Friday, October 6th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Open Slide Night.
Members are invited to bring a few slides each to illustrate their summer shipwatching
activities and to open our 1978-79 season.
The Editor's Notebook
The summer of 1978 is rapidly drawing to a close. We have
(at least in the Toronto area) had a beautiful summer for boatwatching and we hope that our
members have been able to catch a piece of the action, whether at the Welland Canal, the Huron
Cut, the Soo, right here on our own waterfront, or at locations farther afield. We hope also
that the summer has put you in the right mood to enjoy the many interesting meetings which we
have planned for you in the coming months.
As this is the last issue of our 1977-78 publishing year,
now is a good time to thank you all for your support and for your help in supplying material
for this newsletter. We must also remind you that: MEMBERSHIP FEES ARE NOW DUE AND PAYABLE.
Fees will remain at the present level for the coming year
despite inflationary pressures. Please help us to continue publishing "Scanner" by sending your
remittance of $10.00, as soon as possible, to Mr. James M. Kidd, 83 Humberview Road, Toronto,
Ontario, M6S 1W9. We sincerely appreciate your continued support.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to
John E. Lefaive of Port McNicoll, Ontario, to Larry D. Morrill of Collingwood, and to Raymond
J. Jansen of Lakewood, Ohio.
Hull 718 of the Bay Shipbuilding Corporation was floated at
Sturgeon Bay during July, 1978. The 1000-foot self-unloader, which is built to the order of the
United States Steel Corporation, is similar in design (except for the unloading equipment) to
BELLE RIVER and LEWIS WILSON FOY, which were commissioned in 1977 and 1978, respectively, for
the American Steamship Company and the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. In October, Hull 718 is to
be christened EDWIN H. GOTT in honour of a retired "Steel Trust" board chairman.
Meanwhile, U.S. Steel has ordered a third new vessel, this
one to be built at Sturgeon Bay as a sister to Inland Steel's JOSEPH L. BLOCK. The
self-unloader, relatively small by today's standards, will be for the "Bradley" division of the
fleet and thus will appear in that section's gray livery rather than in the familiar red as
will EDWIN H. GOTT.
With three new vessels on order, the U.S. Steel Corporation
has disposed of five more of its idle carriers. With HENRY H. ROGERS, GEORGE G. CRAWFORD and
WILLIAM J. FILBERT already cut up by Hyman-Michaels at Duluth, and with HENRY PHIPPS now
half-gone at the same yard, the fleet has sold WILLIAM B. SCHILLER (1910), WILLIAM P. PALMER
(1910), PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR. (1913). RICHARD TRIMBLE (1913) and JAMES A. FARRELL (also 1913)
for scrap to the same firm. The first to go will be SCHILLER, which will follow PHIPPS and the
already-stripped HARRY L. ALLEN of the Kinsman fleet under the wreckers' torches. It is not
hard to see the others as expendable, but we have great difficulty in realizing that the
beautiful FARRELL, long the flagship of the fleet and, until a few years ago, one of the
company boats carrying guests, is not being retained, at least as a spare boat. This just goes
to show how "out of it" an enthusiast can be these days when he considers aesthetics over cubic
Scrapping of the Kinsman steamer CHICAGO TRADER, which last
operated in 1976, is progressing at Ashtabula. At last report, work was well advanced on the
ship's stern. Meanwhile, another Kinsman steamer, the GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER, is expected to
arrive shortly at Humberstone where she will be laid to rest in the old canal where AVONDALE
has lain for two years. AVONDALE will be moved to the scrapping berth at Ramey's Bend for
dismantling, but it is not known whether Marine Salvage Ltd. plans to cut up the STEINBRENNER
there as well or sell her for scrapping elsewhere.
The two Welland Canal shunters which are being built at
Niagara Falls, Ontario, by E. S. Fox Ltd., are expected to be delivered to the Seaway Authority
late in September and will be put into trial service shortly thereafter. As predicted, the test
boat will be the former Kinsman steamer PETER ROBERTSON (II) which has been chartered to the
S.L.S.A. by Marine Salvage Ltd. The ROBERTSON was moved from Humberstone to Thorold during May
to make her ready for her new duties and was even taken briefly to the Port Weller shipyard for
necessary work. She will be renamed MARINSAL and, when in test service, will have a shunter
attached by pins to bow and stern, the shunters to be operated direct from the old laker's
pilothouse. MARINSAL will be powered solely by the shunters but her boiler will be used as an
air receiver to operate auxiliary equipment such as pumps and deck winches.
It has been known for several months that Upper Lakes
Shipping Ltd. has made plans for the conversion of ST. LAWRENCE PROSPECTOR, (a) CARLTON, to a
730-foot laker. It was at first thought that the job would be done in Europe, and then, when
Upper Lakes made overtures towards the acquisition of the Halifax dockyards from Hawker
Siddeley Ltd., it was thought that the work might be done there. To the contrary, it has now
been announced that the job has been awarded to the St. John Shipbuilding and Drydock Company,
St. John, New Brunswick, the work to be done during the winter of 1978-79. At present, there
are no plans for a similar conversion for ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR, (a) DEMETERTON, which is said
to be useful as she is for an east coast trade.
The sale of the five-vessel fleet of the Hindman
Transportation Company Ltd. to the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. received
federal approval on May 15 and shortly thereafter, the Hindman boats began to be seen sporting
their new stack colours. None of the boats has yet been renamed and there is every indication
that no renaming is planned for the present.
Last autumn, the rumours were flying fast concerning the
possible retirement of SHELTER BAY. Since the acquisition of the Hindman fleet by Q & O, we
have heard repeated word of the impending withdrawal not only of SHELTER BAY, which is being
made busy primarily on the ore trade between Thunder Bay and Indiana Harbor, but also of HERON
BAY. The latter is a particularly noteworthy vessel in that she was built in 1905 as J.
PIERPONT MORGAN and was the first of the famous series of "beatle-browed" steamers built for
the fleet of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, Cleveland.
All season long, we have heard rumours that the Bethlehem
Steel Corporation would be willing to dispose of its "Maritime Class" steamers STEELTON and
LEHIGH, these bulk carriers having been rendered surplus tonnage with the commissioning in
June, 1978, of LEWIS WILSON FOY. The asking price was alleged to be $1,000,000 each and, the
exchange rate being what it has been of late, Canadian operators who were interested in the
boats were discouraged from making the necessary expenditure. At long last, STEELTON was sold
on July 13 to Medusa Cement, which will convert the steamer to a bulk cement carrier in much
the same manner as it earlier converted ALEX D. CHISHOLM which now sails as MEDUSA CHALLENGER.
Medusa's other steamer, C. H. McCULLOUGH JR., was taken to the AmShip drydock at South Chicago
earlier in the year, having recently been used only for grain storage, but it was determined
that she was not worth the required expenditure for repairs and conversion; it seems that her
place in the fleet will be taken by STEELTON. No new name for the latter has been announced,
nor do we know whether Bethlehem is still seeking a buyer for LEHIGH.
The future of the steam tanker IMPERIAL SARNIA is still not
certain. She will need considerable work, including deck renewal, if she is to operate past the
close of this season and, whereas it was earlier reported that Imperial Oil Ltd. had no plans
to pay for such major repair, the company is now saying that it has not yet decided whether to
do the work or not. Meanwhile, IMPERIAL SARNIA is still going strong, running mainly on the
upper lakes, resplendent in a new coat of paint which was applied during July. IMPERIAL
COLLINGWOOD has also been kept busy and, in mid-July, went to the wall at Sarnia for her annual
five-week vacation rest. She should be back in service by the time this appears in print, but
we should not be too hopeful for a protracted period of continued operation for the
COLLINGWOOD. There is some suggestion that she may soon be sold for off-lakes service, in which
case one of the salt-water Imperial tankers may be brought to the lakes, or else chartered or
purchased ocean tonnage obtained, to replace both COLLINGWOOD and SARNIA.
While on the subject of Imperial tankers, we should mention
that the fleet has disposed of its last deep-sea ship, IMPERIAL OTTAWA. This tanker had proven
to be uneconomical to operate, despite her relative youth, and in the spring of 1978 was sold
to the Esso Petroleum Company Ltd. and handed over to her new owner at Singapore.
A Latin-American crew arrived at Ramey's Bend during July
to fit out the steam tanker IMPERIAL LONDON which, as earlier noted, has been sold to Honduran
operators. It was expected that an extensive period of time would be needed to outfit the
LONDON for her new duties and that she would not be ready to depart until late in August.
The newest addition to the fleet of Algoma Central Marine,
the maximum-sized self-unloader ALGOBAY, was launched at Collingwood on June 19. Generally
similar to the C.S.L. stemwinder LOUIS R. DESMARAIS which came from the same yard in
late 1977, ALGOBAY has a rather interesting bow. It is specially shaped to permit operation in
ice and has considerable flare to it as the vessel is to run in coastal service during the
winter months. One result of the refined bow design is a somewhat more aesthetically acceptable
vessel than J. W. McGIFFIN, H. M. GRIFFITH, ALGOLAKE or JEAN PARISIEN.
At the same time as ALGOBAY was launched, the keel was laid
for Collingwood's Hull 217 which is yet another self-unloader for Algoma. In a marked departure
from current trends, this ship will not be of maximum Seaway size and will measure only 658 x
65, the idea being that she will be able to serve smaller ports and docks which are
inaccessible to the larger ships.
All three of the Hall Corporation's converted salties are
now in service and proving to be valuable additions to the Halco fleet despite their rather
unorthodox appearance. CARTIERCLIFFE HALL emerged from the Davie yard at Lauzon, Quebec, late
last fall; MONTCLIFFE HALL and STEELCLIFFE HALL followed her this spring. The three bulk
carriers are virtual sisterships, although there are a few minor differences, notably in the
placing of the stanchions around the lower deck of the accommodations aft.
June 1st was a notable day on the Toronto waterfront, for
there returned to port a vessel which had long been a familiar sight in the harbour but which
has not been seen here for several seasons. We are referring to the Canada Cement Lafarge Ltd.
electric motorvessel CEMENTKARRIER. For longer than most observers would care to admit, they
saw her as she shuttled back and forth between Toronto and the Bay of Quinte area, carrying
bulk cement cargoes to the Canada Cement facility in Toronto's Polson Street slip. With the
conversion of the C.S.L. package freighter ENGLISH RIVER to a bulk cement carrier for this
service, CEMENTKARRIER was relegated to a short period of service on the St. Lawrence and then
spent the last few years in layup. She was brought back to Toronto by Ship Repair and Supply
Ltd. which had her moored on the west wall of the turning basin during the summer. Dismantling
began almost immediately, and although it originally appeared that the entire vessel would be
scrapped, the cutting stopped when the cabins had been stripped off and the machinery removed.
On August 17, she was towed from Toronto by the tug ROBERT H., her destination being
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, from whence she will be operated as a barge by as-yet-unidentified
parties. ROBERT H. is a 104-footer owned by Three Rivers Boatman Ltd. and it is possible that
this company may operate CEMENTKARRIER.
When ROBERT H. came to Toronto to pick up CEMENTKARRIER,
she did not arrive empty-handed, for she brought with her the Branch Lines motortanker
WILLOWBRANCH which has lain idle the past two years at Sorel. Unlike her sister CEDARBRANCH,
which has been returned to service under the name SECOLA, the WILLOWBRANCH will be cut down to
a barge by Ship Repair and Supply Ltd. and will, allegedly, be used as a barge out of
Trois-Rivieres by the same parties that now have CEMENTKARRIER.
Another boat which has made a surprise return to Toronto is
the long-idle Canadian Dredge and Dock Company fuel barge C.D. 110, (a) COLUMBIAN (05), (b)
BROCKVILLE (09), (c) RAPIDS QUEEN (39). This hull was built as a steel passenger steamer back
in 1892 at Chester, Pennsylvania, for the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Co. Ltd. For many
years, she was part of the famous "Rapids Line" of boats operated by R & O and later C.S.L.
between Prescott and Montreal to connect with the Lake Ontario steamers. She last operated back
in 1935 on the Toronto - Thousand Islands route and subsequently was cut down for use as a
bunkering barge. She has not seen active service for many years. Earlier this year, she was
purchased by Toronto's Queen City Yacht Club which had her towed to Toronto on June 11 and
moored along the inner end of the west pier of the Eastern Gap. The Q.C.Y.C. intended to use
the battered hull as a breakwater across the mouth of the lagoon which runs between Ward's and
Algonquin Islands near the club's premises, but difficulties have been encountered
in that local harbour and parks authorities have required assurances that there will be no
spillage from the hull. The problem has not yet been resolved and so C.D. 110 has not been
moved to what was planned as her final resting place.
On June 7 and 8 respectively, the Canadian registration of
the Westdale Shipping Ltd. self-unloader LEADALE and the Halco tanker BAFFIN TRANSPORT were
closed, each being noted as having been sold to Mexican interests. It is not known whether
LEADALE, currently idle at Toronto, or BAFFIN TRANSPORT, laid up at Sorel for several years,
were to be operated or scrapped. At least in the case of LEADALE, we have heard that the
Mexican sale has fallen through and it is said that this 68-year-old steamer will soon be
dismantled at Hamilton's Strathearne Terminals.
The motorvessel PHOTINIA, owned by the Stag Line Ltd.,
North Shields, England, and a frequent visitor to the lakes for many years, went hard aground
in Lake Michigan near the Milwaukee harbour entrance on May 13. Tugs failed to free the vessel
and, underwater examination of the hull having indicated that PHOTINIA was seriously damaged,
the Stag Line abandoned her to the underwriters, the West Of England Protection and Indemnity
Association. During June, the stranded boat was sold to the Selvick Marine Towing Company and
Midwest Marine Construction Inc. who jointly attempted to refloat her in the hope that she
could be repaired and sold for further operation. Selvick eventually bought out the interest of
Midwest and, on July 7 six tugs managed to pull PHOTINIA free. She was towed to Sturgeon Bay by
JOHN M. SELVICK and WILLIAM C. SELVICK and was placed on drydock for examination. Inspection of
the hull, however, indicated that damage was so extensive that repairs would run to
approximately $2.8 million. Accordingly, it is Selvick's present intention to dispose of
PHOTINIA for scrap and it seems likely that she will be broken up at Sturgeon Bay.
Another visitor to the Great Lakes came to grief this
spring, but fortunately the accident which caused the loss of Ogden Marine's steamer
YELLOWSTONE did not occur in lake waters. YELLOWSTONE came to the lakes late in May to pick up
a cargo of grain consigned to Tunis from Duluth, and passed down the Welland Canal on May 27.
On the morning of June 12, while off Gibraltar, she was picking her way through a sudden fog
when she was rammed by the Algerian freighter IBN BATOUTA, the bow of the latter ship cutting
into the YELLOWSTONE'S engineroom. The two ships remained locked together but on June 13, when
they were separated, YELLOWSTONE quickly filled and sank. Five crewmen from the American vessel
were lost in the accident, several crushed in the collision itself and the remainder trapped in
the flooded engineroom.
The steamer ERNEST T. WEIR, purchased early in the year by
the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company, from the National Steel
Corporation, entered service in April in her new colours. The ship looks much better in
Columbia livery, the only weak point in her appearance being the stack. Columbia and Hanna
stack designs both incorporate a star and Columbia simply left the Hanna star on the funnel,
surmounting it with the usual white 'C'. Unfortunately, the star is so big that when it is
surrounded by the yellow band, there is not much room left above it for the upper red band. The
result is an unbalanced look for the stack. There seem to be no plans to rename the WEIR and
her addition makes Columbia's roster of vessels look like a "founders' fleet", many of its
ships being named for gentlemen prominent in the development of lake shipping. The fleet
includes boats named for such personalities as Weir, Capt. Thomas Wilson, G. A. Tomlinson,
William A. Reiss, J. R. Sensibar, and, of course, O.N.Co.'s own Robert C. Norton and Crispin
The salt-water motorvessel ARCTIC was christened at Port
Weller on June 2 and entered service the same month after passing trials with flying colours.
Her maiden voyage took her to Toledo to load and, whilst there, she got into an
argument with the Cherry Street bridge. ARCTIC sustained a nasty gash in her port bow but was
able to load for her trip out of the lakes. She stopped off at Port Weller on the way in order
that repairs might be put in hand, and is now in service to the Arctic regions.
This June 9, 1978, photo by Al Sweigert shows REISS MARINE as she stopped over at Cleveland en route to Duluth on her maiden voyage. The American Lakehead has a new bunkering tanker. The
150-foot REISS MARINE which arrived in the lakes during June, was built by the Blount Marine
Corporation in Rhode Island as a replacement for the much smaller WM. H. BENNETT. The BENNETT
and another small bunkers tanker, MARINE FUEL II, passed down the Soo Canal on July 27 in tow
of the tug BARBARA ANN and reports indicated that they were heading for Cleveland.
The tug QUEEN CITY is once again up for sale. The 107-foot
tug, which served, in succession, the Welland Canal as the maintenance vessel JALOBERT,
Hamilton Harbour as the ferry and tug MACASSA, and the Toronto area pilot service under her
present name, is currently owned by The Tug Ltd. Although her owner is located in Detroit, she
has kept her Canadian registry and is used as a party boat for private groups. The asking price
is $75,000 and it is said that interest in the tug has been shown by Watermans Services Scott
Ltd. of Toronto, her former owner, who might like to bring her back to her namesake city.
This year, photographers have reason for renewed interest
in the pretty little American Can of Canada diesel canaller D. C. EVEREST because her hull,
which has been painted green ever since she was built almost twenty-five years ago, has this
year been repainted a light blue shade which is most pleasing to the eye. The green on her
stack has likewise been replaced by blue. Lower lake observers have been able to catch a rare
glimpse of the EVEREST this summer, for in late July she made an unexpected trip down to
Cornwall. In her earlier years, the EVEREST would make occasional trips down the Welland in the
spring and fall, but she has not been seen in these parts for many years.
While Michigan legislators argue over the fate of the steam
carferry CHIEF WAWATAM, the Michigan State Highway Commission has given the 67-year-old boat a
reprieve. The Commission on June 28 granted to the Straits Car-Ferry Service Corporation an
extension which will allow the CHIEF to maintain her service between Mackinaw City and St.
Ignace through September 30. Despite the work which was recently done on the CHIEF at Sturgeon
Bay, she is in need of extensive refurbishing and a decision on her future is expected to be
made at the Commission meeting scheduled for August 23rd.
When the Interlake Steamship Company won from the
Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company the contract to carry Republic Steel iron ore, it was
generally thought that Cliffs would roll over and play dead as regards the carriage of any ore
not destined for its own mills. We are happy to note that this is not the case and that Cliffs
will be giving Interlake and BoCo a run for their money in the "independent" trade. It was
recently announced that Cliffs had won a 20-year contract to carry western coal to power plants
of the Detroit Edison Company and in particular to its new facility at Monroe, Michigan. In
addition to ensuring the completion of the self-unloader conversions of WALTER A. STERLING
(presently underway at AmShip, Lorain) and EDWARD B. GREENE (scheduled for next winter at the
same yard), the contract has strengthened the economic viability of the remainder of the
company's fleet, including WILLIAM G. MATHER, CADILLAC and CHAMPLAIN, for which self-unloader
conversions are mentioned. As well, Cliffs has an option on the construction of one 1000-footer
and tentative plans for more.
The former Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. bulk carrier THORNHILL
returned from Toronto to Hamilton under tow during the first week of May. The 72-year-old
steamer had been resurrected from the Strathearne Terminals scrapyard last fall to serve over
the winter as a soya bean storage facility at Toronto's Victory Mills.
The two tugs purchased by the Great Lakes
Pilots' Association from the Great Lakes Towing Company are now in service at Sault Ste. Marie.
OREGON and MICHIGAN have been renamed STE. MARIE I and STE. MARIE II, respectively, the former
being stationed above the locks and moored at the coal dock, while the latter works below the
locks and makes her home in the Carbide slip. The tugs are available for emergency work but
normally busy themselves at pushing salt water vessels in and out of the American canal. Their
hulls and cabins are still in G-tug colours, but they have been given a new stack design, buff
with a black top and a large white letter 'S'.
So far during the 1978 navigation season, four tankers have
been brought to Toronto for tank cleaning and lining. TEXACO BRAVE, TEXACO WARRIOR, GULF
GATINEAU and GULF MACKENZIE have all spent considerable time in the turning basin while the
work was being done.
When BAY TRANSPORT was dismantled at Toronto and Hamilton
two years ago, her diesel engines were removed and sold to the operator of the tug W. J. IVAN
PURVIS which is based at the Canadian Soo. One of the engines was fitted in the PURVIS, (a)
MAGPIE, (b) DANA T. BOWEN, and the other was left to an undetermined fate. We have now learned
that the second engine was sold by Purvis and is to be installed in the former Detroit firetug
JOHN KENDALL which is currently being rebuilt at Alpena, Michigan.
The tug ALLEGHENY, which sank at her dock at Traverse City,
Michigan, in the windstorm of January 26, was sold in late spring by Northwestern Michigan
College to the Malcolm Salvage Company of St. Clair, which had to salvage the tug before
refitting her for its own use. Malcolm is the operator of the big tug BARBARA ANN which works
in the St. Clair River area.
Hull 721 of the Bay Shipbuilding Corporation was christened
BUFFALO in ceremonies held at Sturgeon Bay on August 2. The small self-unloader will be in
service later this year for the American Steamship Company.
The future of the Lake Michigan carferries is very much in
doubt and the cross-lake service of the Grand Trunk Railroad is no exception, the line having
petitioned for abandonment. With GRAND RAPIDS having been sold several years ago, MADISON has
carried on alone, the CITY OF MILWAUKEE being held in reserve as spare boat. MADISON has long
been the workhorse of the fleet and her hard use over the years is now showing. It has been
found that she needs some $400,000 in repairs as a result of operation in ice. Accordingly,
MADISON has now been retired and CITY OF MILWAUKEE, which was drydocked at Lorain in 1977 and
given considerable repair work, will carry on alone until such time as the disposition of the
service is decided.
The Huron Cement steamer LEWIS G. HARRIMAN has been
reactivated after her conversion to oil fuel. This boat, the former JOHN W. BOARDMAN, has been
a rare sight these last few years due to her lengthy periods of inactivity. At present, all of
the Huron fleet is in service, including the aging E. M. FORD (1898) and J. B. FORD (1904).
The first of the WYTM-Class tugs being built for the U.S.
Coast Guard at Tacoma, Washington, by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company Inc., has been launched.
Measuring 140.0 x 37.5 x 12.0 and with a displacement of 662 tons, the tug will have a cruising
range of 4,000 miles at a speed of 12 knots, and will be manned by a crew of 17.
Officially known as WYTM 101, she will be christened KATMAI BAY and will replace the aging
NAUGATUCK at the Soo. Her three sisters, also on order from Tacoma, will be delivered by June,
1979, and will replace KAW, RARITAN and OJIBWA.
Last issue, we noted that PINEDALE had appeared at Toronto
in April, having been towed over from Hamilton to be readied for her new service as a
breakwater on the east shore of Lake Huron. PINEDALE left Toronto under tow at the end of April
but we have still to learn where she is being used.
Ship of the Month No. 76 Cape Eternity
It often happens that Great Lakes passenger vessels are
thought of in pairs. When we remember one particular steamer, another comes to mind along with
her. The reason for this pairing is that few and far between were the passenger routes which,
during their heyday, could be held down by one boat alone, most being served by two or more
ships running opposing schedules. Also, this mental pairing is frequently the result of
similarities in appearance or name between vessels which cause them to be connected in the
minds of those remembering them long after their withdrawal from service.
Two such vessels were the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence
River steamers CAPE TRINITY and CAPE ETERNITY, which not only ran together on the same routes
for many years, but which also had similar names at certain stages of their careers, running
together as SYRACUSE and ROCHESTER in earlier years. In addition, they were both somewhat
unconventional in appearance and could well be labelled as two of the most unlovely overnight
passenger boats to operate in the Lake Ontario area during this century. CAPE TRINITY was the
subject of the "Ship of the Month" article in our issue of May, 1970. Since then, we have
learned more of the services that these two boats ran for so many years and we feel that the
time is now right for us to bring you the story of the other ship, namely CAPE ETERNITY.
Our readers will certainly be familiar with the name of the
Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company Ltd., Montreal, a firm whose various services have
frequently been mentioned in these pages. Not only was the R & O one of the oldest
companies operating passenger service on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, but in its
heyday it was also the largest such organization. It was through the R & O that the empire
was founded which eventually came to be known as Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. and which is still
active in the movement of freight on the Great Lakes.
During the first decade of the twentieth century, Richelieu
and Ontario was active in various passenger movements from Lake Ontario eastwards. It was
proposed that the company operate a new service from Youngstown, New York, at the mouth of the
Niagara River, where connections might be made for Toronto via the vessels of the Niagara
Navigation Company Ltd. (which in due course also came under R & O control), to Prescott
and Ogdensburg, where the boats would connect with the "Rapids Line" dayboats to Montreal. Way
stops would include Charlotte, Alexandria Bay and Clayton, New York. Boats running on such a
route would, in fact, be carrying out coasting service between U.S. ports, and vessels
registered in Canada could not do this. Accordingly, in 1910, the R & O formed a subsidiary
which was known as the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company of the United States.
The same year that it was formed, this new company let a
contract to the Detroit Shipbuilding Company for the construction of an overnight passenger
steamer which was to serve the proposed new route. The ship was built at the Detroit
Shipbuilding yard at Wyandotte, Michigan, and was known as Hull 180 during construction. The
steel hull measured 246.6 feet in length, 42.0 feet in the beam, and 14.9 feet in depth, her
tonnage being registered as 2484 Gross and 1407 Net. She was christened ROCHESTER (U.S.207073)
in honour of the large city on the south shore of Lake Ontario. This city was to be served by
the boat through her call at Charlotte, Rochester's port.
The steamer's twin screws were driven by two four-cylinder,
triple-expansion engines whose cylinders measured 1.6, 25, 31 and 31 inches in diameter, and
which had a stroke of 22 inches. This machinery, built by the shipyard, gave the boat a speed
of 17 m.p.h. Steam was provided by four coal-fired Scotch boilers which measured 11 feet, six
inches, by 11 feet. The engines were somewhat unusual and our readers might be interested in
knowing more about them.
The last two decades of the nineteenth century
and the first two of the twentieth saw the development of the reciprocating steam engine reach
its zenith. Triple or quadruple-expansion engines (where the steam would pass through either
three or four cylinders, expanding and hence dropping in pressure at each cylinder) were
normally chosen for propellor-driven lake passenger or freight steamers during this period. But
engineers were constantly experimenting with variations on these "basic designs and from their
drawing boards came such hybrids as the four-cylinder and six-cylinder triples, and the five
and eight-cylinder quads, many of these engines being designed for deep-sea passenger liners or
As can be seen from the dimensions of ROCHESTER'S
cylinders, a four-cylinder triple had two cylinders the same size, these being the low pressure
cylinders. One might have expected that they would have been placed side-by-side but this was
not the case. For balance, they were mounted at either end of the engine, with the high and
intermediate pressure cylinders between them. Therefore, the steam did its job in the high
pressure cylinder, was exhausted from there into the intermediate, and, on being exhausted
again, was manifolded simultaneously into the two low pressure cylinders which worked in step.
ROCHESTER's engines had a remarkably small stroke and worked at high speed. The smaller the
stroke of a steam engine, the faster it turns, and although we cannot confirm this, we suspect
that ROCHESTER's machinery would have turned some 200 - 250 r.p.m.
Why would machinery of this type have been placed in
ROCHESTER when four-cylinder triples were most frequently used in shore plants and in warships
with high-speed engines? The answer relates to two advantages possessed by such machinery.
First of all, the four-cylinder triple was a space-saving device in that the two smaller low
pressure cylinders took up less space than the single larger one which would be necessary in a
normal triple, As well, having two low pressure cylinders would get more
power out of the expanded steam and would increase the efficiency of the engine by assisting in
evacuating the steam from the intermediate cylinder. ROCHESTER was not a large boat and the
saving of space in the engineroom was necessary in or der to accommodate the two engines needed
to drive her twin shafts.
Although many four-cylinder triples were used on salt water
(and some may still be functioning there), the engine never achieved wide use on the lakes.
None are still in service on our inland waters and, as far as we know, no such engine is
preserved on display anywhere.
ROCHESTER, as completed, was fitted with 120 staterooms and
16 parlours located on the promenade and gallery decks. The staterooms were all outside rooms
equipped with washbasin and running water, but toilet facilities were "down the hall". The
cabins known as parlours contained brass bedsteads and had connecting bathrooms with complete
facilities. Another feature of the parlours was that some of them had their own private deck
spaces which might best be called small balconies in view of the rather strange design of the
vessel which made her look something like a floating apartment building. One of the most
striking features of ROCHESTER'S appearance was that her cabins above the hull were built right
out to the sides of the ship, there being no open promenades around the decks. This marked lack
of open deck area made the private verandahs much more noticeable than they might otherwise
have been since they punctuated the rather-high and intimidating sides of the boat.
ROCHESTER carried two very tall masts which, like her two
oval stacks set in tandem, were well raked. Her stacks, while not particularly tall, looked
shorter than they actually were as they were perched high atop her rather overpowering
superstructure. We do not know whether her hull was always black when she ran for R & O,
but it was so painted towards The end of her R & O years, her cabins being white and the
stacks red with a black smokeband. It is entirely possible that ROCHESTER's hull may have been
white at some stage during this period, perhaps even when she was commissioned.
In any event, ROCHESTER was duly placed in service on her
intended route, her owner being satisfied with her performance on builder's trials. She ran
successfully for a while on the Youngstown - Ogdensburg service, her operation providing an
American counterpart to the established R & O Canadian route between Toronto and Prescott
which was served by the magnificent paddlers KINGSTON and TORONTO. These latter vessels also
connected at their eastern terminus with the "Rapids" boats for Montreal. The American line was
intended to serve residents of upper New York State in that they would not have to take the
Niagara boat across the lake to Toronto before embarking on their voyage down the lake if
After several years on the route, however, ROCHESTER was
found not to be drawing as many passengers at Youngstown as might be desired. At the opening of
the 1913 season, it was decided that the western terminus of the route would be changed to
Charlotte. But the company had second thoughts, for before ROCHESTER was commissioned that
year, it was decided that she would be operated from Toronto, making the crossing to Charlotte
and thence down the lake and river as before. In this way, not only would she help with the
Toronto - Montreal trade but she would also participate in the movement of Toronto residents to
the vacationlands of upper New York. It should be noted that her passengers, unlike those of
KINGSTON and TORONTO, boarded the connecting "Rapids" boats not at Prescott but rather at
Ogdensburg, where they stopped prior to proceeding down the river. ROCHESTER made three round
trips per week, leaving Toronto on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The year 1913 was a momentous one for the R & O, for it
saw the making of the final corporate changes that permitted the formation of Canada Steamship
Lines Ltd. While the parent R & O was the principal firm absorbed into the new giant, its
American subsidiary, the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Co. of the United States, was
transferred to a U.S.-flag affiliate of C.S.L., namely the American Interlake Line. It is
unlikely that ROCHESTER yet received what would later be known as the C.S.L. livery, for the
new company was remarkably slow in repainting its numerous boats and many of the R & O and
Niagara Navigation ships maintained their old colours for several years.
ROCHESTER, however, was not long to remain on her old
route. In 1915, she was chartered to the Indiana Transportation Company for service on Lake
Michigan between Chicago, Saugatuck and Douglas. At the end of the season, she was laid up at
Sarnia, the intention of C.S.L. being to operate her the following year in its Northern
Navigation Division to replace the burned steamer MAJESTIC on the upper lakes run. MAJESTIC had
been destroyed in a conflagration at Sarnia in December 1915, a fire that also spelled the end
of passenger service for the famous SARONIC, (a) UNITED EMPIRE.
In the meantime, however, some rather strange litigation
was taking place that was to block C.S.L. from pursuing its plans for ROCHESTER. It was in
mid-1915 at Buffalo that several residents of the State of Rhode Island filed claims totalling
$265,000 against ROCHESTER. The plaintiffs alleged that they had become ill during an outbreak
of typhoid fever, supposedly the result of impure water, which had occurred aboard the ship
during a 1913 excursion. The July, 1915, issue of Canadian Railway and Marine World quoted a
C.S.L. Montreal spokesman as saying that, at the time in question, there were outbreaks of
typhoid in several U.S. cities and that several U.S. soldiers on board ROCHESTER had been taken
ill. He also threw in the observation that, as a result of an American government enquiry, the
American Interlake Line had been exonerated of all blame.
Be this as it may, the civil courts were obviously not of
the same opinion. We have not read the findings of the court, but it is obvious that C.S.L. lost the case because, in early 1917, the U.S. District Court of New York (Western
District) ordered the sale of the vessel, presumably due to the filing by the owner of a motion
to limit its liability in the event of judgment being found against it. As a result, the sale
of ROCHESTER, which had lain idle at Sarnia all during 1916 due to the litigation, was
scheduled by the court for April 17, 1917. This date was eventually postponed to May 1st,
perhaps because nobody was sufficiently interested in ROCHESTER to put in a bid for her.
In what was little more than a shuffle from one hand to the
other, ROCHESTER was purchased at the court-ordered sale by the Northern Navigation Division,
Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal. She was reactivated for the 1917 season and was placed
on the Northern Navigation service to Georgian Bay ports, despite the fact that she remained in
U.S. registry. This operation was not long-lasting for, by 1919, she had returned to Lake
Ontario and resumed her service between Toronto and Ogdensburg, running opposite SYRACUSE, the
former GERONIA, which had been built at Collingwood in 1911 for the Hepburn interests of
CAPE ETERNITY, outbound on her run to the Thousand Islands, is seen in Toronto Eastern Gap in this photo c. 1928 by J. H. Bascom. The year 1920 saw a remarkable change for both ROCHESTER
and SYRACUSE, for they were diverted by C.S.L. to the cruise service from Montreal to the
Saguenay River. The steamers, by now painted all white (hull and cabins) and with the usual
C.S.L. stack markings, were renamed CAPE ETERNITY and CAPE TRINITY, respectively, in honour of
the famous landmarks of the Saguenay.
CAPE TRINITY and CAPE ETERNITY were not really suited for a
cruise service but they did manage to hold the line down until better tonnage could be
obtained. The acquisition by C.S.L. of NARRAGANSETT, which would be renamed RICHELIEU for her
new duties, and the building by Davie for C.S.L. of the magnificent TADOUSSAC, QUEBEC and ST.
LAWRENCE, would obviate the need for any other tonnage on the Saguenay route, but the two
"Capes" did their duty well for five years. It is interesting to note that, although CAPE
ETERNITY sailed with that name on her and with the home port of Montreal painted on her stern,
she actually remained on the U.S. register until 1922 as ROCHESTER. Whether the change was
delayed in processing, or whether some civil servant in Washington simply neglected to record
it, we do not know. Once she came onto the Canadian books, her official number was
In any event, CAPE ETERNITY was returned to Lake Ontario in
1925 and was placed on a route from Toronto to the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River
via the Bay of Quinte. This was a particularly scenic trip and the ship operated successfully
on it until business conditions deteriorated to the point that she could no longer be operated
economically. Passenger revenue declined noticeably in the early part of 1929 and, during the
month of July, CAPE ETERNITY was laid up on the north wall of the Toronto turning basin. She
was subsequently moved to a spot about half way up the north side of the ship channel and there
she remained until 1935, keeping company with other C.S.L. steamers, including her former
running-mate, CAPE TRINITY, and the famous Niagara River Line paddler CORONA.
GEORGIAN is outbound at Toronto Western Gap on her first trip after refitting for operation by Seaway Lines in 1935. Photo by J. H. Bascom. During the 1935 season, a reprieve came for CAPE ETERNITY.
She was sold to Seaway Lines of Windsor, who renamed her (c) GEORGIAN. After her long period of
idleness, she was given a thorough refit in preparation for her new service. Amongst the
alterations made to her at this time was the shortening of her stacks, which were then covered
by larger casings, much as were the stacks of the big D & C paddler CITY OF CLEVELAND III.
Placed back in service, she operated from Windsor to the ports of Georgian Bay. She normally
ran post-season cruises each fall and frequently visited Toronto during this period. Some time
after her reactivation, the tops of her lofty masts were lopped off and this, together with the
shortening of her stacks, and the fitting of a sunvisor on her pilothouse, gave her a somewhat
more agreeable appearance.
Seaway Lines tried a rather unusual paint
scheme for GEORGIAN. When first placed in service, she was green up over the main deck cabin,
grey for one more deck, and the rest of the upperworks were painted white. In due course, the
green hull was to become black. Her stacks were painted buff and black and carried a flag and
diamond incorporating the letters 'S' and 'L'.
GEORGIAN proved to be successful on her new run and the
only major change to affect her during these years was that, in 1939, her owner changed its
corporate name to Lakeway Lines. How long GEORGIAN would have been able to continue running
profitably on her route we do not know, but her life in this service was limited to seven
years. The involvement of Canada in the Second World War created an urgent need for tonnage of
any sort to assist in the war effort on salt water and, in 1941. GEORGIAN was requisitioned by
the Royal Canadian Navy for use as a floating barracks. In this capacity, she was first used at
Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then later at St. John's, Newfoundland. While serving at this latter
port towards the end of the war, she was renamed (d) AVALON II.
When the hostilities ended in 1945. AVALON II was no longer
needed in her military capacity. She reverted to her former name of GEORGIAN and was towed to a
lay-up berth at Sorel, Quebec. No doubt it was intended that eventually she would be scrapped
there. Little did anyone suspect that not only was she not at the end of her tether, but that
she would shortly be put into service on waters far distant from those for which she had been
On July 19, 1946, the idle GEORGIAN was sold by the
Canadian government to the Wah Shang Steamship Company Ltd. of Shanghai, China. She was renamed
(f) HA SIN and was reregistered at Shanghai. Suitably boarded up for the long voyage to protect
her wooden superstructure from damage in heavy seas, she departed Sorel under her own steam.
The trip was apparently accomplished safely and without untoward incident of any kind being
However, although HA SIN had been able to make the trip
safely all the way from Sorel to Shanghai, she was not able to cope with events which were to
occur in the land of her new home. In due course, the Chinese Revolution became a reality and
HA SIN had the misfortune of being caught lying at Shanghai during a bomb attack on the city's
docks. She was so badly damaged by aircraft bombs that the repair of the old steamer could not
be considered to be economically warranted. Although we are not certain of when or where she
was dismantled, she was indeed broken up for scrap and, by 1962, her name had been dropped from
Lloyd's Register of Shipping.
And so, in foreign waters, ended the career of yet another
of the passenger ships which once served the Great Lakes. She could never have been considered
to have been traditional or particularly appealing in design or appearance, and she never
served long enough on any particular route to carve a secure niche for herself in the memory of
the populace; but she did put in many good years of hard work for her various operators and
generally managed to stay out of trouble. She did well in serving the needs of the travelling
(Ed Note: For their assistance in developing information on
four-cylinder triple-expansion engines for use in this article, we sincerely thank Messrs Bill
Campbell, Harry Howarth, and John Coulter.)
Welland Canal Traffic
We have long despaired that there would ever be an accurate
way to tell whether, on any given day, a visit to the Welland Canal would be worth the drive
from home. We have all experienced those days when the weather was great and the traffic
terrible, only to find that the next day, when we did not bother to go, we missed the passage
of some important vessel.
At last, those days have passed. The St.
Lawrence Seaway Authority has introduced a recorded phone message which lists those ships in
the canal at any given time and those expected to enter the waterway within the next few hours.
Interested parties may ring (416) 688-6462 to make use of this valuable information. We salute
the S.L.S.A. for making this service available to the public.
Know Your Lakers of World War I
Some years ago, the University of Detroit published a small
book entitled The Lakers of World War I which had been compiled as a history of the saltwater
tonnage built on the lakes during the first war. Its author was the Rev. Edward J. Dowling,
S.J., an honourary life member of T.M.H.S. The book had been a natural development of the
listing of "Lakers" which Fr. Dowling had printed in the Detroit Marine Historian, of which he
was then editor, during 1956 and 1957.
The book has since been updated and, with the addition of
numerous illustrations, many in colour, has been re-released by the Marine Publishing Co. of
the Michigan Soo. Retitled KNOW YOUR LAKERS OF WORLD WAR I to bring it in line with other books
put out by Marine Publishing, it appeared for sale earlier this year. As accurate and
up-to-date as only Fr. Dowling could make it, this 120-page softcover is a "must" addition to
the library of any serious marine historian. Without doubt, it is the definitive word on the
subject of the "Lakers".
Those wishing to acquire the book should address Mr. Thomas
J. Manse, Marine Publishing Company, P.O. Box 68, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan 49783. U.S.A. The
cost is $4.95 per copy, a reasonable investment for such a wealth of information and
Know Your Ships (1978)
This annual paperback, the work of member Tom Manse of the
Michigan Soo, is a listing of boats, both lake and ocean, which are likely to be observed at
locations around the Great Lakes. Intended more for the casual observer that for the avid
historian, the book nevertheless contains some interesting illustrations and provides a record
of the changing lakes scene. What it really needs is a good proofreading to eliminate the
grammatical and typographical errors. Available at $3.00 per copy, it can be obtained from the
Marine Publishing Company at the address shown above.
Additional Marine News
-- LEADALE was towed from Toronto to Hamilton on August 24
to keep her date with the scrappers.
-- While Collingwood Shipyards explores the chances of
building facilities to handle 1,000-foot lakers, Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. is studying the
possibility of building a large new yard on Lake Erie near Nanticoke. The company would build
1,000-footers in sections at Port Weller and join them together at the new yard.
-- GEORGE A. STINSON was pulled early from the AmShip yard at Lorain to
avoid having her trapped by labour problems. Towed to Detroit where she was christened on
August 21st, she will be completed at Nicholson's Dock.
--- Work is progressing well at
Gravenhurst on the restoration of the Muskoka Lake steamer SEGWUN. A full report will appear in
our next issue.