Friday, February 2nd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Our speaker will be Dr. Gordon Shaw. His subject: "Changes in Canadian Great Lakes Shipping since the Opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959".
Friday, March 2nd - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Our speaker will be Capt. John Leonard who will tell us of some of his experiences during many years of service in Great Lakes vessels.
The Editor's Notebook
Our meetings this season have been extremely interesting and we should express a vote of thanks to Gordon Turner, Programme Chairman, for his work in making the necessary arrangements. October's meeting featured slides, November brought us David Bull's interesting address and photos, and December took us to the movies. If you should happen to be in the area on the date of a meeting, please feel free to drop in for an evening of friendly talk and entertainment. We should also like to see some of our Toronto members who have not attended recently.
We sincerely hope that 1979 will be a year of happiness and success, not only for all our members but also for this Society. We trust that all those who have helped us in the past by submitting news and other items of interest will continue to do so, and we hope that we may hear from even more of our members as time passes.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Tom Wilson of Bath, Ontario (brother of our late member Nels Wilson), to John Peters of Toronto, to Pam Thames of Forest, Ohio, and to Robert C. Foster of Hartford, Connecticut.
At long last, the Chessie System seems to have made progress in its rather unpopular battle to gain permission to abandon its Lake Michigan carferry services. Chessie has wanted to get rid of the ferries for years but until now, it could not get approval from the appropriate authorities. On November 16, however, the Interstate Commerce Commission approved what has come to be known as the "Kewaunee Plan", a compromise which does little but postpone the evil day when the ferries will disappear completely. Under this plan, Chessie would be allowed to abandon its service between Ludington and Milwaukee but would be forced to continue service from Ludington to Kewaunee and Manitowoc for a period of five years, at the expiration of which period the economics of the latter two routes would be reassessed. Abandonment of the Kewaunee and Manitowoc routes would probably be approved at that time unless a marked increase in business could be demonstrated, but with Chessie working hard to discourage the routing of rail freight via the ferries, such an increase could hardly be anticipated. Needless to say, the "Kewaunee Plan" does not seem to please anyone but Chessie and it is expected that opponents of the plan will appeal the I.C.C. decision.
During the summer of 1978, the I.C.C. also considered an abandonment petition submitted by the Grand Trunk Western Railroad with reference to the Muskegon - Milwaukee service operated by its subsidiary, the Grand Trunk - Milwaukee Car Ferry Company. The G.T.W. petition did not evoke as much opposition as had that of the Chessie System because the Grand Trunk route did not carry nearly as much traffic and its vessels did not carry passengers on a regular basis. The petition was approved and G.T.W. given permission to discontinue its service across the lake as of November 1. Quite naturally , Grand Trunk wasted no time in putting the termination into effect and, on November 1, the last run was made by the 47-year-old steamer CITY OF MILWAUKEE. This vessel will be chartered to another line (please read on) for future service and her continued operation seems certain. On the other hand, it is not known what will become of MADISON, a sistership of CITY OF MILWAUKEE but four years older. MADISON was long the mainstay of the route but has not operated recently due to her need of extensive repair. Grand Trunk's third boat, GRAND RAPIDS, was sold for non-ferry use several years ago.
With the Chessie and Grand Trunk carferry services apparently going down the spout, it is interesting to note that the third carferry operator on Lake Michigan seems to be doing very well indeed. This is all the more surprising in that we are speaking of the Ann Arbor Railroad which has suffered from severe financial problems for many years. The Michigan Interstate Railway Company, which operates the Ann Arbor, has announced that not only will it continue to operate between Frankfort and Kewaunee, but that it will also institute a new route between Frankfort and Manitowoc during the summer of 1979. The company also has obtained the carferry CITY OF MILWAUKEE from Grand Trunk on a lease-purchase agreement and she made her first run for Ann Arbor on November 22nd. Her arrival on the scene meant that Ann Arbor's own VIKING, (a) ANN ARBOR NO. 7, which dates back to 1925, could be withdrawn temporarily for drydocking. In addition, the company has begun work on the rehabilitation of ARTHUR K. ATKINSON, (a) ANN ARBOR NO. 6, a veteran of 61 years, which has been idle since 1973 because of mechanical difficulties. The ATKINSON should be back in service in time for the opening of the new route.
When the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company, bought the Hanna steamer ERNEST T. WEIR (II) last spring, it did not rename the vessel and observers generally conceded that the ship's name fitted in very well with other historic names in the fleet. All we can say is that we hope that all our members were able to get good photos of the WEIR in Columbia colours during 1978. When she enters service in 1979. she will be renamed (b) COURTNEY BURTON in honour of Oglebay Norton's board chairman.
There will be at least one other new name on the lakes when traffic begins to move come the breakup of ice in the spring of 1979. The Soo River Company has decided to rename its veteran (1909) steamer GEORGE G. HENDERSON, (a) SHENANGO (58), (b) B. W. DRUCKENMILLER (64), (c) A. T. LAWSON (75). During the winter, she will be given the name (e) HOWARD F. ANDREWS in honour of a gentleman who, although long associated with the Hanna interests, is not related to Matthew Andrews, for whom other ships have been named. It has been learned that the Hall Corporation's newly acquired tanker ARSENE SIMARD will be renamed (b) GASPE TRANSPORT. Several other names were considered by Halco but were rejected for one reason or another. Hall was scheduled to take delivery of the motorship on December 15 while she was in drydock at Montreal.
During late December, the former steamer PETER ROBERTSON (II), now renamed (d) MARINSAL and chartered by Marine Salvage Ltd. to the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, was moved to a position below Lock One at Port Weller. This move is in anticipation that testing of the two prototype shunters might begin in the lower reaches of the canal immediately after it closes for the season, ice conditions permitting. MARINSAL has retained her Kinsman red hull but her stack is now blue with a black top. She has been ballasted down to simulate conditions that might prevail were the shunters to handle a normal lake vessel.
The sale of WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE by United States Steel to S & E Shipping Corporation (Kinsman Lines) was finalized during the week of December 10 and she is now officially a part of the Kinsman fleet. In the interim, she has been the object of attention from Fraser Shipyard workers who have been doing certain work for the new owner. The McGONAGLE will probably have a grain storage cargo at the American Lakehead during the winter. Despite the prognostications of numerous observers, we understand that there is a distinct possibility that Kinsman will not rename the vessel.
The Honduran owners of the steam tanker TEGUCIGALPA, (a) IMPERIAL LONDON, have encountered unexpected difficulties in fitting out their new acquisition. Despite having raised steam back in October, the boat had not yet turned her engine by mid-December and her owners conceded that there was no chance of getting her out of the lakes before the close of navigation. Instead, fit-out crews will work at her during the winter and the ship herself will be removed from the Ramey's Bend scrapyard and moored at a location more suitable for the engine work. Her place in Ramey's Bend will be taken by the self-unloader AVONDALE.
Last year's winter navigation season was not such a happy one for the Interlake Steamship Company. Its bulk carrier CHARLES M. BEEGHLY was a victim of the January 26th windstorm, getting into trouble in the ice of Middle Neebish Channel. She punched a large hole in her bottom, bringing traffic on the St. Mary's River to a standstill and forcing the lightering of part of her cargo. This year, Interlake has been handed grief by both BEEGHLY and her sistership, JOHN SHERWIN (II).
In mid-December, the SHERWIN was downbound in the St. Mary's River when she snagged the Mission Point ice buoy. The buoy did a good job of denting the ship's side plates, but the worst damage was done by the buoy's anchor which tore a nasty gash in the SHERWIN's bottom. With the AmShip workers still on strike, the job of repairing JOHN SHERWIN to get her ready for the winter season was taken on by Fraser Shipyards, Superior, Wisconsin. The boat was sent to the Fraser yard after unloading at Cleveland. CHARLES M. BEEGHLY waited a few days after her sister's accident before she had one herself. On the afternoon of December 22, the steamer was caught in a nasty snowstorm whilst trying to negotiate the Duluth harbour entrance. The lake was calm but the visibility bad, and BEEGHLY ran onto one of the pierheads. She damaged a number of hull plates and was dispatched to Fraser Shipyards for repairs so that she might be ready for late navigation.
December 22 was a bad day for lakers trying to negotiate harbour entrances. During the afternoon, the CHARLES M. BEEGHLY got hers at Duluth. That evening, the 73-year-old Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. steam bulk carrier MARTHA HINDMAN was approaching Goderich with her last cargo of the season, storage grain. A heavy sea was running as the boat entered the Goderich pierheads and, with her speed checked so that she might safely pass ALGOWAY which was loading at the salt dock, she lost steerageway and was swept down onto the south pier. MARTHA HINDMAN tore a 25-foot hole in her starboard bow near the waterline and began to take water rapidly . With the aid of tugs, she was placed alongside the elevator and the local fire department was called to the scene to help pump water from her forward end. The water gained, however, and MARTHA HINDMAN gradually settled with her bow on the harbour bottom in about 25 feet of water. The unloading of her cargo was started the next day and we understand that there was little if any damage to the grain. As she was unloaded, of course, the puncture rose above the waterline. It is to be hoped that Q & O will consider the aging steamer to be worth the cost of repair. MARTHA HINDMAN, (a) LYMAN C. SMITH, is a particularly handsome boat and one of the oldest vessels still operating on the lakes. It would be unfortunate indeed should her career be ended by an accident of this nature.
This has not been a good year for the Paterson canaller TROISDOC (III). Back in the spring, she got into an argument with a Welland Canal lock wall and flattened her bow nicely. Then, on December 7, whilst downbound in the Neebish Rock Cut, St. Mary's River, TROISDOC strayed out of the channel and opened a 50-foot gash in her hull plating. She was brought back up the river and was taken to the Government Wharf in the Canadian Soo where temporary repairs were made. On December 9, she departed the Soo for Collingwood and there the damage will be permanently repaired by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. during the winter months.
A particularly disturbing report reached us earlier from sources connected with Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. The word was that while POINTE NOIRE is in good condition and will have considerable money spent on her during the next few years, both MEAFORD and GODERICH may be very near to the end of their operating careers. The latter steamers, both built in 1906, are showing their age, and MEAFORD, in particular, has been suffering from boiler problems. Much to our gratification, however, we now learn that Upper Lakes has made no formal decision on the future of either boat. MEAFORD will run at least through until July 1979 when she is due for survey and inspection, but whether she will be given the necessary drydocking and maintenance is an altogether different question. GODERICH, like MEAFORD, is presently laid up at Toronto for the winter and was given a good lay-up which would tend to indicate that she may fit out in the spring. We sincerely hope that Upper Lakes will decide to keep these veteran steamers in service.
We are indeed happy to report that IMPERIAL SARNIA has once again been granted a reprieve from the woeful fate which has been forecast for her during the last four years. Imperial Oil Limited has decided to expend the funds necessary for the replacement of much of her deck and this extensive work will guarantee her future for a good many seasons to come. The SARNIA is presently ensconced in the yard of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. where the work will be put in hand over the winter.
The Misener steam bulk carrier ROYALTON, built in 1924 at Collingwood for the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd., did not operate during 1978 and most observers thought that she had reached the end of the line when she was withdrawn from the Thunder Bay - Indiana Harbor ore trade which she had served for many years. To make matters worse, she suffered considerable damage at the hands of Hamilton vandals early in the fall. Not to worry. It seems that Misener Transportation Ltd. will have need of ROYALTON's services during 1979 and present plans are that she will fit out in the spring.
Some years back, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. dropped what had long been a lucrative package freight route, that between Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton. For many years, this run had been served by the line's "express steamers", mainly the boats of the "City" class. In due course of time, however, the lower lake service was discontinued and, for the through service, the stop at Toronto was abandoned in favour of Port Credit. Then the call at Port Credit itself was dropped and all freight destined for this area was handled through Hamilton. Recently, it has even looked as if C.S.L. might be on the verge of quitting the package freight service entirely. Under the circumstances, therefore, it was with considerable surprise that we received the news that the Montreal-Toronto-Hamilton service will be revived by C.S.L. in 1979. Granted, the operation won't be exactly the way it was before; the "City" boats are all gone and the general cargo will be carried in containers. But who complains? The run will be made by the newly-refurbished motorship FRENCH RIVER which has now emerged from many years of idleness spent at Hamilton. In fact, FRENCH RIVER was placed on drydock at Port Weller during December and has since been returned to Hamilton for the winter. We understand that FRENCH RIVER was chosen for the new service because of the fact that her side ports are large enough to permit the movement of containers, a requirement which none of the other C.S.L. package freighters could meet. FRENCH RIVER is not the most beautiful ship on the lakes, but we will be glad to see her back in service and the old route reestablished.
In the December issue, we mentioned that the Branch Lines Ltd. tanker EDOUARD SIMARD would be rebuilt and lengthened by 18 feet during the present winter. We reported that the work would be done at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding but we now learn that Davie will not be doing the work. Apparently, the contract for the rebuilding of the motorship was let before the takeover of Branch Lines by the interests who own Davie and hence the ship was still under the control of Marine Industries at the time. As might be imagined, the contract was accordingly let to Marine Industries Ltd. and the work will be done at the Sorel shipyard despite the change in management of the fleet which has occurred in the interim.
SECOLA operated but one year. This photo by J. H. Bascom shows her in the pool between W. S. C. Locks 6 and 7 on October 8, 1978.Secola Shipping Ltd. has apparently decided against laying its tanker SECOLA up for the winter on the east coast in the hope that a buyer might be found for her there during the winter months. SECOLA arrived at Toronto on Sunday, December 10, and was put to bed along the south section of the west wall of the turning basin, the remains of WILLOWBRANCH having been moved out to a position on the north wall of the ship channel. SECOLA has not yet been stripped and lights are burning in her after end, so we must assume that her owner has not given up on the possibility of selling the tanker. We shall wait to see what happens but we would be deluding ourselves were we to be overly optimistic about SECOLA's future.
The first of the new U.S. Coast Guard tugs, KATMAI BAY, arrived at Buffalo on December 7th. Commissioning ceremonies are scheduled to be held on January 8 at Cleveland. She is due to arrive at her base in the Soo on January 16, whereupon she will take up regular duty. For the duration of the winter, the aging tug NAUGATUCK will be retained at the Soo as well but, when spring arrives and the winter's ice problems have passed, NAUGATUCK will be sent off to a base in the New England area.
As part of its preparations for assuming the task of hauling Republic Steel iron ore, the Interlake Steamship Company had intended to have its bulk carrier ELTON HOYT 2nd converted to a self-unloader during this winter. A contract for the work had been let to the American Shipbuilding Company which was to attend to the job at its Lorain shipyard. The AmShip work force has, however, been on strike since August and it now seems unlikely that work on the HOYT will begin as scheduled in January unless some other yard can take on the job.
During the late autumn of 1978, rumours were making the rounds concerning the possible retirement of certain vessels of the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company. In particular, mention was made of the self-unloaders SYLVANIA and J. R. SENSIBAR and the craneship BUCKEYE (II). Well now, it seems that we have good news and we have bad news, the latter not really unexpected. First of all, the Columbia management has no present intention of withdrawing either the 1905-built SYLVANIA or the SENSIBAR which was built one year later. While it is true that both boats are getting well along in years, they are still of use to Columbia and should continue to operate, at least for the time being, unless some unforeseen problem of a major nature should develop.
BUCKEYE, however, has had the biscuit and will not operate again for Columbia. This most interesting steamer, converted to a craneship and self-unloader in 1958, was built at Cleveland back in 1910 and sailed previously as (a) LEONARD B. MILLER (37), (b) CHARLES W. GALLOWAY (58), and (c) ROBERT C. NORTON (I)(74). Since the conversion, she has carried just about every cargo known to lake shippers, and years of having such things as pig iron and railway wheels dumped into her holds have taken their toll on her internal steelwork which is now greatly deteriorated. In addition, she suffered damage in an April 20, 1978, grounding in the Middle Neebish Channel. BUCKEYE was given minor repairs but only enough to permit her a temporary extension of her certificate to the end of the navigation season. Columbia has no intention of spending the serious money that would be required to put the aging steamer into operating condition.
The retirement of BUCKEYE will have two very interesting side effects. The first is that with her will go her big triple-chime steam whistle, the last still in regular use on a lake freighter. (The only other one still used regularly is on the tug EDNA G. The Cliffs steamer THOMAS F. PATTON has one but uses it for ceremonial purposes only.) The second effect is that with her retirement, we see the disappearance of the last of the major American lake craneships. BUCKEYE was frequently called upon to render lightering assistance to vessels in trouble and we have no idea what will take her place.
ALGOBAY, her bow in considerable disarray after her argument with the tug POINTE MARGUERITE at Sept-Iles on November 14, was taken to the shipyard at Thunder Bay (Port Arthur) for repairs. The work was expedited so that ALGOBAY would not lose the entire remainder of the navigation season and, in fact, she was back in service in late December. POINTE MARGUERITE and two of her three crewmen, however, are still lying on the bottom of the harbour at Sept-Iles. It is expected that the tug will eventually be raised.
The McAllister lightering barge MAPLEHEATH was apparently in some kind of trouble on Lake Ontario near Port Weller on November 27. We saw a brief news report to the effect that she had broken away from her tug in heavy weather whilst en route to Hamilton with a load of taconite, and that her crew had been removed by helicopter, the barge subsequently roaming around the lake without lights. We have no idea how this escapade began or ended, nor do we know what MAPLEHEATH was doing in these parts at all. Can any of our readers assist us with this matter?
We reported previously that N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay, has reactivated its canaller LAWRENDOC (II) and has sent her to the east coast after drydocking at Collingwood. The motorship will remain in service on salt water during the winter. Meanwhile, Paterson has also pulled out of lay-up her sistership, MONDOC (III), and she also has been sent eastwards. MONDOC, however, is not in as good condition as LAWRENDOC and Paterson will be seeking a buyer for MONDOC during the winter. Word of a finalized sale is expected shortly.
In the December issue, we commented upon the departure for scrapping of the former Westdale Shipping self-unloader LEADALE. We mentioned that she was bound for a stopover at Sorel, but instead she put in at Quebec City where she was lying on November 15. It has been confirmed that her destination is a Colombian port (Cartagena, perhaps?) where she will be dismantled.
Back in 1972, the city of Cleveland acquired the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender WOODBINE for use as a training facility for students. The training programme was not successful and, during the autumn of 1978, the city offered WOODBINE for sale. While we would have thought that it was unlikely that WOODBINE would be sold for active service, it seems that this has, in fact, transpired. The vessel was sold for the princely sum of $28,000 to the Lake Towing Company Inc. of Avon, Ohio, which apparently plans to use her in commercial lake service. We have no details on the type of trade in which the firm plans to use WOODBINE and we shall be interested to see what may develop in this regard.
HERON BAY (II), now idle at Quebec City and renamed HERON B., has been sold by the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. to A. Ziff and Sons (Union Pipe and Machinery Ltd.), Montreal, for scrapping. It would seem likely that she will eventually be resold to overseas breakers. Meanwhile, SHELTER BAY (II) has continued to suffer from boiler problems and Q & O has decided that the cost of keeping her in service is no longer warranted. She arrived at Goderich on December 23 with a winter storage grain cargo and will henceforth be used as a storage barge by the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company Ltd. which has purchased the steamer.
With her sister PIC RIVER (now PIC R.) sold to United Metals for scrapping and laid up at Hamilton, BLACK RIVER continued to operate for Q & O through the autumn. She is apparently in somewhat better condition than was PIC RIVER at the time of the latter's retirement. BLACK RIVER arrived at Toronto on December 17 with a storage cargo and seems to have been given a good layup. Although Q & O had previously announced that both PIC RIVER and BLACK RIVER would be retired in 1978, we have since heard that Q & O may decide to run BLACK RIVER again in 1979 and also that they may try to find a buyer for her during the winter months. We find it hard to imagine that anyone would purchase an 83-year-old boat for anything but scrap! As frequently seems to be the case with stories involving Q & O, we will simply have to be patient and wait to see what happens.
Toronto's old Eastern Gap once sported two lighthouses, both of classical design. A large lighthouse, equipped latterly with a deep-toned foghorn, was located at the outer end of the east pier, while a smaller structure featuring only a fixed light and fog bell, sat at the inner end of the same pier. During 1973 and 1974, the Eastern Gap was deepened and widened so that it might become the main harbour entrance. The east pier was completely removed and the lighthouses placed in storage at Terminal 51. They were no longer needed as a new light had been built at the southwestern extremity of the eastern headland, a spit of manmade land extending into the lake from the foot of Leslie Street. On December 11, 1978, the Toronto Harbour Commission voted to fix up the two old lighthouses and place them on display in the aquatic park which will be developed at the tip of the headland. It is to be assumed that they will not be used for navigational purposes.
For some years now, a number of Toronto's salt water shipping terminals have been closed to marine traffic and relegated to use by trucking companies and, in one case, Harbour Commission office facilities. None of the general cargo wharves along Queen's Quay are now used by vessels except for winter lay-up purposes. Now comes word that the continued reduction in salt water tonnage using the port may force the Commission to close Terminal 35, commonly known as the Cousins Terminal. Located on Cherry Street between Villiers and Polson Streets, it was constructed since the opening of the Seaway and, in recent years, has been visited by Russian vessels which handle goods such as farm machinery. The terminal, however, seems to be unsuitable for container shipments and, in future, all salt water general cargo will be handled at Terminal 51 which is located at the inner end of the Eastern Gap. The only exception will be goods requiring the use of Atlas, the heavy lift crane, located at the south-east corner of the Cousins Terminal on the Polson Street slip.
We earlier reported that the Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. ocean bulk carrier CANADIAN TRANSPORT (I) cleared Tampa on October 5, 1978 bound for a Spanish scrapyard. We have since learned that, prior to being taken in tow by the tug JASON, the vessel was renamed TRANSPORT. The abbreviation of her name appears to have been made to free the name CANADIAN TRANSPORT for use on Hull 64, the new Upper Lakes self-unloader nearing completion at Port Weller.
The Bay Shipbuilding Corp., on December 5th, laid the keel for its Hull 723. a self-unloader ordered by the American Steamship Company. The new vessel will measure 728 x 78 x 45 and is scheduled to be ready for service in April 1980. There is no word on a proposed name for the ship as yet.
The deck crew for the new U.S. Steel self-unloader EDWIN H. GOTT was called to report for duty during the last week in December and the vessel should make her debut on the lakes during January, weather conditions permitting. The entry into service of the GOTT will surely mean the permanent retirement of more of the older boats in the tinstack fleet. It would be our guess that steamers such as WILLIAM A. IRVIN, B. F. AFFLECK, and HORACE JOHNSON may not see service again, and in this group we might even include the turbine-powered HOMER D. WILLIAMS and the motorship EUGENE W. PARGNY.
This last news item has been left to the end of our Marine News Section because we think that is exactly where it belongs. A Canadian group headed by actor, writer, sailor (etc.) Ratch Wallace has begun work on a film entitled "November Gale" which will be a somewhat "fictionalized" version of the loss of EDMUND FITZGERALD. Wallace and his crew have been filming on Lake Superior and, just before Christmas, made a trip on Algoma Central Marine's V. W. SCULLY which will play the part of FITZGERALD in the film. The FITZGERALD name was pasted onto the SCULLY and, in that state, she passed down through the Soo Locks on December 19. What class! From available accounts, it seems that the film will be less a documentary of the loss of the ship than it will be a fictional "view of a sailor's life". Sounds just wonderful, doesn't it?
Rapids Queen - One Last Time?
Starting in October and continuing each month since, we have attempted to present the complete history of the passenger steamer COLUMBIAN, (b) BROCKVILLE, (c) RAPIDS QUEEN, (d) C.D. 110, which was built in 1892. We bit off rather more than we could chew with this one, but only through asking provocative questions about the unknown can we hope eventually to produce a history sufficiently complete to serve as a source of information for researchers who may follow in our steps in the years to come.
We are grateful to the many members who wrote with information on this vessel. In particular, we are indebted to Gerald T. Girvin of Rochester for his assistance. Gerry is an incorrigible collector of data about Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River passenger boats and his records have shed much light on the early years of COLUMBIAN. He had a few surprises for us, too!
It seems that COLUMBIAN was probably not built for R & O at all, nor was she built "on speculation" either. In fact, according to this source, she was built for the Joy Line of New York, which had hitherto operated boats in that area but which, rather ambitiously, had decided to place an entry on the route from Chicago to the grounds of the Columbian Exposition which would be held in 1893 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World. The Joy Line, apparently, was unaware of the number of steamers which had already been committed to run to the Fair, including the whaleback CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS which was built in 1892 especially for the event.
In any event, COLUMBIAN set out up the east coast after her completion in the spring of 1892. She encountered bad weather during the trip and put in at Montreal in July with considerable damage. By the time repairs were completed, the Joy Line was getting cold feet about the Fair service and decided to sell the steamer. It was at this time that she was purchased by Richelieu and Ontario. Unfortunately, we have no way of correlating this version of the circumstances with the registering of the boat to Morgan Iron Works in 1892, nor do we know why Lloyd's of 1892 shows her owned by R & O of Philadelphia. Neither do we know how Shea of St. John's became involved, although he may possibly have been a mortgagee as was the Montreal Safe Deposit Company later. To be quite honest, we should also like to know what the Joy Line intended to do with COLUMBIAN in the lakes in 1892, for the Chicago Fair was not due to open until May 1st, 1893.
R & O bought COLUMBIAN over the objections of some of its senior operating personnel who argued that the ship was "cranky" and that her poor centre of gravity caused her to lunge forward when she pitched. They also said that she was a bit too deep for the rapids service for which R & O intended her. Nevertheless, the line acquired her and sheathed her hull with rock elm in order to pacify her critics. She was placed in service, not on the through line from Toronto to Montreal, but rather on the shorter route from Kingston to Montreal, her running mate being the older BOHEMIAN. COLUMBIAN kept her old name, as even though R & O had no connection with the Fair whose name she bore, it fitted in with other R & O names (ALGERIAN, CASPIAN, etc.).
Whether COLUMBIAN strayed frequently from the Kingston-Montreal route, we do not know. She did, however, leave it in 1897 to run between Buffalo and Chippawa with connections for the electric gorge railway and the Niagara Navigation Company boats for Toronto. R & O schedules for 1898 and 1899 do not show COLUMBIAN as being back on Lake Ontario or the River, but it seems that she did return if the date on the "1898" Notman photo is credible.
COLUMBIAN was definitely on Lake Ontario and the River in 1900 when she ran most of the summer under charter to Gildersleeve's Lake Ontario and Bay of Quinte Steamboat Company. She and NORTH KING operated from Port Hope to Rockport via Cobourg, Charlotte, Bay of Quinte and Kingston, while HERO ran the local service from Brighton to Gananoque. The terms of the charter gave COLUMBIAN back to R & O on Mondays, June 9 through August 27, for the Kingston-Montreal route. An advertisement appearing on August 31,1900, in the Rochester Union-Advertiser, indicated that COLUMBIAN and NORTH KING would sail for the "Toronto Fair" on August 30 and 31 and on September 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7, departure from Charlotte at 10:30 p.m. The fare was $1.00 and Rochester residents could make the boat via the 9:40 p.m. Charlotte train.
In our original feature on this steamer, Ye Ed. went out on a limb and suggested that the ship had been lengthened during the 1901 rebuild at Sorel and not in 1909 as the official records would have us believe. The more we compare photos of COLUMBIAN and BROCKVILLE, especially the views which appeared in our October issue, the more we are convinced that our suspicions are correct. Other historians who have seen the photos tend to agree. It is entirely possible that a change in the measurements of the ship was not recorded at the time of the 1901 rebuild and that this error was not corrected until she was surveyed subsequent to the 1909 reconstruction.
We also have new information concerning RAPIDS QUEEN's sojourn at Morrisburg, during which time she housed patients of Doctor Locke's Clinic. We had mentioned that she went to Morrisburg in 1936, remained there in 1937, and was back in lay-up at Kingston in 1938. We have, however, run across an article in the Canadian Railway and Marine World which indicates that, having been purchased by John E. Russell, Ontario attorney and vice-president of Sin-Mac Lines Ltd., RAPIDS QUEEN left Sorel on September 14, 1929 bound for Port Arthur. She was placed in 1930 on a route between Fort William, Port Arthur, Silver Islet and Isle Royale but, as we already knew, the service was anything but a success and RAPIDS QUEEN was withdrawn and taken back to Portsmouth where she was laid up. It should be noted, however, that it was in 1930 that RAPIDS QUEEN ran to Silver Islet, not in 1933.
Now then, the piece in C.R.&M.W. indicates that, on September 9, 1932, RAPIDS QUEEN, presumably idle since 1930, was towed from Portsmouth to Morrisburg by the Sin-Mac tug CONQUEROR. She was moored at the outside pier, just beyond the town limits, for use as a floating hotel because there was insufficient accommodation at Morrisburg for persons attending the Clinic at Williamsburg. We now know that RAPIDS QUEEN was at Morrisburg in 1933 and likely in 1934 as well, although we are not certain. In 1935, of course, she was on the Ontario and Quebec Lines service between Toronto and Montreal. We had earlier thought that she went to Morrisburg in 1936 but it seems improbable that she went back there after her brief reactivation. We assume that she remained idle at Portsmouth from the autumn of 1935 until late in 1938 when she went to Kingston for conversion to a fuel barge for C.D.&D.
We only wish that all this information had been at our fingertips when we wrote the original article, for then we would not have had to spread the data over four issues. We doubt that we'll learn much more about COLUMBIAN or RAPIDS QUEEN, but if we do, we shall be back like a dirty shirt from the laundry to keep our readers up to date.
United States To Sail Again
Those of us who take an interest in the comings and goings of deep sea passenger vessels (and today there seem to be more goings than comings), will indeed be pleased with recent reports to the effect that the long-idle steamer UNITED STATES will soon be placed in service by her new owner. The ship, which last ran for United States Lines in 1969 and has since been lying at Newport News, was the object of many "sales" conducted by the U.S. Maritime Administration over the years but no acceptable purchaser came up with folding green in sufficiently large quantities. It is now known, however, that the ship has been sold for $5,000,000 to United States Cruise Lines Inc. of Seattle. This firm intends to place UNITED STATES in a service from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Hawaii, a route on which she might well be operated successfully.
UNITED STATES reached a speed of 38.32 knots on her trials in May 1952 and normally ran somewhere in the region of 35 knots. Such speeds are not economically justifiable today in view of rapidly escalating fuel costs and so her new owner intends to remove some of the propulsion machinery and reduce her speed and operating costs accordingly. Her passenger capacity will be reduced through the conversion of some lower-grade accommodation to crew's quarters and the rest of the passenger spaces will be refitted and updated.
We hope that UNITED STATES' reactivation will be happier than the brief appearance back in U.S. service of her former mate AMERICA which, in early 1978, was bought from Chandris (for whom she had operated many years as AUSTRALIS) by Venture Cruise Lines, New York, and given back her old name. She made one trip from New York in late June but the voyage was a fiasco, mostly because of rushed and inadequate preparation, and the Venture operation collapsed amid a storm of public indignation. AMERICA was repurchased by Chandris and is now undergoing an extensive refit despite the fact that she is almost forty years of age. She will re-enter service for Chandris under the name ITALIS and should have a lengthy future of operation ahead of her.
December Vessel Passages
In the December issue, we reproduced a series of Detroit and Mackinaw City vessel passages which were taken from the October 7, 1929 issue of the Toronto Globe. We asked our readers to participate in a little historical quiz; they were to find the names of 32 ships which were still in active operation (not just in existence) during 1978, 49 years later.
As some of our readers found out, however, we pulled a wee trick on you. In fact, there were 33 boats still in service in 1978, and not 32. If you checked through the list and found 33, how long did you spend going over it again to see which of them had not turned in '78? Sorry about that, folks, but what's a game without a little twist in the works?
To satisfy those whose curiosity was whetted by our historical exercise, there follows a list of the ships still in service in 1978 together with their current names (if there have been changes in the interim). They are listed in the exact order in which they appeared in the passages.
ROBERT HOBSON - OUTARDE (III); GEORGE F. BAKER - HENRY STEINBRENNER (III); WILLIAM McLAUCHLAN - JOAN M. McCULLOUGH; F. A. BAILEY - MEAFORD; HORACE JOHNSON; B. H. TAYLOR - ROGERS CITY; CHARLES M. SCHWAB - PIERSON DAUGHTERS; JOHN W. BOARDMAN - LEWIS G. HARRIMAN; WILLIAM K. FIELD - GEORGE D. GOBLE; WILLIS L. KING - C. L. AUSTIN; FRONTENAC; LEONARD B. MILLER -BUCKEYE (II); JOHN A. TOPPING - WILLIAM A. REISS (II); EMORY L. FORD -RAYMOND H. REISS; J. PIERPONT MORGAN - HERON BAY (II); JAMES MacNAUGHTON -ALASTAIR GUTHRIE; SIR ISAAC LOTHIAN BELL - BLACK RIVER; JOSEPH H. FRANTZ; E. C. COLLINS - J. B. FORD; JAMES NASMYTH - PIC RIVER; SYLVANIA; HOMER D. WILLIAMS; PATHFINDER (II) - GODERICH (II); D. O. MILLS - G. A. TOMLINSON (II); JAMES LAUGHLIN - HELEN EVANS; WILLIAM C. ATWATER - E. J. NEWBERRY; HARRY COULBY (II); FRED G. HARTWELL (II) - GEORGE M. CARL (II); COL. JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER - WILLIS B. BOYER; WILLIAM P. COWAN - AMOCO ILLINOIS; W. F. WHITE - ERINDALE; FRANK H. GOODYEAR (II) - SAGINAW BAY; and last, but not least, B. F. AFFLECK.
Our congratulations go to Pete Worden, Bill Luke and Skip Gillham, all of whom saw through our little deception and submitted correct lists. Ed Middleton, who frequently corresponds with us all the way from Kansas City, Missouri, took a valiant stab at the problem and, despite his distance from the lakes, came up with a substantially correct listing save a few names.
It is interesting to note that seven of the boats are still serving under the same name as in 1929. Others have gone through numerous changes.
There were several vessels named in the passages that did not turn in '78 but which might do so in the future, especially if sold by their present owners. AUGUST ZIESING and JOSHUA A. HATFIELD, for instance, fall into this category. On the other hand, of those that did run in '78, HERON BAY, PIC RIVER, and BUCKEYE have now been retired and several other vessels may be withdrawn in the near future.
By the way, we previously listed twenty boats shown in the passages which eventually met violent ends. To this list we must add one more name, that of the Great Lakes Transit Corporation package freighter UTICA which, under the name QUINTOY (Chilean registry), was lost in the Pacific in 1949.
Old vessel passages certainly seem to please our readers and we have a large collection of these from which we may cull excerpts in the future. If any of our readers should happen to have a passage column from any lake newspaper which they feel is particularly notable for whatever reason, we invite them to send a copy along to us.
Lay-Up Listings; We would remind all members that we would like to receive lay-up listings from as many lake ports as possible for inclusion in our February and March issues. Please send your list to us as soon as possible.
Ship of the Month No. 80
Each month, we do a good bit of searching to come up with an interesting "Ship of the Month" for our readers, our inspiration coming from widely varying sources. Seldom, however, is our feature article inspired by a photograph as it is this month. A short while ago, Al Sagon-King of Thorold came up with a fine photo of the old wooden steamer SENATOR DERBYSHIRE, the view having been taken by his father many years ago. We sat down to take a good look at the intriguing shot and were so fascinated by it that we decided to take a crack at SENATOR DERBYSHIRE for the January "Ship of the Month". What follows is the result; we hope that it will lead off a series of interesting features to come your way through these pages during 1979.
To set the stage for the entrance of our featured steamer, we must go back in time to the last decade of the nineteenth century, when wooden freighters were still being built for lake trade even though it was evident that the steel hull was here to stay. Prior to the turn of the century, there were, of course, many more shipbuilding yards situated around the lakes than there are now. One of the most famous builders of wooden ships was James Davidson of West Bay City, Michigan, who was also a prominent vessel owner and operator. Davidson's daughter Laura married George Ashley Tomlinson who was to become, in his own right, one of the lakes' most respected operators of steamboats.
James Davidson managed a large fleet of wooden steamers and schooner barges, most of which had been built in his own yard. The Davidson Steamship Company was a thriving concern and seldom did a year pass without a new hull being added to the fleet. The 1897 season saw the construction of a new wooden hull which measured 220 feet in length, 40.8 feet in the beam, and 16.8 feet in depth, these dimensions giving her a Gross Tonnage of 1312 and Net Tonnage of 1079. She was powered by a steeple compound engine with cylinders of 21 and 42 inches and a stroke of 30 inches. The machinery was built by the Vulcan Iron Works of Chicago.
James Davidson's BERMUDA is downbound in the lower harbour at Sault Ste. Marie in this Young photo dated 1908.The new steamer was enrolled at Duluth as U.S.3729 and was christened BERMUDA. The majority of Davidson's boats were given exotic place names, some of them honouring locations in the Caribbean or Central or South America. Needless to say, BERMUDA never managed to make her way to the island for which she was named.
BERMUDA was, in many ways, a typical product of the Davidson shipyard which was acknowledged to be one of the most accomplished at building wooden lakers and was, in fact, one of the last to build this type of vessel. She had a raised forecastle on which was mounted a small rounded pilothouse located forward of a texas cabin which contained the master's accommodation. On the monkey's island, in the fashion of the day, was an open bridge from which most if not all of the navigation was done. We must remember that it was once considered to be a part of an officer's duty to be out in the open, exposed to all the inclemency that the elements could throw at him; if the only way to stay warm whilst on watch was to stand up to the waist in a barrel of straw, then that was what was expected.
If the forward end of BERMUDA was rather handsome, her after end was somewhat less so. A flush quarterdeck was surmounted by a small cabin, forward of which was an even smaller iron boilerhouse out of which sprouted a rather thin black stack. Like most Davidson boats, but unlike the majority of wooden lake steamers, BERMUDA sported an elliptical stern with considerable overhang. It curved in a continuous arc outwards and upwards from the rudder post to the taffrail instead of halting at various angles and corners. Almost all of the accommodations were located in the forecastle, a dark and dreary space totally devoid of portholes or windows except in its after bulkhead. The forecastle and cabin structures were painted white, the hull and boilerhouse black.
James Davidson operated BERMUDA in his own service for more than a decade and in 1908 she was given an extensive refurbishing and rebuilding. It was not uncommon for wooden lake freighters to require such treatment at relatively frequent intervals, for their oak hulls could take only so much of the wear and tear to which they were subjected. We believe that it was at this time that BERMUDA was given the rather flimsy mainmast that she sported until the end of her days. Needless to say, it did nothing whatever for her appearance.
The day of the big wooden bulk carrier was, however, drawing to a close at this time and such boats could no longer pay their way in the major lake trades. Most of them were either retired, sold off the lakes, or else purchased by owners who could put them to use carrying such undistinguished cargoes as coal and lumber. BERMUDA was no exception and, on February 6, 1909, she was sold by Davidson to one H. A. Clark of Brockville, Ontario. At the time of the sale, it was announced that she would not immediately be transferred to Canadian registry, but later in 1909 she was enrolled at Montreal as C.112351 and was registered to Antoine Wendling of Brockville. Her tonnage was computed by Canadian methods as 1246 Gross and 987 Net. It was during 1910 that the steamer was renamed (b) SENATOR DERBYSHIRE.
Not much is known about the shipping operations of Antoine Wendling or, for that matter, of H. A. Clark, but the former gentleman remained her owner of record until January 14, 1914, when she was purchased by Captain Alban Robineau of Montreal. (This spelling of the Captain's name is taken from the 1914 List of Shipping but certain other sources have spelled his name "Robideau".) The year 1915 saw her ownership passed to Wilson, Paterson and Company, Montreal, and it is to be presumed that this firm employed her in the coal trade as, probably, did both Robineau and Wendling previously.
In 1917, SENATOR DERBYSHIRE was operated under charter to the Canada Shipping Company, Montreal, an enterprise of the famous Frank A. Augsbury. When Augsbury formed the George Hall Coal Company of Canada Ltd., Montreal, in 1918, the DERBYSHIRE was purchased by the new concern. In fact, the sale took place on January 1st, 1918. The steamer was employed basically in the coal trade by Hall but it is likely that, from time to time, she was sent to the lower St. Lawrence River in order to fetch a load of pulpwood.
The date is c.1922 as SENATOR DERBYSHIRE is upbound in the Welland Canal. Photo by Henry F. Sagon-King of St. Catharines and courtesy of A. F. Sagon-King.The Hall interests have never been averse to corporate reorganizations and their shipping history is regularly punctuated by such events. One such reorganization took place in 1922, at which time SENATOR DERBYSHIRE was transferred to the George Hall Coal and Shipping Company Ltd., Montreal. On Monday, August 14th of the same year, she managed to find herself stranded on Gooseneck Island, a predicament from which she was released on August 16. She suffered little damage in the accident.
SENATOR DERBYSHIRE managed to get herself in trouble again early the following year. On May 22, 1923, she was involved in a collision on Lake St. Francis in the St. Lawrence River. Strangely enough, the other boat involved was Hall's steel canaller LUCIUS W. ROBINSON. Neither steamer was seriously damaged and SENATOR DERBYSHIRE was able to continue in the coal trade for the remainder of the 1923 navigation season.
By the mid-1920s, however, the day of the steel canaller had definitely arrived. Many Canadian fleets were taking advantage of the chance to obtain one or more of the canal steamers which were being turned out in large numbers by shipyards in Canada and Great Britain. The Hall fleet was no exception and many of the new canallers either had been added to the company's roster or else were on order and would be commissioned in the near future. None too reluctantly, Hall and other operators sought to dispose of their wooden tonnage which had been rendered obsolete. SENATOR DERBYSHIRE had spent a good many years carrying coal from various Lake Ontario ports to Montreal and bringing pulpwood from the lower St. Lawrence to paper mills located in the vicinity of Ogdensburg, but her day was drawing to a close.
Before Hall had a chance to retire SENATOR DERBYSHIRE and relegate her to the ignominy of spending her declining years in the backwater of some boneyard, the ship herself took care of the problem. On Saturday, October 11, 1924, SENATOR DERBYSHIRE was upbound light on Lake Ontario, en route to pick up another coal cargo for Montreal. She had passed Main Duck Island and was in a position to the east of Point Petre Light (which marks the southwestern extremity of Ontario's Prince Edward County) when it was found that the steamer was afire. The crew abandoned ship and all were safely rescued by the Tree Line package freighter MAPLEBAY which, fortunately, was in the vicinity when the fire was discovered. There was no help for SENATOR DERBYSHIRE herself, however, and the fire raged in the wooden hull until it reached the waterline, whereupon the remains of the vessel sank. The ship was valued at approximately $25,000 at the time of her loss.
SENATOR DERBYSHIRE would not long have remained in service even if the fire had not intervened. All things considered, however, she did have an active life in excess of 25 years' duration and accordingly had done rather well for a ship of her type. Her longevity was a tribute to the craftsmen who had made the Davidson shipyard at West Bay City a force with which to be reckoned in the days of wooden ship construction.
(Ed. Note: An invaluable source of information for this history is The Wishbone Fleet by member Daniel C. McCormick.)
Winter Fleet Listings
The following would appear to be the final lay-up listing for the Port of Toronto for the current winter. If there are any changes, they will be reported in the February issue.
R. BRUCE ANGUS
E. J. NEWBERRY
NEW YORK NEWS
C. W. CADWELL
JUDITH M. PIERSON
CAPE BRETON MINER
GEORGE M. CARL
SILVERDALE ENGLISH RIVER
GORDON C. LEITCH
These preliminary lists for Niagara area ports come courtesy of Al. Sykes:
Port Weller - CANADIAN CENTURY, CANADIAN TRANSPORT, MARINSAL, PATERSON, SEAWAY QUEEN.
Welland - MANITOULIN.
Humberstone - AVONDALE, BAIE COMEAU II, MANTADOC, SENATOR OF CANADA, GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER, TEGUCIGALPA.
Port Colborne - CANADIAN HUNTER, CANADIAN MARINER, CANADIAN PROGRESS, FORT WILLIAM.
A Strange Accident
The December 1925 issue of Canadian Railway and Marine World reported that the small wooden passenger and freight steamer HENRY PEDWELL had arrived at Wiarton with a cargo of cattle from Manitoulin Island. While she was unloading, a cow jumped over the gangway into the water and then charged at the ship, puncturing her hull with its horns. She was hauled on the Wiarton Marine Railway for temporary repairs and was then sent to Collingwood for permanent repair. HENRY PEDWELL was owned at the time by Capt. John Tackaberry of Lions Head, Ontario.