The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 8, n. 5 (February 1976)
Publication:
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Feb 1976


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Creator:
Bascom, John N., Editor
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Website
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Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Lay-up Listings; The Niagara River Line - What Might Have Been; Ship of the Month No. 54; Deaths
Date of Publication:
Feb 1976
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English
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Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rights holder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Meetings

Friday, March 5-8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Speaker will be Alan Howard and his subject will be "Recollections of Toronto Bay: Personal Reminiscences of the Toronto Waterfront over a 40-Year Period, 1918-1959".

Friday, April 2-8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Ron Ruck will present a pictorial program entitled "Canadian Marine Miscellany".

The Editor's Notebook

It is not too early to bring to the attention of all members the Annual Dinner Meeting which will be held on Friday, May 7th at Ship Inn which is located in the basement of the Museum. Speaker will be Mr. Thomas E. Appleton and his program is entitled "The Allan Line - by Sail and Steam to Canada". Details of menu and cost have yet to be finalized but will be announced next month in these pages. All members are invited and guests will be welcome, but as space will be limited we suggest that requests for tickets be sent in as soon as details are announced.

We thank those members who have now renewed their memberships by paying outstanding fees. We do not send out billings at renewal time since postage costs would be too great, hence the fact that renewals are due in October is always announced on the front page of this publication well in advance. Overdue notices are normally mailed in November but the postal strike necessitated a delay this year and the notices were not sent until after the holidays. We appreciate your prompt replies.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to David Bull of Toronto, to William Gale of Port Colborne, to Henry Daciuk of Hamilton, to Cecil Roy Cole of Morrisburg, to Charles F. Cobb of Kingston, and to Benjamin E. Mason of Midland, Michigan.

Marine News

Every once in a while there comes our way an item of marine news that is quite enough to shock ye Ed. into thinking that he is hallucinating and that it is high time that the men with the rubber truck came for him. Such a piece of news, completely unexpected, came a few days ago when we learned that Imperial Oil Limited has retired its steam tanker IMPERIAL LONDON and is looking for a buyer for her. IMPERIAL LONDON was built in 1948 as Hull 138 of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., a canal-sized tanker of fairly traditional design except for her very bluff bow and rather peculiar heavy, rounded stern. She had a sistership christened IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD (Hull 137) and was followed by a very similar but larger tanker named IMPERIAL SARNIA (Hull 139). In 1961 IMPERIAL LONDON was lengthened 41'6" by Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, and in 1968 she was again lengthened, this time by 30 feet at the Sorel yard of Marine Industries Ltd. This last lengthening was accomplished by the fitting of a raked, bulbous bow and a rather droopy-looking transom stern. IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD was put through exactly the same operations.

But now the time has come for IMPERIAL LONDON to be laid aside. The company's lake services have been cut back somewhat with the discontinuance of certain marine terminals (such as at Collingwood and Owen Sound) and fewer boats are needed to maintain supplies. The LONDON is said to be the most expensive of the three lake tankers to operate and apparently needs considerable maintenance work. Still, the news of her retirement is a big surprise. Readers will recall that two years ago it was decided by Imperial that SARNIA would be retired but that the decision was reversed at the last moment and she still operates. But perhaps not for long. With the east coast tankers of considerably more recent vintage able to trade into the lakes when needed, rumours have been heard to the effect that SARNIA is not expected to operate more than two years more, and COLLINGWOOD not more than four. Meantime, we will miss seeing IMPERIAL LONDON bustling up and down the Welland Canal and especially will we miss her piercing chime whistle, always her trademark as it was different from those carried by the other Ioco ships and was known as a real "babywaker". We hope that some other fleet may see fit to buy the LONDON as we cannot but feel that she has many more useful years of service left in her.

WHEAT KING, ready to receive her new midbody, is seen on the drydock at Port Weller in this photo by James Braniff, courtesy Bill Bruce.Work continues on WHEAT KING at Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. where the vessel is being lengthened and fitted with a bowthruster and controllable-pitch propellor. The hull had been cut apart by early January and by the time these words appear in print, the new midbody should be in place.

Another Upper Lakes Shipping vessel receiving major work this winter is RED WING which is being fitted with a bowthruster at Port Colborne where she had a storage cargo of grain for Maple Leaf Mills.

The big steam dredge MIDLAND which languished for so many years in the Canadian Dredge and Dock Company's boneyard beyond the causeway in Kingston harbour, appeared at Toronto on November 26th. She stayed for only a short time, however, as she was en route to Hamilton where she is now lying. It is to be assumed that she will be broken up there, as have been so many of the company's old dredges, derrick barges, and steam tugs.

Work is progressing at Toronto on the conversion to oil fuel of the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. steamer OUTARDE, (a) ROBERT HOBSON. The OUTARDE was the only Canadian coal-fired steamer to operate on the lakes during 1975 and not only did she have difficulty in obtaining bunkers but we understand that her engineer had a terrible time getting firemen to work on her. OUTARDE's sister, SAMUEL MATHER, is getting the same treatment at Port Colborne this winter prior to entering service next spring for the Soo River Company.

During 1975 there appeared at Canadian post offices a series of four stamps depicting early Canadian steam vessels, all of which had operated on salt water. It has now been announced that in November 1976 a series of four more stamps will be released and that all four will feature Great Lakes vessels. We have heard no word as to which ships will appear on the stamps.

Readers will recall that we have been keeping track of the former St. Lawrence River ferry LAVIOLETTE as she makes her way back into the lakes for use as an excursion boat at Sarnia. We last reported that in late summer she had made it back as far as the Halifax area on her journey from Norfolk. Now we learn that she has come as far as Sorel and is wintering there. Ever since it was announced that Capt. Avery of Mooretown bought the ship, we have been very doubtful that she would ever get as far as the lakes, but as time goes on she seems to be getting closer and closer. Maybe she will eventually make it.

Speaking of Sorel, we understand that the majority of the vessels used in the North Traverse (Ile d'Orleans) dredging project are now resting at that port, looking much the worse for wear. Numerous former lake ships are included in the fleet, such as BULKARIER, HUTCHCLIFFE HALL, CREEK TRANSPORT, OREFAX and NORMAN B. MacPHERSON, and we find it rather hard to understand how such major expenditures could be made on the conversion of these hulls to the forms that they took during the project, bearing in mind that their use was to be of such short duration. We suppose that this is only one of the unanswerable questions mired in the morass of the "Harbourgate" affair.

Yet another U.S. flag lake tanker has reached the end of her rope. This time it is DETROIT, the sole vessel of the fleet of Michigan Tankers Inc. This vessel, measuring 249.5 x 34.2 x 15.2, 1156 Gross, 895 Net, was what one might call a low-profile tanker and in fact she served at one time on the Erie Canal. She was built in 1915 by the Chatham Dock Yard at Chatham, England, as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary steam tanker named (a) SERVITOR. She was renamed (b) PULOE BRANI in 1923 and in 1926 came to the lakes for the McColl Bros. Ltd. Renamed (c) B. B. McCOLL in 1927, she was virtually destroyed by fire at Buffalo in 1928. She was rebuilt as a barge canal motorship in 1930 for Ohio Tankers Corp. and in 1931 became (d) A. J. PATMORE. She was damaged by an explosion in 1932 while unloading gasoline at Toronto and was rebuilt. She later passed to R.T.C. No. Eleven Corp., Lyndhurst, N.J., and went to the east coast, becoming (e) ROTARY in 1939. Requisitioned by the U.S. War Shipping Administration in 1942, she was given back her old name, becoming (f) A. J. PATMORE. She was bought in 1946 by the Reinauer interests on the U.S. east coast and was renamed (g) PEGGY REINAUER. Michigan Tankers brought her back to the lakes in 1953 and she was given her final name (h) DETROIT in 1955. She has since operated mainly on Lake Michigan and has proven very elusive for photographers, although on rare occasions she did stray up through the Soo. DETROIT was sold on August 12, 1975 to Hannah Inland Waterways Inc. and she was taken down the Illinois waterway to Lemont, Illinois, where she was cannibalized for parts for Hannah's other vessels. The hull is still there but we understand that Hannah has no intention of ever again using DETROIT either as a powered unit or as a tank barge.

The Shell salt water tanker NORTHERN SHELL has been retired and in mid-December sailed under her own power from London, England, to Bilbao, Spain, where she was turned over to shipbreakers. A not-infrequent visitor to the lakes, NORTHERN SHELL was built in 1954 at Glasgow by C. Connell and Company Ltd. and was originally named (a) TIBETAN. Although owned by Shell Canada Ltd., the 530-footer was registered at Hamilton, Bermuda. We understand that she was retired because she was simply too expensive to operate in these days of difficult business conditions, but that several prospective operators did look her over before her sale for scrapping.

We are pleased to hear that our good friend and fellow-member Capt. John Leonard has been appointed to the position of Master of the steamer PINEDALE for the 1976 season. He has served on many lake vessels and for many years was skipper of CHARLES DICK.

Speaking of CHARLES DICK, it looks more and more unlikely that the steam sandsucker will ever again be placed back in service. She is at present lying in the scrapyard at Ramey's Bend where she was put in 1975 after the Port Colborne city fathers declared her to be a public eyesore and asked that she be moved from the West Street wharf. We rather imagine that it will not be long before it is announced that she will be sold for scrap.

It appears that WILLIAM A. REISS will not remain in ordinary in 1976 as had originally been planned by her owners, Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton and Company. It will be recalled that during the summer of 1975 there had been plans made for refitting the steamer but that these plans were shelved because of the adverse economic conditions. However, after the loss of EDMUND FITZGERALD she was towed from Toledo to Cleveland where she is undergoing certain repair work prior to re-entering service. The REISS has not operated since the close of the 1974 season at which time Columbia purchased the ship from the Kinsman Marine Transit Company.

Speaking of the FITZGERALD, we have heard nothing further regarding her tragic loss. We do, however, have a correction on one point that appeared in these pages last month. We had mentioned that she cleared Silver Bay, Minnesota, on her final trip. In fact, she had loaded at the Burlington Northern dock at Superior, Wisconsin, and from there headed down Lake Superior to her doom. We doubt that much more will be heard until such time as the enquiry reconvenes in the spring, although Columbia has petitioned the Chippewa County probate court in Sault Ste. Marie to enter an order finding that the deaths of the crewmen of the FITZGERALD were due to drowning in Lake Superior and to so issue death certificates. Such action is required so that settlement of the estates of the various men may be expedited.

Meanwhile, we would remind readers that the version of the circumstances of the sinking which we recounted in last month's issue was purely speculation on our part, based on certain information which had been made public. It was by no means an official account of the accident. As a postscript to the story of the FITZGERALD, we should report that two battered lifeboats from the lost steamer were recently donated by Oglebay Norton and Company to Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites Inc. for display aboard the museum ship VALLEY CAMP at the Michigan Soo. The grisly remains of the FITZ are intended to honour the men who perished in her sinking as well as other lake crewmen who have lost their lives over the years.

The Lloyds Index for December 1975 shows Canada Steamship Lines' package freighter FORT CHAMBLY as clearing London for Gothenburg, Sweden, on December 12th, an additional notation bearing the comment that the ship was to be renamed CHAMBLY ERA. Hence it appears that the name change had not yet been effected and further that the addition of deck cranes was probably to be done at Gothenburg and not (as had earlier been reported) at Hamburg. Meanwhile certain press reports have indicated that FORT ST. LOUIS and ESKIMO will be joining FORT CHAMBLY in overseas service. We tend to doubt the veracity of these reports in that it was only recently that C.S.L. chartered FORT ST. LOUIS out to Newfoundland Steamships Ltd. for whom she was to operate year-round to Newfoundland.

Lloyds Index also carried a notice that WESTCLIFFE (sic.) cleared Kingston, Jamaica, on November 17 for Mobile, Alabama. Her owner was shown as Cayman Shipping Corp. Ltd., Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We were under the impression that the final 'E' had been removed from her name, but perhaps this is not the case as far as official records are concerned.

In an earlier issue we recorded the departure from the lakes of EMERALD, the former Paterson canaller LACHINEDOC (II) which, after her sale to buyers in the Emirate of Sharjah, loaded soya beans in Toronto for delivery to Belfast. We now learn that after unloading in the Ulster port, she proceeded to London, clearing that port on November 12, 1975 en route to an unidentified mid-Eastern destination. She was reported to have passed Suez on December 2nd. Meanwhile, a report appearing in the Globe and Mail (Toronto) on January 22nd indicates that six Persian Gulf states have reached agreement on the setting up of a $1.8 billion shipping enterprise to be known as the United Arab Shipping Company. The joint venture will include 26 vessels to be contributed by the Kuwait Shipping Company as well as 20 other ships from concerns in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar. We presume that this development will mean that EMERALD will shortly be a unit of the United Arab Shipping Company.

We have received a late report to the effect that the coaster GUARD MAVOLINE was sold to Mexican buyers in the fall of 1974 and has since been registered at Campeche, apparently under the name SUPERIOR. The 154-foot motorvessel (C.192759) which was built in 1941 at Glasgow, was latterly owned by the Rail and Water Terminal of Montreal Ltd., and was operated on the St. Lawrence and the east coast of Canada.

(Readers will recall numerous mentions in these pages of a firm styled Cogema which has been attempting to set up a ferry service across the St. Lawrence River to Matane. The company first sought to acquire the old Lake Michigan carferry GRAND RAPIDS and when they gave up on her they tried to buy FRENCH RIVER but backed out when the cost of converting her to a carferry became obvious. It is now reported that Cogema "will buy" the Canadian Pacific carferry INCAN ST. LAURENT (a close sister to INCAN SUPERIOR) which C.P. is presently operating in the area. The deal is to take effect in January 1977 and the Cogema service is to begin in March of that year, the vessel being renamed (b) ALEXANDRE LEBEL for her new duties. Although there are indications that Canadian National is now involved in ownership of Cogema, we still tend to wonder whether this service will ever "get off the ground".

Several C.S.L. self-unloaders are receiving repairs this winter. MANITOULIN, presently laid up at Humberstone, is having a large crease removed from her starboard waterline during the winter months. J. W. McGIFFIN, however, has much more serious problems. She is at the shipyard at Port Arthur to have repaired certain damage occasioned to her stern when she bumped the lockwall at the Soo. Shipyard workers will also try to remedy a very violent vibration which has recently made operation of the snub-nosed stemwinder extremely difficult.

Another vessel with repair problems is A. S. GLOSSBRENNER which holed herself while trying to dock for the winter at Port McNicoll on January 5th. The vessel struck bottom as she came alongside ALGOSOO just ahead of the elevator and began to take water on the starboard side. V. W. SCULLY, which was alongside the elevator at the time, was rapidly moved back to allow the unloading of GLOSSBRENNER. The grain cargo was apparently removed undamaged but it is reported that problems are being encountered in keeping the ship afloat. Were it not for the heavy ice that chokes the lower end of Georgian Bay at this time of year, we imagine that the ship would already have been towed to a shipyard. Under the circumstances, however, she will have to wait until the spring thaw. Damage appears to be rather extensive.

As of the time of writing, winter navigation continues on the lakes but increasing problems are being encountered with heavy ice. U.S. Steel is keeping ten vessels in operation, hopefully for the duration of the winter. A number of Canadian ships ran through January but the last of them, YANKCANUCK, ALGOWAY and FRONTENAC have now sought winter berths, the ice problems especially in the St. Clair River being too bad to allow further service in that area. Meanwhile, other U.S. carriers, namely the tug-barge PRESQUE ISLE and the Hannah tugs and oil barges, have encountered much difficulty. Serious troubles can be foreseen if the Hannah vessels are unable to continue delivering oil to Detroit Edison power generating plants.

Lay-up Listings

As usual during the winter months, we are pleased to report the listings of the various vessels laid up at certain Great Lakes ports. Our thanks go out to those members who have written to us passing along the information necessary to prepare this record. We have excluded from this listing tugs, ferries, workboats, and vessels engaged in winter operation.

Cleveland MARKHAM

WILLIS B. BOYER GOODTIME II ROBERT C. NORTON,

CHAMPLAIN HOFFMAN WILLIAM A. REISS

CHICAGO TRADER LYMAN W. C. RICHARDSON

JOSEPH H. FRANTZ MARINE FUEL II WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR.

Hamilton

BAY TRANSPORT H. M. GRIFFITH MAPLECLIFFE HALL

W. M. EDINGTON ISLAND TRANSPORT SCOTT MISENER

FERNDALE A. T. LAWSON PEERLESS

FORT WILLIAM LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL PINEDALE

FRANKCLIFFE HALL LEADALE POINTE NOIRE

FRENCH RIVER MANTADOC SENNEVILLE

Sarnia

ALGOWAY HILDA MARJANNE LAKESHELL

ARCTIC TRADER HUDSON TRANSPORT RALPH MISENER

CHEMICAL TRANSPORT IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD OTTERCLIFFE HALL

ELMBRANCH IMPERIAL LONDON SCOTIA II

FUEL MARKETER IMPERIAL SARNIA FRANK A. SHERMAN

HAMILDOC INLAND TRANSPORT STADACONA

Humberstone

AGAWA CANYON GEORGIAN BAY NORTHERN VENTURE

AVONDALE GLENEAGLES QUEDOC

CANADOC HENNEPIN RED WING

CHARLES DICK MANITOULIN PETER ROBERTSON

Port Colborne MR. NEIL

ALGORAIL HOCHELAGA SEAWAY QUEEN

CANADIAN CENTURY JOHN O. McKELLAR TADOUSSAC

CANADIAN LEADER SAMUEL MATHER TELESIS

JACQUES GRAVEL THOMAS E. MILLSOP TIMESAVER II

Port Weller Thorold Welland

WHEAT KING ROYALTON TARANTAU

Port McNicoll Contrecoeur

ALGOCEN A. S. GLOSSBRENNER LAWRENDOC

ALGOSOO V. W. SCULLY MONDOC

PRINDOC

Quebec

CASTOR CONSOL FORT PREVEL NICOLET

N. A. COMEAU GASPESIEN ORLEANS

EIDER LA MARJOLAINE JEAN RICHARD

FORT GASPE LOUTRE CONSOL SIEUR d'AMOURS

FORT KENT MADELEINE SKUA

FORT MINGAN MENIER CONSOL TROIS-RIVIERES

Montreal EASTERN SHELL RIMOUSKI

BAIE ST. PAUL FROBISHER TRANSPORT SAGUENAY

BAYSHELL IMPERIAL LACHINE SILVER ISLE

BLACK BAY IMPERIAL VERDUN EDOUARD SIMARD

CEDARBRANCH MURRAY BAY SIMCOE

COMEAUDOC NIPIGON BAY TEXACO WARRIOR

Sorel PERE MARQUETTE 21

BAFFIN TRANSPORT LAKE TRANSPORT PUFFIN

BEAUPORT LAVIOLETTE TRANS ST. LAURENT

DETECTOR LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY VILLE MARIE

FORT LENNOX MONTMAGNY WILLOWBRANCH

* The listing for the port of Sorel does not include certain vessels which have lain there since the close of the North Traverse dredging operations.

The Niagara River Line - What Might Have Been

It is now eighteen years since Torontonians have been able to enjoy the steamer ride across Lake Ontario to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Queenston. Yes, it was on Labour Day 1957 that CAYUGA, the last of the Niagara steamers, made her last revenue voyage. True, during 1974 two hovercraft did make the crossing on a more-or-less regular basis but the service was not successful and was withdrawn completely after one of the vessels was involved in a rather serious accident off Toronto. Since the retirement of CAYUGA, no other operator has come forward to place on the route any ship capable of carrying a large number of passengers and we rather doubt that any such service will ever again operate.

But ye Ed. has always dreamed of running such a service and doubtless many other fans have had the same dreams. Funny thing, though - we are not the only ones who have had dreams about the Niagara service that did not come true. In their own days, both the Niagara Navigation Company and Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. planned to build ships for the route that were never actually built. Most everybody knows of the famous CHICORA, CIBOLA, CORONA, CHIPPEWA and CAYUGA, and the river ferry ONGIARA, but how many people have ever heard of the other two ships that never came to be?

It was back in July 1912 that the Railway and Marine World reported that some few months earlier the Niagara Navigation Company had retained the famous marine architect Frank E. Kirby of Detroit to draw up plans for another new vessel for the Toronto - Niagara service. The line's newest vessel at that time was CAYUGA which had entered service in 1906. But only preliminary work was started on the planned new steamer, the work being interrupted by the purchase of Niagara Navigation in 1912 by the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company Ltd. Hardly had this merger been concluded when in 1913 Richelieu and Ontario itself was swallowed up in the formation of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., and the corporate confusion in this period was undoubtedly great enough for the officers of the firms involved to leave aside for the moment any thought of expanding an excursion service on Lake Ontario. And then along came the war and all such thoughts were quickly dismissed for the duration.

Then in 1918 the war came to an end and the then-operators of the Niagara service, C.S.L., once again began to think of the possibility of expanding the service. The Canadian Railway and Marine World of September 1920 carried a report that on August 25th, 1920 Mr. J. W. Norcross, C.S.L. President, made the following announcement at Toronto:

"The plans and specifications for the new steamship for the Toronto -Niagara River Line are completed and the steel has been ordered. It is the company's intention to have the construction commenced at once and the ship ready for the summer season of 1921. This is to be the first of the new series of passenger ships that Canada Steamship Lines contemplates building building, and will embody all the best points of modern construction. The principal dimensions will be 410 feet long, by a width of 70 feet over the guards and her carrying capacity will be 4,000 persons, which is twice the present carrying capacity of the CAYUGA on the same run. The entire construction of the ship will be of steel and no wood will be used, the interior finish being of pressed steel and the decorations after the most improved style. There will be four decks and also a very large restaurant and special attention will be paid to the allotment of dancing space so that ample room will be provided for all. There will be a spacious moving picture theatre and continuous entertainments will be put on. There will also be a children's playground with competent attendants in charge, which will leave the mothers free from the responsibility of watching their little ones. The ship will be propelled by geared turbine engines of the latest design and they will develop a shaft horsepower of over 6,000 enabling the development of a speed of 22 knots an hour. Special attention has been paid to all details and arrangements for the accommodation of the public. The deck space, designs and construction will be not only superior to, but far in advance of, anything that is now afloat or under construction for passenger carrying on fresh water."

The journal then added its own thoughts as follows:

"The plans have been prepared by A. Angstrom, naval architect, Toronto. No announcement has been made as to where the ship will be built, but it will almost certainly be by one of the shipbuilding companies which are being merged into the British Empire Steel Corporation, probably the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company, Collingwood, Ont. On account of the Welland Canal limitations, the ship, if built at Collingwood, would have to be brought through the canal in sections, probably on their sides, and even that might not be practicable and it is more likely that the fabricating will be done at Collingwood and the assembling, etc. at Toronto."

The steamer would have been a very impressive craft if she had ever been built. She was to have been fitted with three funnels and if she had come to fruition she would have been the only Lake Ontario passenger vessel so fitted. But unfortunately business conditions conspired to force the abandonment of the steamer's construction. Traffic on the cross-lake route began to drop off alarmingly and the other Niagara steamers were more than capable of handling the flow of excursionists.

While it is true that if the vessel had been constructed she might have stayed in service a bit longer than CAYUGA (which was retired by C.S.L. at the end of the 1951 season and only in 1954 reactivated by the Cayuga Steamship Company), her advent would probably have spelled the end of the 1896-built sidewheeler CORONA. Perhaps in the long run it was just as good that the fleet stayed as it was. But then again, it's sometimes fun to dream about what might have been .....

Ship of the Month No. 54

City of Ottawa

Much has been written over the years concerning the Anchor Line's famous "triplets" INDIA, CHINA and JAPAN which operated on the upper lakes passenger service between Buffalo and Duluth. But many people resident in the Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River areas of Canada remember these vessels best for the years after they came into Canadian registry, operating respectively as CITY OF OTTAWA, CITY OF MONTREAL and CITY OF HAMILTON. It is because very little has been written about these ships in their Canadian service that we have chosen CITY OF OTTAWA as our feature this issue.

CITY OF OTTAWA is shown in the York Street slip at Toronto about 1924. The fantail visible at the far left belongs to MAPLEBRANCH.CITY OF OTTAWA was originally built in 1871 as INDIA (U.S.100008). She was constructed at Buffalo, New York, by the King Iron Works with Gibson and Craig as the sub-contractors. Designed as a combination passenger and package freight carrier, her hull was of iron up to the main deck while the 'tween decks, topsides and cabins were of wood. She measured 210.0 feet in length, 32.6 feet in the beam and 14.0 feet in depth, her tonnage being listed as 1239 Gross, 932 Net. She was built to the order of J.C. and E.T. Evans and the Anchor Line, the latter being the popular name for the Erie and Western Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The steamer was registered at Erie.

INDIA was a propellor and was powered by engines similar to those installed in many steamers of the period. She was fitted with fore-and-aft compound machinery with cylinders of 22 and 44 inches and a stroke of 36 inches. This power plant gave her Nominal Horsepower of 510 and an Indicated Horsepower of 405.

INDIA, CHINA and JAPAN all appeared from the builder's yard the same year (1871) and they made quite an impression on the travelling public. Long gone were the palace steamers of the 1850's and voyagers had once more got accustomed to the plain and simple furnishings found on the small propellors that replaced them. But the Anchor Line's triplets brought once again a touch of the elegant to lake travel.

From the exterior, the ships were nothing extraordinary although they were impressive. Their hulls, green up to the main deck and white above, were built with a graceful sheer. Side ports were fitted for the movement of freight. On the promenade deck was carried the passenger cabin, a long wooden structure which ran from far forward almost to the fantail. It came to a point at the forward end and over this point was carried a balcony-like bridge with wings extending out to the sides of the ship. Just aft of the bridge was an ornate octagonal pilothouse (quite frequently partially hidden by a large canvas dodger or weathercloth strung up on the bridge) and aft of that again was the texas cabin containing the officers' quarters. Behind the texas on the boat deck was a rather large skylight over the main cabin and on this passengers could sit in relative comfort, protected all the while from the elements by a large canvas awning. Each of the ships boasted a very tall and heavy fidded gaff-rigged foremast on which sail was originally carried. The funnel, tall, beautifully raked, and topped with a double cowl, was carried well aft and just ahead of it was a rather thin and short mainmast which apparently served no useful purpose. Six lifeboats were carried, three on each side of the boat deck.

The three ships did have one remarkable feature which was visible from a distance. Instead of the usual ornamental ball or eagle, each vessel carried atop her pilothouse a lifesize wooden likeness of a native of the country for which the ship was named. These statues were the treasured trademarks of the Anchor Line triplets and were retained until the vessels received new pilothouses in later years.

The passenger cabin of each ship was a veritable palace compared to other ships then operating. The staterooms opened off a long open passageway in which the dining tables were set at mealtimes. At the forward end of the cabin was the men's smoking room, while at the after end of the passenger area the cabin opened out into a spacious and luxuriously appointed ladies' cabin, complete with grand piano. The woodwork up to the level of the clerestory was varnished, while the deckhead was painted white. Woodcarvings were in evidence everywhere. The entire cabin was fitted with carpeting and an elegant companionway led down to the main deck where the purser's office was located. As usual for the period, bathroom facilities were not provided in the staterooms but each room did boast "running water" in that reservoirs mounted over the sinks were filled daily by the stewardesses and after that gravity did the rest. The galley was located on the main deck and the food (of excellent repute) was brought to the cabin by means of a primitive lift.

In 1872 the Anchor Line, along with the Union Steamboat Company of the New York and Lake Erie Railroad (later known as the Erie Railroad), formed a pool service known as the Lake Superior Transit Company to operate vessels between Buffalo and Lake Superior ports. INDIA was one of the Anchor Line steamers placed on the route in 1872. However, as poor business conditions prevailed in 1873 and 1874 INDIA did not operate in the pool during those years and probably spent much of her time laid up. She appears not to have re-entered service for the Lake Superior Transit Company until 1878. From then until the pool service was dissolved in 1892, INDIA was a very popular steamer on the run.

After 1892 INDIA continued in the Buffalo - Lake Superior service but under Anchor Line management. She ran opposite JAPAN on the Duluth route, each ship making a round trip every two weeks. There were scheduled way calls at Erie, Cleveland, Detroit, Mackinac Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Marquette and Hancock. CHINA during this period was on the Buffalo to Chicago service.

But the gravy days for the iron triplets were drawing to a close. The Anchor Line was doing a roaring business and the three small steamers just could not carry enough passengers or freight. At the turn of the century the company began to make plans for a new series of passenger ships, 340-foot steel vessels with much space for package freight. These new ships were named TIONESTA, JUNIATA and OCTORARA and they entered service in 1903, 1905 and 1910 respectively. Thus CHINA was withdrawn in 1904, INDIA in 1906 and JAPAN in 1910, although each may have been used for a short period in a special cruise service before being sold out of the fleet.

All three were sold to the same buyer, a Canadian firm known as the Montreal and Lake Erie Steamship Company Ltd., Toronto. A large interest in this company was held by Sigmund Samuel, a very prominent Toronto steel dealer and philanthropist. The old Anchor Liners came over in turn as they were replaced and in 1906 it was INDIA's turn to be transferred to Canadian registry. Enrolled at Ottawa as C.122018, she was renamed (b) CITY OF OTTAWA and was placed in the passenger and freight service between Montreal, Toronto, and Lake Erie ports. On this service she was joined by her sisters which were renamed CITY OF HAMILTON and CITY OF MONTREAL for the route. All three lost their "birdcage" pilothouses at this time, and hence also the famous statues formerly perched thereon, and they were fitted with more modern round-front pilothouses topped with the usual open bridge. The monkey's island was surrounded by a very high closed wooden rail and over the top a colourful awning was often spread to provide a bit of shade. In the case of CITY OF OTTAWA, two holes were cut in the rail to provide vision of the foredeck.

The Montreal and Lake Erie Steamship Company Ltd. apparently had some sort of working arrangement with the Merchants Montreal Line, a package freight pool service operated for many years by the Jaques family interests of Montreal. CITY OF OTTAWA was given the usual Merchants Montreal funnel colours, white with a black top. Her topsides were white as were her cabins while the hull below the main deck was a dark colour, probably either green or black. We have seen no actual description of the hull colour and we rather doubt that there are any observers still around who might remember. The name "Merchants Montreal Line" was carried in bold letters on the bows. Remeasured on entering Canadian registry, CITY OF OTTAWA was now shown as 1529 Gross and 838 Net.

The year 1913 was perhaps the most eventful in lake history, for on June 17. 1913 the incorporation of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, took place. The company was formed by a number of prominent gentlemen who had been working for years to acquire control of many large Canadian vessel operations. A number of mergers took place but the final amalgamation was the most spectacular, involving the giant Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company Ltd. In this step, Merchants Montreal was brought into the fold and in this manner CITY OF OTTAWA and CITY OF HAMILTON became units of C.S.L. CITY OF MONTREAL did not make it into the merger at this time because she had been damaged by fire early in 1913 and the hull was sold prior to the incorporation of the new firm. Strangely enough, the name of the Montreal and Lake Erie Steamship Company Ltd. was continued as the actual owner of both OTTAWA and HAMILTON until about 1915.

C.S.L. placed CITY OF OTTAWA and her sister on the Montreal - Toronto -Hamilton express package freight line, each ship making a round trip between those ports once a week. Passengers were not carried after the C.S.L. takeover but for the remainder of their first year in C.S.L. colours, the ships kept their passenger cabins. One gentleman who served on CITY OF HAMILTON that year recalled that each of the crewmen had his own private cabin, making use of the passenger staterooms.

But very soon both vessels were cut down to a rig more suitable for their trade. The pilothouse and forward end of the main cabin (the section that had housed the men's smoking room) were retained, the latter providing the accommodation for the officers since the texas on the upper deck was removed. The after end of the main cabin remained to house the galley and crew's quarters but the entire midship section of the deckhouse was cut away. A small doghouse was built on deck midway between the second and third cargo ports and the space between this and the after house seems to have been used mainly for bunker coal which had overflowed the bunker hatch. Two lifeboats only were retained and these were carried one on each on deck between the forward cabin and the doghouse. The heavy fidded mast was replaced by a shorter and lighter pole mast located right behind the pilothouse, while a new and very thin main mast was stepped immediately forward of the funnel. The appearance of the pilothouse was greatly improved by the addition of a sunvisor and by painting the windowframes white, the latter action having the effect of making the windows look a bit smaller. The rebuild reduced her tonnage to 1323 Gross, 671 Net.

CITY OF OTTAWA and CITY OF HAMILTON remained on the lower lake express run until the mid-1920's, providing a fast and reliable scheduled service. But eventually they were replaced by a new fleet of steel "City" class package freight canallers and their days of usefulness to C.S.L. came to an end.

CITY OF OTTAWA was sold in 1928 to Charles F. Mann of Marine City, Michigan and he returned her to U.S. registry, giving her back her original name INDIA. She was registered at Port Huron but at the time of the transfer it appears that the officials did not bother to remeasure her. The U.S. Merchant Vessels listing of 1928 shows her with exactly the same tonnage as was shown at the time of her building, despite the extensive rebuild which she had undergone while under the Canadian flag.

But in 1929 INDIA came back to Canada. She was bought by the Algoma Steamship Company of Hamilton and was renamed (d) SAULT STE. MARIE. Her new owner placed her on the package freight service between Toronto and the Lakehead and she spent the rest of the year on this route. However, the service was not successful and again in 1930 she returned to U.S. registry as (e) INDIA when she was sold for $7,000 at a bailiff's sale in Detroit to the Pine Ridge Coal Company, Detroit. She was enrolled at Detroit, her official owner being Thomas H. Candler, proprietor of Pine Ridge Coal. She was cut down to a barge, 814 Gross and 805 Net, and was used in the coal trade.

In 1934 INDIA was sold to C.W. Bryson of Cleveland and he formed the India Navigation Company to operate the vessel. His other vessel at the time was the 1918-vintage 172-foot ocean-going steamer MARITA, a rather strange looking ship that had been built as a submarine chaser and which Bryson, under the name of the Copper Steamship Company, operated in the steel trade between Cleveland and Monroe, Michigan. MARITA came to the lakes in 1930 and it seems reasonable to assume that Bryson used INDIA on the same route in tow of MARITA.

But then came World War II and the need for every available bit of operable tonnage. The U.S. government in 1942 was requisitioning vessels for salt water service. At this time the U.S. Maritime Commission bought both MARITA and INDIA, the latter with the idea of rebuilding her and, presumably installing engines once again. INDIA was towed to salt water via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers but she was never used again. When she reached New Orleans it was decided that she was not suitable for rebuilding and she was abandoned along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, above New Orleans. INDIA was out of documentation by 1944 and it is believed that she was broken up about 1945.

Deaths

We would be remiss if we did not mention in these pages the passing of two of our members. Mr. George Giasson of Wyandotte, Michigan, passed away on September 6, 1975 while Mr. Walter H. Frumveller of Port Huron, Michigan, died suddenly on January 14, 1976. Both were enthusiastic supporters of the Toronto Marine Historical Society and we shall miss them.

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Scanner, v. 8, n. 5 (February 1976)


Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Lay-up Listings; The Niagara River Line - What Might Have Been; Ship of the Month No. 54; Deaths