting

Our November meeting was a very successful affair and we were pleased to see such a large group of the faithful in attendance. Lorne Joyce was our speaker and he gave a most interesting illustrated talk on life on Lake Ontario's Main Duck Island around the turn of the century, including the vessels that operated in the vicinity and those that were wrecked there. Much of the material used by Lorne in his presentation and many of the historical relics he brought with him for us to view came from the collection of fellow-member Willis Metcalfe of Milford, Ontario. All present enjoyed the evening immensely and our thanks go to Lorne and to Willis for their work in putting the show together.

White Star Revisited

In our Ship of the Month article last month we featured the passenger steamer WHITE STAR and with the help of Lorne Joyce we can now pass along a bit more information. WHITE STAR was built in 1897 at Montreal and in our last issue we stated that the Oakville Navigation Company was her first operator. As it now develops, this was not so. She was not purchased by that firm until 1899, so we are now faced with the problem of not knowing what she did during her first two years of life.

The Oakville Navigation Company was formed in the spring of 1899 when the sum of $25,000 was subscribed by a group of local merchants and fruit growers in order to ensure the existence of a regular steamship service for Oakville. The existing service operated by the steamer GREYHOUND was very unsatisfactory and the ships of the Hamilton Steamboat Company were unable to call at Oakville regularly because of the shallowness of the harbour. The founding group consisted of Allan S. Chisholm, T. C. Hagaman, George Andrew, John McDonald and W. H. Speers. Hedley Shaw of Foulds and Shaw who owned the flour mill at Oakville was named president of the Oakville Navigation Company at its formation. The company bought WHITE STAR, apparently from a St. Lawrence River operator, and placed her on the Oakville service under the command of Capt. William Boyd. Her purser was W. S. Davis who in 1902 became general manager, secretary and treasurer of the company.

Later in his career, Hedley Shaw set up a flour mill at St. Catharines using machinery and materials taken from a dormant mill at Oakville. This was the beginning of the Maple Leaf Milling Company and Hedley Shaw was its founder. Mills were soon set up at Thorold and Welland, and in 1911 the big mill at Port Colborne was opened.

Ship of the Month No. 53

King Edward

Around the turn of the century, the travelling public of North America was patronizing the continent's passenger steamers like never before and like it never would again. Business was booming for the owners and operators of almost anything that would float and had an engine in it and as such many passenger vessels served owner after owner in a variety of different trades. In fact, a number of lake steamers found their way as far afield as the U.S. east coast, while a few coastal vessels strayed into freshwater. KING EDWARD was one of the latter and to trace her early years we must delve a bit into the history of coastal passenger operations.

This is KING EDWARD as she appeared early in her service with the Algoma Central Steamship Line.One of the most active areas of steamboating on the east coast during the mid to late nineteenth century was Long Island Sound where a multitude of steamers bustled back and forth connecting the various communities on Long Island and providing transportation into New York City itself. Competition was hot and heavy for the patronage of the commuter (such as he then was) and the local freight traffic. One of the most prominent of the Sound steamer men was Capt. George C. Gibbs who, with the help of Island financiers, ran a service which was independent of the control of New York City interests. In October 1886 after more than a decade of operation, Gibbs incorporated as the Montauk Steamship Company with a capitalization of $100,000. The company was named for the community of Montauk which is located at the east end of the Island. In its early years, the company operated many routes and provided interconnecting services from the Island ports to New York City, to Block Island and to New London, Connecticut. Basically, Gibbs was running opposition to the land and water routes of the Long Island Railroad.

In 1891 the Montauk Steamship Company, which by then had several vessels in its fleet, placed an order with the Harlan and Hollingsworth Corp. of Wilmington, Delaware, for a new steamer. Built of iron, she was 175.0 feet in length, 31.0 feet in the beam (50 feet over the guards), and 9.0 feet in depth. Her tonnage was 571 Gross and 449 Net. Registered at Sag Harbor, New York, and enrolled as U.S.92294, she was christened MONTAUK, the first of two vessels so named to serve the fleet. The new vessel was a sidewheeler and was powered by a single-cylinder vertical beam engine. This rather unusual piece of machinery was made in 1891 by her builder and had a cylinder of 38" and a stroke of 108", developing 115 N.H.P. Steam at 60 p.s.i. was supplied by two coal-fired single-ended Scotch boilers measuring 10'2" x 10' and constructed in 1891 by Harlan and Hollingsworth.

MONTAUK was commissioned as the flagship of Gibbs' fleet and was placed on the company's main service, the run from New York down the full length of Long Island Sound to Orient, Greenport, Shelter Island, Southold and Sag Harbor. Capt. Gibbs himself was from the Island's east end and he was already giving the Long Island Railroad a run for its money in the steamer trade. His supremacy was for the time being guaranteed by the advent of MONTAUK and he placed her under the command of his brother, Capt. John Gibbs.

MONTAUK appears to have had an uneventful early career. There is a reference to the ship having been sold in 1893 to Starin's Line which operated along the north shore of the Sound, but other sources make no mention of this and although Starin may have chartered her for a while ownership seems to have remained with the Montauk Steamship Company. MONTAUK did manage to make the news on March 14, 1896 when, while making her approach to Greenport wharf, she was in collision with the smack LADY ELGIN. The bowsprit of the sailing vessel punched a hole in the bow of the steamer but the damage was above the waterline and MONTAUK, not seriously wounded, was able to continue on her way with little delay.

During July 1896 MONTAUK was knocked from her position as fleet flagship by the commissioning of the 226-foot sidewheeler SHINNECOCK, the largest and grandest vessel the company would ever operate. MONTAUK did, however, remain on her original run. In May 1897 she was severely battered by a very heavy storm on the Sound but she emerged safely after seeking shelter on the north shore. During September of the same year she happened to be on the scene when, early one morning, the Orient Point wharf caught fire. Capt. Burns brought MONTAUK alongside the burning pier and used the steamer's own fire apparatus to fight the blaze successfully.

However, the Long Island Railroad was getting a bit tired of all this competition right in its own "backyard" and on May 13, 1899 it bought out a controlling interest in the Montauk Steamship Company. Thus MONTAUK became a railroad boat. During November 1899 MONTAUK was chartered to the New Haven line and she ran the New York to New Haven, Conn., service. She soon returned to her owner's main routes, these being the Sag Harbor Route (New York to Sag Harbor and way ports), the North Shore Route (from New York down the north side of the Sound) and the New London Route (from Sag Harbor to New London and way ports).

1901 was MONTAUK's last year in L.I.R.R. and Montauk S.S.Co. colours and she went out in a flurry of publicity, albeit not of a pleasant sort. In late November the steamer was the scene of a bloody riot while she was moored at the company's New York pier. The crews of the Mate's and Engineer's Departments clashed over the chore of coaling the ship and the opposing gangs armed themselves with freight hooks and wrenches. Several nasty injuries had been inflicted before the battle could be quelled.

Our scene now shifts to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where in 1899 the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway Company had been formed by Francis Hector Clergue as a subsidiary of his Ontario Lake Superior Company. In 1901 this latter firm was merged into Clergue's Consolidated Lake Superior Company, a conglomerate which was based in the Canadian Soo and which had its tentacles into almost every aspect of life in that northern city. The A.C.R. (as the railway has come to be known familiarly over the years) then operated two lake passenger routes, one of which involved a service from Toledo to the Soo and way ports. Today this might seem to be a very strange routing but it appears to have been lucrative for the A.C.R. and connected with its other line, the short run from the Soo to Michipicoten.

The railway in 1902 was operating MINNIE M. on the Michipicoten service and OSSIFRAGE on the Toledo route but this latter service was in need of another vessel. Some of the backing for the A.C.R. at that time came from the Pennsylvania Railroad in the U.S. and it is possible that through this connection the A.C.R. became interested in MONTAUK which by then had become expendable (although not excess) tonnage to the Montauk Steamship Company. An arrangement was made whereby MONTAUK would come to the lakes although a condition of the deal was that the ship would never be used on Long Island Sound to compete with the New Haven Railroad's services. Needless to say, such an eventuality was hardly on her buyer's mind.

MONTAUK cleared Sag Harbor on March 8, 1902 and sailed for St. John's, Newfoundland, where the actual transfer to Algoma Central ownership took place on May 28th. She was entered into British registry (113897) and was renamed (b) KING EDWARD in honour of King Edward VII who had ascended to the British throne the previous year on the death of his mother, Queen Victoria. Strangely enough, the steamer was to remain in the A.C.R. fleet only during the lifetime of the monarch for whom she was named. She was sold the year he died.

KING EDWARD was brought into the lakes in time for the 1902 season and to allow her to pass up the canals her starboard wheel and guard were removed at Montreal. She was put back together at Buffalo and then entered the Toledo-Soo service on which she ran opposite OSSIFRAGE. At first she had but 44 staterooms but in 1905 twenty more were added. KING EDWARD was painted white (both hull and superstructure) while her tall funnel was buff with a black smokeband and a diamond on which appeared in white the letters A.C. S.S.L. representing Algoma Central Steamship Line, the A.C.R. subsidiary which operated the vessels. The colour of the diamond is quite a point of contention as there appears to be no one still around who remembers it. Our guess is that it may have been red, but it might also have been blue.

The years during which KING EDWARD was a unit of the A.C.R. fleet were difficult ones for the company. Clergue had pushed his Consolidated Lake Superior Company so hard that the conglomerate had over-extended itself and on December 12, 1902 the financial structure of the complex came crashing down on him. Clergue's position as manager became untenable and he bowed out in 1903, leaving the organization to cut back on its operations and salvage whatever it could from the collapse. Some of the subsidiaries eventually passed to independent owners and one of these was the A.C.R., control of which was acquired by a group of English investors. During the period 1903-09 the Algoma Central cut back drastically on its rail expansion program and the slack had to be taken up by its marine operations.

KING EDWARD passed her Algoma years quietly although she proved to be a popular vessel. She was, of course, the largest passenger steamer ever operated by the line. Her only major accident occurred on September 8, 1908 when she stranded on Chantry Shoal, a rocky shelf surrounding Chantry Island which is located in Lake Huron about three quarters of a mile off Southampton, Ontario. She was refloated on September 13 and was towed to Collingwood where repairs were put in hand. The job had been completed by November and she was steamed back to the Soo where she laid up.

OSSIFRAGE was sold during January 1909 and KING EDWARD carried on alone through that year. She was the last passenger vessel ever to operate in the Algoma fleet, MINNIE M. having been sold to other operators on completion of the rail line to Michipicoten about 1903. KING EDWARD herself was sold in May 1910 to the Ontario and Ohio Navigation Company, a London (Ontario) firm which took her to Lake Erie for the cross-lake service from Cleveland to north shore ports (presumably principally to Port Stanley). She was renamed (c) FOREST CITY in honour of the city of London. In 1912 she was sold again, this time to R. C. Eckert and E. H. North who put her on the long-haul passenger service between Cleveland and Fort William.

She lasted on this route for only one season and in October 1912 she was acquired by the Silver Islet Navigation Company Ltd., Fort William. She operated through 1915 between Fort William and Silver Islet, a small island out in Lake Superior on which there was once located a productive silver mine. This mine was in operation when FOREST CITY ran there but not long thereafter it was closed down due to the difficulty of keeping the lake water out of the underground mineshafts.

FOREST CITY was sold in 1918 to Michael McCulloch but it is not known to what use he put her. McCulloch sold the ship in 1922 to Katherine Murphy of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and she brought her back into U.S. registry at Milwaukee, giving her back her original name of MONTAUK. But the ship was sold again in 1923, passing in June of that year to the North Shore Steamship Company of Chicago. We gather that they ran out of money before they managed to pay for her because in September 1923 her ownership reverted to Katherine Murphy.

Shortly after her repossession the steamer was sold to the Clow and Nicholson Steamship Company of Duluth, Minnesota. In 1924 MONTAUK was rebuilt as a dayboat of 418 Gross, 241 Net, the work being done by the Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Company. For the next seventeen years she was operated by Clow and Nicholson on the excursion service from Duluth to Fond-du-Lac. But MONTAUK was getting on in years and her machinery was anything but modern. Clow and Nicholson took her out of service at the close of the 1940 season and in 1942 she was purchased by the West End Iron and Metal Company of Duluth. She was reduced to a deck barge by chopping off her cabins and guards. She was left with little more than her iron hull together with a small portion of her after cabin which now perched somewhat precariously atop her fantail, looking very strange without the guard underneath.

MONTAUK was sold in 1943 to Bowe and Powers of Duluth and the following year was purchased by the Lyons Construction Company, Whitehall, Michigan, who used her in connection with various construction contracts around the lakes. She served Lyons for about a decade and a half but was dropped from active service about 1958. By 1959 she was out of documentation. It is interesting to note that she was listed to the end as a sidewheel passenger vessel and not as the barge to which she had been stripped.

(Ed. Note: For much of the history of MONTAUK on the east coast, credit is due Steel Rails to the Sunrise (The Long Island Rail Road) by R. Ziel and G. Foster, 1965, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, New York.)

Late Marine News

We have noticed that certain pieces of navigational equipment have now been removed from CAPE TRANSPORT and COVE TRANSPORT and we presume that the two steamers will be sold for scrapping before long. They did not operate in 1975 and are presently lying in Toronto's turning basin.

WELCOMA, the second of two oceanographic research vessels built by Petersen Builders Inc. for the Oregon State University, passed down the Welland Canal on November 28 on her delivery voyage.

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Scanner, v. 8, n. 3 (December 1975)

Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Marine News; More About the Steamboats to Hamilton; The November Meeting; White Star Revisited; Ship of the Month No. 53; Late Marine News