Friday, February 3rd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. John Lang will present four films dealing with major passenger vessels including QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 and ROTTERDAM.
Friday, March 3rd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Program to be announced.
The Editor's Notebook
Our December Meeting featured slides by Carl Ehrke including views taken on the last transatlantic trip of LEONARDO DA VINCI and one of the final voyages of S. A. VAAL. Our thanks to Carl for his efforts in presenting a most interesting program.
We hope that all or members and their families have enjoyed a happy and safe Holiday Season. Now that the festivities are over and we all have a bit more time on our hands, we would ask that those members living near lake ports take a run down to the harbour and note which ships are wintering there. We would appreciate receiving your listings of winter lay-ups as soon as possible so that we may include them in our February and March issues. We would normally run such lists in the January issue as well but that is nearly impossible due to late-season navigation.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Steven Radovan of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to David Brain of Mississauga, to Robert Cramer of Ingleside, Ontario, and to Frank Kovach of Thunder Bay. We are always pleased to welcome new members to the fold, so if you should know of anyone who might be interested in joining T.M.H.S., please show them "Scanner" and suggest that they contact us.
A merger of the Medusa Corporation of Cleveland and the Oglebay Norton Company has been approved in principle by the shareholders of the two firms. The transaction, valued at approximately $114 million, will see Oglebay Norton shareholders receive 1.25 common shares of Medusa for each of their O.N. Co. shares. The net result of the deal as far as boatwatchers are concerned will be that Medusa's bulk cement carrier MEDUSA CHALLENGER as well as the idle C. H. McCULLOUGH JR. will be in the same house as the fleet of the Columbia Transportation Division of Oglebay Norton. As far as can presently be ascertained, the fleets will operate separately and there is unlikely to be any outwardly visible sign of the merger.
An interesting sidelight to this merger lies in the fact that Medusa Corp. directors turned down an offer of purchase which was made by Moore McCormack Resources Inc. The proposed $97 million deal would have seen Medusa's lake shipping operations and those of the Interlake Steamship Company (a Moore McCormack subsidiary) brought under the same management.
Hull 63 of Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd., the bulk carrier ARCTIC being built for a consortium of Canadian operators who will use her on the summer run to northern waters, was floated from the graving dock "shelf" on December 11th and moored along the face of the drydock wharf. The move was accomplished with the assistance of the tugs JAMES E. McGRATH and G. W. ROGERS, the latter being brought from Toronto for the occasion. ARCTIC is a most unusual vessel in that she is specifically designed for operation in heavy arctic ice and has a bow constructed accordingly. Strangely enough, she does not have a square stern but rather a more conventionally rounded one. On her deck are mounted extremely large and powerful cranes for cargo handling. She will be ready for operation about May 1978.
Port Weller will be a busy place for a number of years to come thanks to orders placed with the shipyard by its parent firm, Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. It was announced some months ago that the yard had been given a contract for yet another maximum-sized self-unloader similar to CANADIAN OLYMPIC, this boat to be constructed as Hull 64 and to be ready for delivery in May 1979. On November 30 it was announced that the yard's Hull 65 will be another vessel of the same type for Upper Lakes, this hull to be delivered in December 1979. The total cost of the two new boats will approximate $66 million.
This is the new JEAN PARISIEN, seen below Lock 7 while upbound in ther Welland Canal on her maiden voyage, December 16, 1977. Photo by Alfred F Sagon-King.The second of two self-unloaders built in 1977 for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. was delivered in December, this being JEAN PARISIEN which came from the Davie shipyard at Lauzon, Quebec. She made her first trip up the Welland Canal on December 16 and thus followed into service the Collingwood-built LOUIS R. DESMARAIS. JEAN PARISIEN does not have the special icebreaking bow or flared forecastle which the DESMARAIS has been given and is in most respects similar to the earlier J. W. McGIFFIN and H. M. GRIFFITH.
CARTIERCLIFFE HALL, originally designed to be operative this autumn, saw only limited service due to mechanical problems and the lateness of the season. She ventured only as far as Prescott during December and there she is to spend the winter. MONTCLIFFE HALL and STEELCLIFFE HALL should both begin operation during 1978.
After many months of deliberation, the City of Detroit has awarded to Peterson Builders of Sturgeon Bay a contract for a 77-foot aluminum-hulled, highspeed fireboat. The vessel, to be capable of operation in heavy ice conditions, will draw less than six feet of water. Her pumps will be able to discharge 9,700 gallons of water per minute and she will also be equipped for the use of foam for petroleum fires. This boat will, of course, be the long-planned replacement for the since-retired steamer JOHN KENDALL.
The tanker FUEL MARKETER (II) which at present is laid up in the turning basin at Toronto, has been sold by Shell Canada Ltd. to Ship Repairs and Supplies Ltd., Toronto, a firm which in the past has operated three tankers, namely GULF SENTINEL, CONGAR (I) and CONGAR (II) under its affiliate, Johnstone Shipping Ltd. We understand that the firm purchased FUEL MARKETER with the idea of operating her but that once she was examined, she was found to be in no better condition than CONGAR (II) which earlier in 1977 was sold for scrapping due to the large number of dollars needed to put her into operating condition (she needed extensive boiler repairs). Ship Repairs will either scrap FUEL MARKETER themselves or else send her to Hamilton for cutting up at Strathearne Terminals. Meanwhile, however, it is said that the company has been in touch with Marine Industries in connection with the possible purchase of the idle CEDARBRANCH (II). If Ship Repairs and/or Johnstone Shipping acquires this motortanker, it is likely that she will be renamed (b) CONGAR (III).
In the November issue of this journal, we reported that the American Steamship Company had sold its self-unloading steamer CONSUMERS POWER (III) to the Erie Sand Steamship Company and that the vessel would operate for the remainder of the 1977 season under charter to BoCo. We have since learned that although Erie and BoCo had held discussions on the subject of such a sale, the deal was never finalized due to the inability to reach agreement on price. Hence CONSUMERS POWER is still a unit of the American Steamship Company and presumably will continue to operate as such. CONSUMERS POWER dates back to 1927 and sailed previously as (a) GEORGE M. HUMPHREY (I)(45), (b) CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN (48) and (c) ADAM E. CORNELIUS (II)(58). She is most famous for her June 15, 1943 sinking in the Straits of Mackinac after a collision with the tinstacker D. M. CLEMSON.
The sandsucker C. W. CADWELL has recently been moved from the foot of Bathhurst Street in Toronto to a berth in the turning basin alongside FUEL MARKETER. The 66-year-old former steamer has not operated for several years despite the installation of used diesel engines and it seems that she is unlikely to see any further use. The odd part about the move is that it was instigated by the Harbourfront Park authorities who allegedly complained that the diminutive CADWELL was blocking the view of the bay from its Bathurst Quay area! This is the sort of tripe which the taxpaying public has been fed by Harbourfront ever since the park was formed a few years ago by the federal government as an election plum. If Harbourfront were really interested in making waterfront facilities available to the public, we should have expected it to obtain the CADWELL (whose owners would love to dispose of the boat and have announced that they would like to see her used as a museum facility of some kind) and open her for public inspection. This would have made a real contribution to the public enjoyment of the harbour. Instead, the public has watched its tax dollars being flushed away on the construction of an unnecessary and useless drawbridge across the slip between Piers 4 and 5. The mind boggles at the ability of government officials to confuse their priorities.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority has awarded to E. S. Fox Ltd. of Welland a $2.1 million contract for the construction of the first two prototype "shunters" for use on the Welland Canal. The high-powered platforms will be ready for use in the spring and will be used for testing only for the first two years. Present plans are for the shunters to be tried out on an old laker (PETER ROBERTSON, perhaps?) in 1978 and on a maximum-sized vessel in 1979. Further shunters will be ordered at the end of the test period only if it is then believed that their use will effectively reduce passage time for large ships in the canal. Whereas it was earlier believed that the shunters would be self-controlled, it now appears that plans are for them to be controlled from the bridge of the vessel to which assistance is given.
December 2, 1977 was the date of the official opening of Ideal Ship Repairs Ltd. of St. Catharines, a company formed earlier in the year to provide an alternative to other ship repairers already established in the Welland Canal area. Ideal is owned jointly by the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd., Westdale Shipping Ltd. and the Soo River Company Ltd. and it is probable that most of its work will involve the servicing of ships operated by these companies.
Contrary to reports appearing elsewhere recently, Westdale Shipping's self-unloader FERNDALE (II) will not be retired at this time and, in fact, is scheduled to undergo considerable repair work during the winter months. FERNDALE is laid up at Toronto at present. However, back in our October issue, we did mention that Westdale had given thought to the retirement of one of its veteran self-unloaders. The boat to which we were referring was the 67-year-old LEADALE and we are still hearing comments to the effect that she may not operate in 1978. LEADALE is laid up at Toronto with a storage cargo of soya beans for Victory Mills.
Meanwhile, Westdale Shipping Ltd. has sold its idle PINEDALE to Pitts Engineering Construction Ltd., Toronto, the sale being concluded during November. We understand that Pitts intends to use PINEDALE as a breakwater in connection with a construction contract in the Lake Huron area. Incidentally, observers will have noticed that the dust-catching apparatus which was installed on PINEDALE several years ago for the cement trade has since been removed from the retired steamer and placed aboard FERNDALE.
At last, details of the sale of the cruise ship LOWELL THOMAS EXPLORER are coming to light but, as a result of subsequent events, the matter is now of academic interest only. The sale of the vessel at public auction took place at Montreal on November 14 at which time a Liberian firm, whose name has variously been reported as either Throughfun Corp. or Thoroughfun Corp. of Monrovia, acquired the boat for $370,000 from the creditors of Midwest Cruises Inc. of Panama. The Liberian firm was, in fact, a cover for two Canadian companies, namely Mount Royal Marine Repairs Ltd. and Clipper Ship Supply Ltd., both of Montreal, who jointly purchased the vessel. It was in this way that she came by her new name of ROYAL CLIPPER. The steamer was refitted and a crew was brought to Canada for her. She was scheduled to depart Montreal on December 8 for Spain where she was to have embarked passengers for a Bahamas cruise.
However, in the wee small hours of the morning of December 6th, a fire broke out in the engineroom of ROYAL CLIPPER. Fed by a fresh load of bunker oil, the fire was unsuccessfully fought by the crew who were shortly evacuated in favour of Montreal municipal firemen. The latter poured water on the fire for some five hours but by the time the fire was brought under control, it had spread throughout the ship. At about 8:30 a.m., ROYAL CLIPPER rolled inward toward the pier and sank.
The day following the fire, an explosion of some sort occurred within the burned-out hulk and ROYAL CLIPPER slid over even further so that she lay almost on her beam ends. The remains of the vessel will have to be removed as they present an obstruction where they lie, but the future appears to hold nothing but the scrapyard for the ship as damage is so severe that repair would seem to be out of the question. It is expected that McAllister Towing and Salvage Ltd. will likely get the salvage contract.
Verreault Navigation Inc. of Les Mechins, Quebec, has been carrying out dredging operations at Thunder Bay using its dredge I.V. NO. 4, the self-propelled spoil scows I.V. NO. 9 and I.V. NO. 14, and the tug DENISE V. (formerly the famous JAMES WHALEN). Verreault has, however, come under severe criticism from many sources. The criticism centres around dredging methods used, the fact that non-union crews are being employed on the project, and the argument that the job should have been awarded to one of the local dredging contractors. The four Verreault boats passed up the Welland Canal in convoy en route to Thunder Bay on October 23rd.
The big J. P. Porter Company Ltd. suction dredge SHUNIAH, which has not been active for several years, was put to work during the month of December on the dredging of the lower harbour at Port Weller. The 125-foot SHUNIAH dates back to 1910 when she was built at Toronto by the Polson Iron Works Ltd.
The tanker currently being built off-lakes for Cleveland Tankers Inc. will be christened GEMINI and will thus continue the fleet's policy of naming its boats after "heavenly bodies". We are still led to believe that GEMINI will be more traditional in design and appearance than the two powered barges, SATURN and JUPITER, but we are not sure exactly what this might mean. Most certainly, she will not be a MERCURY, PLEIADES, COMET or ROCKET.
The clearing of salt water ships from the lakes in December was a particularly frustrating job for the Seaway Authority this time around. The St. Lawrence River section of the Seaway was scheduled to close December 15 but in greater numbers than ever before, salties continued to pour into the lakes until the last moment, knowing full well that they had no chance of getting out by the announced closing date. With the water temperature hovering around the freezing point and with much ice already forming in the channels, S.L.S.A. officials had a number of anxious moments. The rush of salties trying to clear the lakes left pilots much in demand and some boats were forced to lie at anchor for many days, particularly at Port Colborne, waiting for their turn to get a pilot. The lower section of the system was finally closed on December 27 as the last downbound salty was cleared.
One salt water vessel that did not clear the Seaway and, in fact, had no intention of doing so, was the sand carrier ESPERANCE III which was headed for Toledo. At the time of this writing, we are not aware of whether she has been bought or chartered by a lake company, but it seems obvious that she will be used on Lake Erie.
The bunkering barge IMPERIAL VERDUN, held in reserve as spare boat at Montreal for several seasons due to a decrease in the port's bunkers requirements, was back in service briefly late in the 1977 season. Instead of using her own outboard power units, however, she was towed around the harbour by a Techno Marine tug. Imperial Oil Ltd. normally uses only IMPERIAL LACHINE in its Montreal bunkering service.
During the past month or so, we have been hearing many rumours concerning the proposed merger of two Canadian lake shipping companies but as yet there has been no formal announcement from either of the firms alleged to be involved. Several sources have identified one of the companies as the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. but for the present, our readers will just have to guess at the identity of the other organization, as we have been doing ourselves ever since word of the "deal" was first heard.
Meanwhile, we have been pleased to hear that Q & O appears to have shelved plans to retire HERON BAY, PIC RIVER and BLACK RIVER. The rather elderly vessels, the former dating back to 1906 and the latter two to 1896, were the subjects of many rumours earlier in the 1977 season. We understand that considerable difficulty has been encountered recently with the boilers of SHELTER BAY (II) and when we heard that she was to winter at Prescott instead of her usual berth at Toronto, we were fearful for her future. Our fears were somewhat allayed, however, when SHELTER BAY arrived back in Toronto on December 31st and laid up light in the channel just outside the turning basin. It is possible that work may be done on her during the winter months. SHELTER BAY's boilers came to her in 1966 from BAYTON and were far from new at the time of their installation.
Some of our readers may not have noticed the change that has come over the Q & O motorship THOROLD (IV) since her acquisition by the Canadian fleet. When operating earlier as GOSFORTH and, indeed, up until this year as THOROLD, the vessel carried two rather heavy masts, each equipped with cargo booms, which sprouted from deckhouses. Although the houses still remain, the masts and booms have since disappeared and a new foremast has been fitted at the break of the forecastle. The change makes THOROLD look somewhat more the part of the bulk carrier she now is.
Whereas THOROLD has lost her deck equipment, N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd. have gone in the other direction with their motorship SOODOC (II). This carrier, a 1976 product of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., was built without cargo-handling equipment on deck but whilst overseas during the summer of 1977 was fitted with rather large cranes mounted on pedestals. SOODOC will apparently spend much of her time carrying assorted cargoes on salt water and, in fact, is engaged in deep sea service this winter, having left the lakes in mid-December with a cargo of steel consigned to Vancouver.
The month of December saw, at long last, an end of the labour problems in the northern U.S. iron ore mines and, as the various companies concluded settlement with the respective locals of the United Steelworkers of America, the many ore carriers idled since the outset of the strike in August began to fit out and re-enter service. While the season was too late for all of the boats to be reactivated, most of the American operators brought out the majority of their vessels and many of them have plans to run through January and into February if possible in order to fulfill tonnage obligations to the mills whose stockpiles have dropped to a dangerously low level. In order to facilitate the movement of late-operating boats, the U.S. Corps of Engineers has agreed to keep both the Poe and MacArthur Locks in operation at the Soo.
A few Canadian fleets are expected to keep running through the winter as well. One of those which has announced such intentions is Imperial Oil Ltd. which will keep tankers running out of Sarnia as long as possible.
In an effort to aid winter navigation, the U.S. Coast Guard once again has brought to the lakes the large icebreaker WESTWIND which, with MACKINAW and several other units, should be able to keep channels passably navigable. WESTWIND, however, ran aground at the mouth of the St. Mary's River near DeTour on December 13 and holed herself rather badly. Quite naturally, the accident did not receive much publicity and at the present we are not aware of the extent of damage nor where WESTWIND was taken for repairs.
One of the vessels which was reactivated following settlement of the iron ore miners' strike was MAXINE, formerly THE INTERNATIONAL. Her new owner, the E.D.C. Holding Company, had rechristened her on October 18 but she was not in operation at the time due to the labour unrest. Continued operation of this handsome steamer seems to be assured in that her owner has planned considerable modernization work on the plant of the Wisconsin Steel Works which was purchased earlier in the year from International Harvester in the same deal which saw THE INTERNATIONAL change houseflags.
In these days of late-season navigation, few are the lake boat crews who manage to make it home to spend Christmas with their families. Those aboard several Canadian boats spent a particularly dismal Christmas, however, as a result of a labour dispute involving the operators of the Burlington Beach Road lift bridge over the entrance to Hamilton harbour. On Wednesday, December 21st, the bridge operators walked off the job in a salary disagreement with the federal Treasury Board. Supplies could only be taken out to the boats, most of which had coal cargoes for the steel mills, by a small launch which could squeeze under the lowered bridge but which had to cease its runs when inclement weather set in. After many days riding at anchor, the vessels were dispersed to other ports, the possibility of settlement of the dispute appearing to be remote. RIMOUSKI was allowed to enter the harbour at Hamilton because she was taking water as a result of an earlier grounding near Alexandria Bay, New York, and two other boats also were permitted to pass the bridge. LAKE NIPIGON and another vessel were diverted to Prescott while TARANTAU, MANITOULIN and JEAN PARISIEN were sent to Port Colborne for lay-up. LOUIS R. DESMARAIS was sent to Toronto where she unloaded her coal and then also headed for Port Colborne. GEORGE G. HENDERSON, ISLAND TRANSPORT, NORTHERN VENTURE and CANADIAN CENTURY, the latter two with coal cargoes, laid up in Toronto. With ship traffic to Hamilton's mills at a standstill, the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority decided that there was no point in trying to keep the Welland Canal open and accordingly the canal was shut down prior to the end of the year.
Meanwhile, with anchored vessels sent elsewhere and the canal closed, there is no ship traffic pressing to use the Hamilton harbour entrance and the striking bridge operators appear to have lost the upper hand in their wage negotiations. A protracted strike through the winter months will cause no further inconvenience than has already been caused to Stelco and Dofasco who must make do with smaller supplies of coal than expected.
Increased tolls to be levied against vessels using the Welland and St. Lawrence canals will be introduced in staggered fashion during 1978, 1979 and 1980. The toll increases have met with extremely vocal opposition from many sources and the staggering of the increases is designed to permit all parties to evaluate the impact of the tolls as the program continues. Undoubtedly, this will allow the S.L.S.A. to back out of the increases gracefully should the gloomy predictions of the opposition be proven to have merit.
The camera of Daniel Berube, Rimouoski, caught WIT TRANSPORT, the former COVE TRANSPORT, aground in the St. Lawrence just west of Matane, Quebec, in late November. She was subsequently released. In our last issue, we outlined the problems which WIT TRANSPORT, (a) LEECLIFFE HALL (I)(59), (b) COVE TRANSPORT (77), had encountered in the course of her departure from the lakes for the warmer climes of the Caribbean. Freed from her stranding near Matane, Quebec, she was on her way again by the end of November.
Meanwhile, CAPE TRANSPORT, (a) NORTHCLIFFE HALL (I)(59), was stripped of most of her superstructure while lying along the north wall of Toronto's turning basin. This work was done by Herb Fraser and Associates and was designed to allow the ship to pass down the Erie Canal, it being considered too dangerous to attempt to take her down the east coast at such a late time in the season. CAPE TRANSPORT, all structures above the level of the top of her after cabin gone as well as everything (including the rail) from atop the forecastle, cleared Toronto in early December under tow of the tug PRINCESS NO. 1. In view of the fact that she might not be moved down the Erie Canal until the spring, it was thought that she might well winter at one of the American ports on Lake Ontario such as Sodus or Oswego. Another strange part of the affair is that we have heard that she also was to be renamed WIT TRANSPORT! It is entirely possible that she may be differentiated from her sistership by means of a numeral added to her name, if indeed this is to be her new name. The CAPE TRANSPORT, unlike her sister, did not have her new name painted on her bows when she departed Canadian waters for the last time.
It is rumoured that the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority may be contemplating the disposal of GATE LIFTER NO. 1, the sawmill-stacked gatelifter which has served the fourth Welland Canal ever since it was opened. This unusually-shaped craft, 90.1 feet in length and all of 66.2 feet wide, was built in 1930 at Collingwood. Most of her time has been spent in idleness at the maintenance yard slip on the east side of lower Port Weller harbour, but she has proved to be a very useful boat when accident or maintenance work has required the movement of canal lock gates. It is understood that the S.L.S.A. feels that it could make do with other units and retire the GATE LIFTER NO. 1 whose lifting machinery is, of course, steam powered.
A few months ago, the lakes were buzzing with the suggestion that S. & E. Shipping Corporation (Kinsman Lines) was negotiating for the purchase of U.S. Steel's RICHARD V. LINDABURY. Nothing came of the rumours at that time but we understand that the matter has not completely died.
Ship of the Month No. 71 GLENCAIRN
The day of the package freighter on the Great Lakes has almost ended. At one time, there were more package freight vessels operating on the lakes than there were bulk carriers, but the development of shipping patterns has been such that package freight, or general cargo as it is frequently called, has almost vanished from the lakes to be carried instead by rail or road transport.
There was a time when almost all the major railways in the eastern United States and Canada had affiliated lake shipping companies engaged in the carriage of package freight. Other lake shippers also carried general cargo either as a specialty or else as a side business. But after the First World War, only a few fleets carried on in the trade and over the years even they have dropped by the wayside until today just one, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., still carries package freight by water on the lakes. This last service has been on thin ice for the last few years but now is threatened by an even greater foe, the proposed Seaway toll increases which appear to be going to hit heaviest at package freight as far as per ton charges are concerned, this sort of cargo not being considered as necessary to national and international economies as is the trade in iron ore, grain, etc.
And yet, at one time, few were the major lake ports that were not served by such a line. Amongst the most familiar package freight shippers were the railroad fleets and their successor, the Great Lakes Transit Corporation of Buffalo. Our ship of the month for January was a vessel that spent many of her years in their service and then moved over to the Canadian side of the border for further trade of a similar nature. And yet, she ended her days in a service far removed from that for which she was built, perhaps a touch of foresight into the dismal future lying in wait for the package freighters.
The GEORGE J. GOULD was a steel 'tween-deck package freight steamer which was built back in 1893 at Buffalo by the Union Dry Dock Company to the order of the Lake Erie Transportation Company. This firm was a subsidiary of the Wabash Railroad and it maintained a package freight service, principally between Toledo and Buffalo. The GOULD was really not much larger than a canaller, for she measured only 265.6 feet in length, 40.6 feet in the beam and 25.0 feet in depth. Her tonnage was measured as 2237 Gross and 1790 Net. Enrolled for some unknown reason at Detroit, she was given registry number U.S.86267.
GEORGE J. GOULD was powered by a triple expansion engine with cylinders of 18, 30 and 48 inches and a stroke of 42 inches. This machinery, which had been built for the ship by the King Iron Works of Buffalo, developed 118 Nominal Horsepower. Steam was provided by two Scotch marine boilers which measured 11'6" by 12' and which burned coal.
The GOULD had the rather racy appearance which was typical of package freighters of the last decade or so of the nineteenth century. She had a raised forecastle and flush quarterdeck but almost no sheer to her hull at all. Her bridge was set back off the forecastle but was joined to it by a catwalk. Atop a rather large, square texas cabin was a rounded pilothouse in turn surmounted by an open bridge with wings. Her two lifeboats rested on top of a large deckhouse located aft of the bridge and not far abaft that again began the boilerhouse which led into her after cabin. This letter structure was abruptly truncated at its after end, leaving a rather noticeably bare stretch of open fantail visible. Her stack, which was fairly tall and tending toward the thin side, was set, as were the masts, at such a marked rake that one rather wonders how it managed to remain upright. Three masts were carried as the ship was originally rigged but photos do not indicate that she was ever fitted to carry auxiliary sail.
The GEORGE J. GOULD sailed under the management of her original owners until 1906 or perhaps 1907 at which time the Wabash Railroad retired from vessel management and she was sold to the Erie Railroad Lake Line. It was at that juncture that she was renamed (b) GRANVILLE A. RICHARDSON in honour of an official of the rail line which owned her. The railroad lake lines were usually in the habit of naming their boats for officials of the owning company or for places served by the boats or the connecting rail services. The Erie Railroad's marine service maintained a package freight route between Buffalo and Chicago. The steamer line had for many years been known as the Union Steamboat Company but this name was discontinued about 1896 as a result of a merger with the parent Erie Railroad.
GRANVILLE A. RICHARDSON appeared in one of the most distinctive colour schemes ever used by a lake vessel operator. From about 1895 onwards, the Erie boats were given black hulls and bright orange cabins. Their stacks were black with four white bands, each of the bands carrying a letter of the word 'Erie', reading downwards from the top. Erie steamers are exceptionally recognizable in photos dating from around the turn of the century, even in prints of something less than crystal clarity, because of these unusual markings.
The RICHARDSON remained in the Erie fleet through the 1915 season and then was affected by the greatest single change which ever touched lake package freight operations. During 1915, the U.S. federal authorities enacted the Panama Canal Act which prohibited American railways from operating steamship services which ran parallel to their rail lines. The railroads had no alternative but to divest themselves of their marine holdings. However, early in 1916, a number of executives of the former rail-affiliated lake lines, acting under the chairmanship of William J. Conners, formed the Great Lakes Transit Corporation of Buffalo which eventually would acquire the fleets of all the rail lines which had been forced out of business. The only holdout was the Lehigh Valley Transit Company which fought the legislation in the courts but which, despite high hopes, finally capitulated and joined Great Lakes Transit in 1919.
The Erie Railroad Lake Line was, of course, one of the concerns affected by the provisions of the Panama Canal Act and its four vessels, GRANVILLE A. RICHARDSON, DELOS W. COOKE, TIOGA and F. D. UNDERWOOD (four others had been sold for off-lakes use in 1915) were sold to Great Lakes Transit in 1916. The RICHARDSON was not to last long with the new company, however. The formation of the G.L.T.C. had brought 35 package freighters under the houseflag of the new line and this represented about 85% of all general cargo carriers flying the U.S. flag on the Great Lakes. Quite naturally, the officers of the G.L.T.C. were forced to take a long hard look at the economics of the various routes and ships it now possessed so that they might be able to eliminate services and vessels which were superfluous to their requirements. Considering the number of larger and newer steamers which the company had obtained, particularly from the Anchor Line and the Western Transit Company (the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads, respectively), it is not surprising that the 23-year-old GRANVILLE A. RICHARDSON remained under Great Lakes Transit ownership for only one year.
Before passing on, we should note that the RICHARDSON appeared only in the first of Great Lakes Transit's two colour schemes. The company at first opted for colours similar to those of the old Western Transit Company, namely a brown hull, white cabins, and black stack with an orange band. It was not until 1925, eight years after the sale of the RICHARDSON, that the fleet adopted the more photogenic colours of the old Anchor Line steamers.
In any event, the RICHARDSON was sold in 1917 to James Playfair of Midland who placed her in his Great Lakes Transportation Company Ltd. It seems that there was some delay in arranging the actual transfer of ownership and registry for it was not until 1919 that she came onto the Canadian books as c) GLENCAIRN, enrolled as C.138216. James Playfair had a penchant for naming his boats for places in his native Scotland and GLENCAIRN was no exception.
Playfair used GLENCAIRN for his package freight service between the Canadian Lakehead and Chicago and Cleveland. This route saw the movement of considerable quantities of newsprint on downbound trips. In addition, she was pressed into the grain trade from Fort William and Port Arthur to Georgian Bay and Lower Lake ports.
GLENCAIRN looked good in Playfair's colours with her grey hull, white cabins, and red stack with black smokeband, but she basically was an unusual vessel, quite distinctive in appearance and reminiscent of earlier years. She had, however, lost a bit of her "class" in that at some earlier time, probably about the time she was acquired by the Erie Railroad, she had lost her mizzen mast. In addition, the Erie, which had quite a reputation for the unusual appearance of some of its steamers, had replaced the original pilothouse of the ship with a single and then double-deck structure placed atop the original texas. The upper and middle houses of the bridge structure were almost identical square structures of wood, liberally provided with windows. They did nothing whatever for the ship's appearance.
The Great Lakes Transportation Company Ltd. made good use of GLENCAIRN but during the mid-twenties, the company set about the task of updating its rather elderly fleet. With the addition of GLENLEDI and GLENROSS, later known as RENVOYLE (II) and BATTLEFORD, respectively, Playfair had no further need for GLENCAIRN and he disposed of her in 1925. The steamer was sold to the Nassau Ship and Dredge Company, Chicago, which placed her back under the U. S. flag and converted her for use as a sandsucker in connection with the job of filling in land for Chicago's South Shore Drive development. She was renamed (d) NASSAU in 1926. When she reappeared in the U.S. shipping register, her dimensions were shown as 266.1 x 40.7 x 22.8 and her tonnage after the conversion was indicated to be 2098 Gross and 1265 Net.
NASSAU, formerly GLENCAIRN, deteriorated considerably during her many years of idleness at South Chicago. Photo by Capt. John Leonard dates to 1948.The basic profile of the ship remained generally the same through the conversion but her deck, never noted for great expanses of open space at the best of times, became even more cluttered with the addition of the equipment needed for her new role. Her heavy mainmast (of which little remained after Playfair lopped off its top) located forward of the boilerhouse was removed and replaced by a much lighter mast placed aft of the stack. The foremast also was replaced by a lighter pole.
After the completion of the project for which NASSAU had been purchased, she was laid up at South Chicago and there she remained through the years of the Great Depression. We should note, however, that the 1930 U.S. register indicates a change in name for her owner, it being shown thereafter as the Nassau Ship Company, Chicago. During the late 1930's she was bought by the Fitzsimons and Connell Dredge and Dock Company of Chicago and this firm refitted NASSAU for service in the sand trade. Her owners emblazoned their name in large letters down the ship's grey sides, leaving their identity in no doubt whatever.
The reactivation of NASSAU was unfortunately of very short duration and during the 1940's she remained idle at her dock in South Chicago, looking more and more bedraggled as the years passed. Finally, over the winter of 1950-51, her documentation was closed and the 58-year-old hull, its usefulness at an end, was cut up for scrap at Chicago in 1951.
In her role as a sand boat, NASSAU outlived the majority of her former package freighter running-mates but it could hardly be said that she was a success in her later years. By the time she felt the cutting torches, the general cargo trade on the lakes had dwindled away to the point where the only major package freight carriers left on the lakes were Canadian, these being the vessels of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, Northwest Steamships Ltd., and, of course, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. The beginning of the end was long since at hand.
You Asked Us
Member Bill Breaker of Mississauga has asked us about the steam canaller STRATHCONA. We are pleased to reply with a thumbnail sketch of the career of this ship, particularly since it involves the Mackays of Hamilton who have figured prominently in these pages of late and who are presently the subject of much historical research.
STRATHCONA (C.110354). Steel bulk carrier built 1900 at Dundee, Scotland. 249.0 x 41.9 x 21.0, 1881 Gross, 1465 Net. Registered at Hamilton while on Canadian registry. Built for the Hamilton and Fort William Navigation Co. Ltd. (W. Southam, president), an affiliate of the Hamilton Iron and Steel Co. Management taken over by R.O. and A.B. Mackay, Hamilton, 1903. In June 1907, an affiliated company known as Strathcona Ltd. was incorporated (capital $40,000) to operate this ship. In May 1908, the Mackays formed the Inland Navigation Co. Ltd., Hamilton, and DONNACONA (I) and STRATHCONA of the Hamilton and Fort William Nav. Co. Ltd. were amongst the vessels taken over by the new firm. At this time, R.O. Mackay retired from active participation and A.B. Mackay did likewise in 1910 when control of Inland was taken over by James Playfair, Midland. Company reorganized 1910 as Inland Lines Ltd.
STRATHCONA converted to package freighter at Collingwood 1911. Ownership passed 1913 to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. Requisitioned 1915 for wartime service and taken to salt water. Captured by German U-boat and sunk by bombing off Ronaldshay, April 13, 1917. with loss of nine lives.
We probably do not know when to leave well enough alone as far as the Mackays are concerned, so since Michel Vezina of Beauport, Quebec, has asked us about their canaller DUNELM, we'll jump in again with all four feet.
DUNELM (C.132069). Steel package freighter built 1907 at Sunderland, England. 250.0 x 43.2 x 23.5, 2319 Gross. Built for Dunelm Ltd., a company incorporated in November 1907 by R.O. and A.B. Mackay, Hamilton, who managed operation of DUNELM. Consolidated May 1908 into Inland Navigation Co. Ltd., Hamilton, (A.B. Mackay, manager) and to Inland Lines Ltd. 1910 after control gained by James Playfair. Absorbed into Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, 1913. Requisitioned 1915 for wartime service and taken to salt water. Lost at sea in October 1915.
DUNELM is perhaps best known for an accident occurring Dec. 6, 1910 when she grounded on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Subsequently salvaged and taken to Port Arthur for repairs.
Bill Breaker also asked about the Chicago fireboat JOSEPH MEDILL and, in particular, whether this is the same boat as the electrically propelled steamer which served the city of Chicago for so many years. The answer is no. The original JOSEPH MEDILL was 104 feet long, built at Manitowoc in 1908 and scrapped at the same location in 1947. The present JOSEPH MEDILL is a more modern diesel tug, one of three sister vessels, and is only 92 feet in length. She was built in 1950 at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Readers who have questions about lake vessels are invited to send them to us. Where possible, we will answer them in these pages.
Toronto Harbour Lay-up Listing
The following is a listing of vessels wintering in Toronto Harbour. The list is correct as of January 2nd but there is a possibility that there may be changes. If so, these will be reported in the February issue.
R. BRUCE ANGUSBLACK RIVERBROOKDALEC. W. CADWELLCANADIAN CENTURYCANADIAN HUNTERCANADIAN OLYMPICCANADIAN PROGRESSCHICAGO TRIBUNEENGLISH RIVERERINDALEFERNDALEFRANQUELIN
FUEL MARKETERGODERICHGEORGE G. HENDERSONHILDA MARJANNEMARTHA HINDMANISLAND TRANSPORTLEADALEGORDON C. LEITCHMEAFORDMETISNEW YORK NEWSNORDALE
NORTHERN VENTUREOUTARDEPIC RIVERJUDITH M. PIERSONPOINTE NOIREQUEBECOISROYALTONSAGUENAYST. LAWRENCE PROSPECTORSHELTER BAYTHORNHILLTHOROLDWHEAT KING
This is the largest winter fleet that Toronto has seen in a good many years and we can thank the bridge operators' strike at Hamilton for sending several vessels here that would normally have wintered elsewhere. Last vessel to arrive was METIS which tied up at the Lake Ontario Cement dock at the mouth of the Keating Channel on New Year's Day.
Additional Marine News
For a good many years now, the former C.S.L. tug BAYPORT (II), (a) BANSWIFT, which had been based in Midland, has been lying in the Leslie Street slip off the Toronto turning basin. Used as a houseboat, she has been mouldering away and, in fact, her wooden pilothouse rotted away to the point that it had to be replaced. The replacement is something to behold! The tug's owner, Meridan Marine Ltd. (as identified in the Canadian List of Shipping), has purchased the pilothouse recently removed from the tanker CAPE TRANSPORT and has placed it on the tug's boat deck. The house is, of course, far too big for the 73-foot BAYPORT and noticeably overhangs the texas. BAYPORT has not operated in many years but if her owner should ever decide to run her, we will be watching carefully to see how soon she capsizes.
We understand that representatives of Strathearne Terminals in Hamilton have taken a look at CHRIS M. recently, presumably in connection with a possible sale of the big tug for scrapping. CHRIS M.'s owner, Norman Rogers of Algonquin Island, Toronto, has done no further work on the tug since 1976 and the "conversion" of the boat has come to a standstill, leaving her a harbour eyesore.
For those interested in deep-sea passenger vessels, we cannot ignore major developments affecting passenger liners. The trend these days seems to be for large liners to be sold for non-transportation uses. Witness RAFFAELLO, MICHELANGELO, FRANCE and CRISTOFORO COLOMBO, all of which are to be used as accommodation ships. It is indeed pleasing to see that LEONARDO DA VINCI will be continuing to serve as a cruise ship and that S. A. VAAL (the former TRANSVAAL CASTLE built in 1960) will do likewise. Retired during 1977, the latter vessel has been sold by the South African Marine Corp. to Carnival Cruise Lines who have renamed her (c) FESTIVALE. She will be given an extensive refit in Japan and will enter service in October 1978, joining the two former Canadian Pacific vessels CARNIVALE and MARDI GRAS.