Due to the summer vacation period, there will be no further meetings until autumn. The first meeting of the 1980-81 season will be held on Friday, October 3rd, at the Museum. It will be our annual Autumn Open Slide Night and members will be welcome to participate.
The Editor's Notebook
Our April Meeting, postponed one week due to the Easter Weekend, was a great success due to the efforts of Fred Addis who presented a most interesting illustrated address on the subject of shipbuilders who operated yards along the old Welland Canals. We are most grateful to Fred for coming all the way from Port Colborne to speak to us.
With the completion of this issue, Ye Ed takes what he hopes is a well-deserved rest from pounding his typewriter. Our next issue will be the Mid-Summer Number which should be in the mails during August, all being well. In the meantime, please keep those cards and letters coming in with the marine news; we cannot send a personal reply in each and every case (due to the volume of correspondence) but you may all be assured that we very much appreciate your assistance in letting us know when news of an interesting nature breaks. Without the help of our corresponding members, we could not maintain the quality of this journal.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Charles Anstay of Goderich, to Captain E. V. Smith of Halco Inc., Westmount, Quebec.
ROBERT S. PIERSON is seen on her first downbound passage of the Welland Canal, April 6, 1980. Photo by J. H. Bascom.The Soo River Company's recent acquisition, ROBERT S. PIERSON, (a) WILLIAM K. FIELD (34), (b) REISS BROTHERS (70), (c) GEORGE D. GOBLE (80), is now in service, resplendent in her new colours. The coal-fired steamer, the only such boat in service on the lakes under the Canadian flag, was put into operation in early April after an extensive refit at Hamilton. To our own way of thinking, the ship looks better now than she has at any previous stage in her career, and we wish her well in her new endeavours.
ROBERT S. PIERSON, however, is not the only new addition to the Soo River fleet in 1980. No sooner had it become evident, during mid-April, that the Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. steamer GODERICH was not being fitted out for the new season, than we learned that the Soo River Company had acquired the ship and would place her in service immediately. The deal was closed on April 14 and the boat was formally handed over to Pierson on April 17, although it was on the 16th that the painters moved in and began to dress GODERICH in her new colours. They suit her very well indeed. GODERICH entered service under her old name prior to the end of April, it being intended that she would make one trip under her old name and then be renamed (d) SOO RIVER TRADER. The vessel is, of course, an interesting acquisition for the Pierson interests in that she was built back in 1906, having sailed previously for the Pickands Mather fleet as (a) SAMUEL MATHER (III)(25), 00 PATHFINDER (II)(64). She is, in fact, of the same vintage as PIERSON INDEPENDENT, the Soo River hard-luck boat of 1979. We wish SOO RIVER TRADER better luck and a long career under the shamrock insignia.
Over the many years that have passed since the colours first were seen, we have all become inured to the rather strange livery of the Mohawk Navigation Company Ltd. The juxtaposition of blue and green on the ships' hulls has never been considered to be particularly pleasing, but likewise it has not been the worst that we have seen. Mohawk's SENNEVILLE, however, has now traded her normal livery for something decidedly worse and it sends shivers up and down the spine to think that SILVER ISLE will look the same when she is repainted in 1981. SENNEVILLE's hull is now a bright orange while her forecastle and quarterdeck are yellow. The word 'Pioneer' is spelled down her sides in large black letters. The stack is red with a narrow black smokeband and it features the stylized letters 'JR' in yellow and orange. Now what, we might well ask, would prompt anyone in his right mind to paint a ship in such hideous array? We know not, but we can report that 'Pioneer' refers to the Pioneer Grain Company Ltd., an enterprise of James Richardson and Sons Ltd. (the 'JR' on the stack). Richardson is, of course, a major Canadian grain dealer and has been much involved with these two vessels in recent years, although they have been operated for Mohawk by Scott Misener Steamships Ltd.
The Misener boats will also appear in slightly different colours this year, the familiar silver bands on the stacks being replaced by gold bands. In addition, RALPH MISENER has lost the jig-saw puzzle from her stack and she will henceforth carry the gold bands as well, although she has first been given bands of a yellowish colour to test the merits of a slightly different type of paint. The change to the gold bands was first rumoured some years ago when it was announced that Misener hulls would be painted blue, but it has only been this spring that the stack changes have actually been made. Regrettably, we must voice the opinion that the change is hardly for the better.
Royal Hydrofoil Cruises Ltd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, will begin service across Lake Ontario on May 15 using its 125-foot, 200-passenger hydrofoils PRINCE OF NIAGARA, QUEEN OF TORONTO and PRINCESS OF THE LAKE. The service is scheduled to continue through October 31. The hydrofoils will make a one-way lake crossing in 70 minutes, two boats normally being in service and one in reserve at any time. The round-trip fare between Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake will be $35 for adults, $25 for children. At these prices, we wonder how Royal will be able to keep even one of its boats in service...
MENIHEK LAKE entered service in late March as the Welland Canal shunter test vessel, this tour of unusual duty being scheduled to last about six weeks. In order to prepare her for her new service, MENIHEK LAKE has had the shunters attached fore and aft and facilities have been cut into her hull to allow easy access to and from the shunters. The steamer is ballasted with both water and sand so that she draws 26 feet of water fore and aft. This will be the first real test of the shunters under anything approximating operating conditions, the tests last year with MARINSAL having been little more than preliminary tinkerings. We understand that MENIHEK LAKE has been turned in her own length in the area below the Guard Gate at Thorold with no difficulties at all. We do, however, have a few questions: the shunters may work when semi-permanently attached directly to a ship and with special ladders and control equipment in place, but how are they to be attached quickly to a vessel which desires passage of the canal without getting involved in major structural alterations? And how would a shunter be attached to a bulbous-bowed ship? We shall see in due course, no doubt.
The forward end of the former U.S. Steel steamer JAMES A. FARRELL was gutted by fire at Duluth on March 10 as the vessel, partially dismantled, lay at the scrapyard of the Hyman-Michaels Company. The fire was caused by a cutting torch, but there was little of value destroyed in the blaze, for the beautiful woodwork and furnishings which once had graced the FARRELL's forward cabins, and particularly her guest quarters, had long since been removed. By April 12, the ship's stern had been cut down to the water line, whilst her bow was down to the level of her name on the forecastle .
Another recent fire occurred aboard a different boat, but one that also has sailed her last on the lakes. For several years now, CLARENCE B. RANDALL (II), late of the Inland Steel fleet, has lain idle at Milwaukee after being sold, allegedly for scrapping, to the Afram Brothers Company. During the late winter, cutting began on the RANDALL, her after cabins being gradually removed along with her stack. On March 14, a cutting torch ignited material in the after accommodations and damage was occasioned to the galley and three staterooms. It is said that the ship is being cut down for use as a floating dock, but we would not be surprised to see her completely dismantled. CLARENCE B. RANDALL was built in 1907 and sailed originally as (a) J. J. SULLIVAN (62).
Yet another fire of note occurred on March 19, this one causing severe damage to staging and the conveyor belt aboard the new BURNS HARBOR, presently nearing completion at Sturgeon Bay for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. It would seem possible that this set-back in preparing the new vessel for service may result in a delay in her commissioning. BURNS HARBOR is scheduled to be christened at the Bay Shipbuilding yard on May 24, 1980.
In the April issue, we listed those vessels of the United States Steel Corporation, Great Lakes Fleet, which would be in service during 1980, the list including 17 bulk carriers and five of the "Bradley" self-unloaders. Contrary to our previous report, however, HOMER D. WILLIAMS will be operating and the coal-fired JOHN HULST will not, at least at the beginning of the season. Indeed, prospects for the ore trade during the remainder of the navigation season are such that even more vessels may go to the wall as time passes.
It now seems fairly evident that MARLHILL has turned her wheel for the last time. The cracked boiler which she suffered in early April whilst fitting out at Toronto is a sufficiently serious problem that the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. has decided not to proceed with repairs, although no disposition of the steamer has yet been announced. She is presently lying at the foot of Yonge Street, Toronto.
The Chessie System has come up with a "solution" to some of the Lake Michigan carferry service's problems, but it is unlikely to attract positive comment from anyone but Chessie executives, particularly since the States of Michigan and Wisconsin do not have the funds available to step in. Chessie would agree to sell its three ferries and dock facilities for the total sum of $20,000,000 and then lease the service back for $1.00 per year. Other little considerations would be thrown into the pot to sweeten it for Chessie, most of them calling for payments of one sort or another, and the grabber being that Chessie must be allowed to sell off one ferry (CITY OF MIDLAND 41, no doubt). A serious reply to this offer hardly seems warranted; Chessie's generosity is exceeded only by its nerve...
As a late item of marine news, we included a small item at the very bottom of page fourteen of the April issue concerning the impending scrapping of the 73-year-old Medusa Cement steamer C. H. McCULLOUGH JR., (a) WARD AMES (16). For those who might have missed it, we should reiterate that the handsome old boat has been sold to Western Metals Corporation of Thunder Bay and will be dismantled there. The tugs are due to pick her up at her lay-up berth at South Chicago on or about May 15. McCULLOUGH, long in the fleet of the Interlake Steamship Company, was purchased in 1970 by Medusa, the eventual intention being to convert her to a cement carrier. She was operated briefly in the bulk trades but has been inactive for several years. Her condition was recently found to have deteriorated sufficiently that the cost of refurbishing her (in addition to the costly conversion) would have been prohibitive .
There is some suggestion that PIONEER may eventually be converted to a bulk cement carrier, just as was originally intended by Medusa Cement when it purchased the former STEELTON from the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. PIONEER's future has, of course, been in considerable doubt of late, but Medusa is in the course of negotiating with Penn-Dixie Cement on a possible deal which would see PIONEER made over into a cement boat for Lake Michigan service. No definite news in this regard is expected in the immediate future.
In the April issue, we gave details of the opening of the various canals, the entire Seaway system (including the American Soo Locks) having been put in operation on March 24. More details are now available. The first ship to pass through the Soo Canal (and only the MacArthur Lock was open until April 1) was YANKCANUCK, upbound on March 24 from the Government Wharf for the Algoma Steel plant. The first downbound passage was logged on March 25 by V. W. SCULLY. Strangely enough, the first passage of a U.S.-flag laker did not come until March 31 with PHILIP R. CLARKE upbound behind the salty THEANTO A.S. It is thought that this is the first time ever that a salt-water vessel has preceeded the first American ship through the Soo Locks after opening in the spring. From March 25 through 31, there were frequent passages by assorted Canadian boats.
The port of Cleveland opened on March 26 with the arrival of the Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader HOCHELAGA.
The demise of the three steam-powered Amoco lake tankers may not occur as imminently as was earlier expected, although there is considerable doubt as to how long the trio of veteran boats can be kept in service. In fact, only one of the new Hannah barges will be chartered by Amoco, this barge being especially built to carry asphalt, a product which the old ships cannot handle. AMOCO ILLINOIS, AMOCO INDIANA, and AMOCO WISCONSIN will remain in service for the foreseeable future, although ILLINOIS is due for inspection in 1981 and there is considerable doubt as to whether she will pass. The other two will run at least through 1983 when they, also, will require docking for inspection and survey. Amoco does not wish to be totally dependant upon the services of others to move its products and has already given some consideration to the possibility of building additional vessels should its three old steamers have to be retired due to age or condition.
Probably as a result of her poor showing during the 1979 season (with a late start and various mechanical problems), the Toronto excursion steamer BLUE WATER BELLE has been seized by a lienholder, tentatively identified as the Royal Bank of Canada. This is particularly unfortunate, as we understand that the BELLE had a good booking of charters lined up for the 1980 season. We sincerely hope that the difficulties may be resolved and that the BELLE's lovely chimed whistle will once again echo around Toronto Bay this summer.
Toronto will have yet another excursion boat in service during 1980, the most recent addition to the growing force being the converted wooden fairmile THE LADY GALADRIEL. The 108-foot vessel, built in 1944 at Weymouth, Nova Scotia, has recently laid idle in the Toronto turning basin, her owner of late having been Rohan Contracting Ltd. of Willowdale. She has been extensively renovated and repowered for her new duties and will allegedly specialize in corporate charters.
There may be good news for those of us who have wanted to see the Toronto steam sidewheel ferry TRILLIUM operating a more extensive series of harbour trips so that the general public would have access to the boat which was rebuilt with their tax money. Through the close of 1979, TRILLIUM had operated only in charter service with perhaps one venture per year onto the Hanlan's Point ferry service. It now seems that the Metropolitan Toronto Parks Department has budgeted for two crews for TRILLIUM in 1980 and, if true, this would virtually guarantee her use on public excursions as well as private evening charters. In addition, we understand that an appropriation of funds has been set aside for the eventual rebuilding of the Centre Island ferry docks so that TRILLIUM may be able to assist on this popular ferry route.
Although it is not really an item of "marine" news, we should report that, by the time this appears in print, the famous "Tin Goose" or Ford Trimotor airplane belonging to Island Airlines should be back in service between Port Clinton, Ohio, and the Lake Erie Islands (Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island). The plane, the last Ford Trimotor in commercial service, was severely damaged in a 1977 crash at Put-in-Bay but has been extensively rebuilt since. Despite the presence of other planes available for the run, the line estimates that it lost up to 80% of its business while the tourist-attraction Trimotor was out of service. Accordingly, it has stockpiled all sorts of spare parts for the 52-year-old aircraft in the hope that it can be kept serviceable for at least fifty more years to come.
Late word received has given us some understanding as to why Mohawk Navigation's SENNEVILLE has been painted in her new colour scheme. It seems that the orange and red colours have been the trademark of James Richardson and Sons Ltd. in the prairie provinces, where their country elevators have been painted in the same colours. The scheme has simply been extended to include the lake fleet. The colours may not look so bad on a small grain elevator located in the middle of a prairie wheatfield, but a Great Lakes freighter is an entirely different matter.
Another late report concerns GODERICH/SOO RIVER TRADER. She cleared Toronto on her maiden voyage on Saturday, April 26, and entered the Welland Canal, upbound for Thunder Bay, late that evening. When she left her lay-up berth, her new paint scheme was not entirely finished, only the starboard side (which had been next to the dock) having been completed. The work is to be concluded shortly. Incidentally, the ship did leave Toronto with the name GODERICH still showing in white letters on a black patch on the white forecastle, the change to SOO RIVER TRADER not yet having been given formal approval.
Ship of the Month No. 93
On several previous occasions, we have mentioned how well built were some of the early steam canallers. They were able to withstand the punishment handed out to them each time they had to fight their way up and down through the many old and small locks of the St. Lawrence and Welland Canals and, in addition, were frequently mauled by the heavy seas to which they were subjected when they ventured out onto the upper lakes. Many of these early canallers fell victim to enemy action during the First World War but enough of them survived that they were not an uncommon sight in the 1920s and '30s. Those that the Great Depression did not polish off and send to the scrapyard, survived only to face hostilities again during the Second War and, by the time this great conflict was over, only a handful of these venerable steamers were left in service.
Notable amongst the survivors of a bygone era as the 1950s wore onward were Canada Steamship Lines' KENORA (1907), CANADIAN (1907), CALGARIAN (1905), BEAVERTON (1908) and EDMONTON (1906), Keystone Transports' KEYBELL (1912), KEYNOR (1914), KEYVIVE (1913) and KEYPORT (1909), the Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Company's near-sisters GROVEDALE and PARKDALE of 1903, Bayswater Shipping's old self-unloaders BAYANNA of 1896 and GEORGE S. GLEET of 1912, Powell Transport's STARBUCK (1888) and STARBELLE (1913), Northwest Steamships' SUPERIOR of 1889, and the Reoch steamers FORESTDALE of 1890 and BROOKDALE (I) of 1902. Most of these were retired when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, although a few hung on for a few years more. By 1965, seven seasons after the opening of the new waterway, only two of these vessels were still operating. One would go out of service at the end of the 1965 navigation season, while one would linger on for two more years of operation. It is BROOKDALE of 1902, or BROOKTON, as she was once known, that we feature this time around.
The camera of A. E. Young caught BROOKTON downbound at Little Rapids Cut in 1922, her first year back on fresh water after the First World War.Even though it has been many years since a ship of any size was constructed at Toronto, this city was once the site of several famous shipyards. One of these was the Bertram Engine Works which had been established about 1890 by George Bertram and Sons. The yard was located on the old Toronto waterfront between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. Although known by several other names over the years, the shipyard itself survived until the western section of the waterfront was extended by landfill in the early 1920s.
Shortly after the turn of the century, the Bertram Engine Works created a trio of very similar steam canallers. OTTAWA, built in 1900 as Hull 30, was ordered by the Canada Atlantic Transit Company, whilst Hulls 36 and 40, christened TADENAC and TADOUSSAC, respectively, were built in 1902 and 1903 to the shipyard's own account. These latter vessels were both sold after completion. OTTAWA was lost in 1909, TADOUSSAC later became the Northern Navigation Company's DORIC and did not return to the lakes after the First War, while TADENAC was to have a career of six and one-half decades.
TADENAC was launched on October 4, 1902, and was completed shortly thereafter, although it seems unlikely that she would have entered service until the spring of 1903. Registered at Toronto and given Official Number C.111895, TADENAC measured 252.5 feet in length, 43.2 feet in the beam, and 22.3 feet in depth. Her tonnage was originally shown as 2359 Gross and 1452 Net. She was powered by a triple-expansion engine, built by Bertram, with cylinders of 16 3/8, 28 1/8 and 46 inches and a stroke of 36 inches. Steam was provided by two single-ended, coal-fired Scotch marine boilers measuring 12 feet by ll 1/2 feet.
The new TADENAC was a most handsome boat indeed, much better looking than many of the early canallers. She was substantial in her lines but still possessed a graceful sheer. She was quite bluff in the bows and carried a raised forecastle and flush quarterdeck. Her two masts, the fore just abaft the forecastle and the main forward of the boilerhouse, were tall and heavy but well raked. The similarly raked stack was tall and quit thick, with a prominent roll at the top.
TADENAC possessed a rectangular texas cabin, containing the master's quarters, and her rounded pilothouse sat directly in front of it on the forecastle. An open bridge, complete with permanent closed rail and awning, was located above the pilothouse. There were six windows across the front of the wheelhouse and they were somewhat unusual in that there was no heavy frame between the two middle windows, thus permitting both to be opened to form a large and unobstructed opening. There was a large after cabin with the boilerhouse at its forward end, and additional crew space was provided in a doghouse set about half-way back down the spar deck. It does not appear that any particular cargo-handling gear was fitted when TADENAC was built, but a cargo boom was later added to the foremast.
Upon her completion, Bertram Engine Works arranged a sale for TADENAC and she passed to the ownership of J.H.G. Hagarty of the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd. of Toronto. Her new owner immediately registered her at Owen Sound and renamed her; although photographs of the ship show her name to have been painted on her as IROQUOIS, the Dominion List of Shipping indicates that her full name actually was (b) THE IROQUOIS. Confusing as it may seem, she was reregistered at Toronto on March 3, 1903, probably before she was commissioned.
St. Lawrence and Chicago painted the ship in their own colours with a black hull, white cabins, and a black stack with what appears to have been a red diamond (although the diamond seems to have become white in later years). She ran mainly in the grain, coal and ore trades for the next decade and a half, apparently without incident, for nowhere does does she appear in the annual Wreck Commissioner's Reports during this period.
On April 20, 1916, the entire operation of the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd. was purchased by Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. for the sum of $1,787.840. The acquisition of the fleet was approved by C.S.L. shareholders on July 27, 1916 and (THE) IROQUOIS then became yet another of the many boats that had been swallowed up by the huge C.S.L. The actual transfer of ownership on the registry records occurred on September 25, 1916. The ship retained her old name but was almost immediately sent off to salt water to assist in the war effort. She was transferred to the ownership of the Department of Marine and Fisheries on August 21, 1917 and spent the duration of the war years on salt water, not returning to the lakes after the cessation of hostilities.
Instead (THE) IROQUOIS was sold in 1920 to La Societe Francaise d'Armement and, placed under French registry (although her Canadian registry was not closed until June 12, 1921), she was renamed (c) COLORADO. It is not known where she operated but a good guess would be that she was trading between British ports and those of France. By 1922, however, she was considered to be excess tonnage and she was then acquired by one A. B. Mackay of Cardiff, Wales. If this name should sound familiar, it is because this was the same A. B. Mackay who had earlier made a name for himself as a shipping entrepreneur at Hamilton, Ontario. He had once been a voice of considerable authority on the lake scene, but certain reverses of fortune had made it more advisable for him to live abroad. In any event, he purchased COLORADO in 1922 and immediately renamed her (d) DORNOCH, registering her at Cardiff.
DORNOCH was, of course, not the only laker that Mackay purchased overseas after the war. He may have intended to operate her himself but it seems more likely that he was either acting as an agent for lake operators or else simply was of the opinion that he could resell the steamer to a lake fleet which might wish to repatriate her. Be this as it may, DORNOCH passed in 1922 to the ownership of the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd., Toronto, which brought her back to the lakes and renamed her (e) BROOKTON. At the time of her return, she was hardly recognizable as the same vessel she had been when she had left the lakes, for her stern cabin had been completely plated in, a taller and thinner stack had been fitted, and her old pilothouse had been removed and replaced by a rather odd but handsome wooden pilothouse which sat atop the texas.
BROOKTON was immediately painted up in Mathews colours with a black hull, white forecastle and forward cabin, and a black stack with two silver bands. In due course of time, the famous Mathews monogram was also added to the bow. The plated-in stern was at first painted black but it would appear as if the proprietor of the line, Alfred Ernest Mathews, did not appreciate the look of his new steamer with her "raised stern". Accordingly, it was not long before the plating was cut away from her stern cabin and she appeared once more with the open stern which was normal for a laker. She no longer had her heavy masts in her, but rather a light pole foremast and the same type of pole for a main, stepped very far aft behind the stack. During her years of service for Mathews, BROOKTON saw very few other changes, the only obvious ones being the addition of a sunvisor to her pilothouse and the removal of the covered entrance into the forecastle accommodations from the foredeck. Of course, the small doghouse on the spar deck had disappeared long before the steamer ever returned to the lakes, such gear not being appropriate to service on salt water. BROOKTON retained Cardiff as her port of registry until February 23, 1925, at which time she was reregistered at Toronto.
BROOKTON operated mainly in the grain trade for Mathews and her life seems to have been relatively uneventful. On April 22, 1924, during a snowstorm, she went aground on Russell Island Shoal near Owen Sound whilst en route to Port Arthur for a grain cargo. She was released the following day by the big wooden steam tug HARRISON (II) from Owen Sound and it would appear that damage to BROOKTON was minimal. Apparently, however, BROOKTON was involved in a subsequent accident for, on November 17, 1926, she was drydocked at Montreal by Canadian Vickers Ltd. for repairs to bottom damage, including the replacing or fairing of 18 shell plates on her bottom. We know of no other untoward events befalling BROOKTON at this time.
Not so, however, the financial affairs of A. E. Mathews. During the 1920s, Mathews had attempted to cash in on the booming business conditions by adding ten new vessels to the fleet. Mathews had been associated with James Playfair in several joint ventures, but their connection was severed in 1925. This was unfortunate for Mathews, for while Playfair survived the woes of the Great Depression, albeit with considerable difficulty, Mathews did not. Despite indications that business conditions were worsening, Mathews continued to build new canallers, the sisterships LIVINGSTON and WATERTON being constructed for the company in 1928 and another pair, FULTON and SOUTHTON, as late as 1929. During the 1927 season, Mathews had mortgaged his entire fleet to the hilt to finance his continuing expansion program, and when the bottom fell out of the lake shipping business in 1930, Mathews was caught with his pants down.
On January 8, 1931, upon application of the mortgagees (the Montreal Trust Company Ltd. and the National Trust Company Ltd.), Mr. Justice Middleton of the Ontario Supreme Court issued an order appointing G. T. Clarkson, of E.R.C. Clarkson and Sons, as receiver and manager of the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. He was directed to manage and operate the vessels on behalf of the mortgagees and bondholders, and Mathews was instructed to hand over to him forthwith all of the ships and any other property of the firm.
On February 10, 1931, upon petition of the Toronto Dry Dock Company, the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. was adjudged bankrupt by the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Ontario in Bankruptcy, a receiving order being issued and F. C. Clarkson installed as custodian pending the first meeting of the creditors. To say that Mathews' creditors were numerous would be to make an understatement of gargantuan proportions. A total indebtedness of some $3,196,267.67 was reported and, at the creditors' meeting of March 19, 1931, it was revealed that, even if the entire fleet was sold, insufficient funds would be realized to pay off even the secured and preferred creditors and nothing would be left over to satisfy any ordinary claims.
As a result, it was decided to operate the fleet in 1931 in an attempt to reduce the indebtedness. Needless to say, Mathews himself had been removed from office as president and a director of the company, which then ran under Clarkson management. During 1932 and 1933, the fleet was chartered to Toronto Elevators Ltd. Two canallers had been repossessed by their builders and five others were sold. Business conditions being what they were during those years, most of the Mathews boats operated only occasionally; only the most economically operated steamers saw any great amount of service and BROOKTON was not one of these. Laid up at Toronto in the autumn of 1931, she did not run at all in 1932 or 1933 but rather was used for grain storage moored, most of the time, in the Toronto Ship Channel. Her career as a storage hull came to a sudden close when she developed a small leak and her cargo had to be unloaded quickly. She was towed to Port Dalhousie on June 2, 1933 by another Mathews steamer, ARLINGTON.
On November 20, 1933, the remains of the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd. were sold to Colonial Steamships Ltd. which had been formed specifically for that purpose by Captain R. Scott Misener and the Hon. H. C. Schofield. Colonial put most of the Mathews boats back into service in 1934, complete with their old colours which, with the exception of the familiar monogram, had been adopted by Misener as his own. Some of the ships, however, were of no use to Colonial and BROOKTON, registered to the ownership of Colonial Steamships Ltd. on February 1, 1934, definitely fell into this category. She remained idle in 1934 at Port Dalhousie, languishing on the east side of the wall above Lock One in Muir's Pond (or Martindale Pond as it is more formally known).
BROOKTON was never once operated by the Misener interests. She lay in the same spot at Port Dalhousie for seven years and, during that period, her condition deteriorated to the point that the vessel was little more than a floating wreck. She was readily accessible to anyone who wished to go aboard her and she was completely stripped of any and all items of any value. By 1939, she was in deplorable condition, her cabin doors hanging open and her wooden pilothouse, its weathered paint having long since peeled away, totally devoid of window-glass. There seems little doubt that BROOKTON would eventually have found her way to the scrapyard had not the Second World War intervened and produced a demand for tonnage that had not been experienced since before the Great Depression.
During 1939, BROOKTON was purchased by Captain George Hindman of Owen Sound, who had her registered in his own name on September 26, 1939 and transferred her on February 8, 1940 to his newly-formed Diamond Steamship Company Ltd. Eight days later, her port of registry was changed from Toronto to Owen Sound. Hindman had been involved in the chartering of boats in prior years and had also participated in several joint ventures, but BROOKTON was the first ship that he owned outright. He immediately renamed her (f) GEORGE HINDMAN (I) and had her completely refitted so that she would be suitable to re-enter service. This refit was done by the Muir Brothers Drydock at Port Dalhousie. The steamer was given a new steel pilothouse and the after cabin was refurbished with a doghouse on the boat deck and a heavy closed rail around the bunker hatch. The old funnel was removed and replaced with a much heavier stack whose liner protruded noticeably above its top. GEORGE HINDMAN's tonnage was measured at this time as 2286 Gross and 1694 Net.
When GEORGE HINDMAN emerged from her refit in 1940 and entered service, was painted grey with a white forecastle, stern rail and cabins. Her big stack was black with a red band and a large white diamond. This stack design was virtually the same as that used by Hindman in later years for the ships of the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd., except that the large letter 'H' had not yet appeared in black on the diamond. As time went on, the hull colour was changed from grey to green and, as might be expected, GEORGE HINDMAN was a most handsome vessel when painted in these colours.
GEORGE HINDMAN (I) is upbound above the Canadian Lock at Sault Ste. Marie in this Macaulay photo, c. 1950.GEORGE HINDMAN (I) was the only vessel in the ownership of the Diamond Steamship Company Ltd. for several years, but she was joined in 1942 by the grain lighter EASTRICH (renamed HOWARD HINDMAN (I) and returned to active service as a bulk carrier), in 1944 by the barge VIGILANT, in 1949 by the "Wolvin" steamers PALMLEAF and ASPENLEAF (renamed BLANCHE HINDMAN (I) and HELEN HINDMAN (I), respectively) purchased from the Leaf Barges Division of Branch Lines Ltd. She was also joined by the tug CHARLES R. RANDLE SR., which later sailed as HELEN HINDMAN (II) and SUSAN HINDMAN, and left the lakes in 1972 under the name HERBERT A. GEORGE HINDMAN served mainly in the grain and pulpwood trade and still her life was relatively uneventful, the ship managing to avoid serious accident. Interestingly enough, however, she did succeed in running aground in Thunder Bay on her very first trip for Hindman, but the damage was not serious.
The only major work done on GEORGE HINDMAN after her rebuild of 1939-40 came in 1946, when she was reboilered. She was then fitted with two coal-fired Foster-Wheeler watertube boilers which measured 10 feet by 15 feet and which developed steam at 180 p.s.i. This reboilering undoubtedly added numerous years to the steamer's life, increasing her economic viability.
In 1952, Captain Hindman sold the four canal-sized steamers which made up the backbone of the Diamond Steamship Company Ltd. All four passed to the ownership of Captain Norman J. Reoch, who had been manager of operations for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. but who had left that position in 1951 to enter business on his own account. GEORGE HINDMAN, HOWARD HINDMAN, BLANCHE HINDMAN and HELEN HINDMAN were his first vessels and, renamed respectively BROOKDALE (I), FORESTDALE, PARKDALE (I) and GROVEDALE (I), they were registered to the ownership of the Reoch Steamship Company Ltd., Montreal.
It would appear that Capt. Reoch liked the green hull colour used by Hindman, for he adopted it as his own and kept it until all but one of his straight-deck canallers had been retired and the fleet was making the transition to upper lakers and self-unloaders. BROOKDALE's entire hull now became green with the exception of the forecastle rail which was white as were the cabins. Her stack was black with a wide red band and a large white block letter 'R'.
BROOKDALE operated mostly in the grain trade for Reoch on the long-haul run from the Lakehead to the St. Lawrence River ports. The only changes in her appearance came late in her Reoch service, the rails of her bridgewings being closed in about 1960 and her hull being painted black in the spring of 1964. BROOKDALE was, in fact, the last Reoch vessel to operate with the familiar green hull colour and there were those amongst us who lamented the loss of this distinctive feature and who wished that the green colour had been used for the Reoch upper lakers.
Of the four steamers that made the transfer from Hindman to Reoch ownership in 1952, BROOKDALE was the last to operate. GROVEDALE and PARKDALE were sold in 1956 and FORESTDALE was scrapped in 1961. WILLOWDALE, a canaller which had been converted from the tanker IMPERIAL MIDLAND over the winter of 1952-53, was scrapped in 1963. AVONDALE (I), WESTDALE (I) and FERNDALE (I), all purchased in 1959 from Scott Misener Steamships Ltd., served but a few short years in Reoch colours, the first two being scrapped in 1962 and the latter in 1963.
But BROOKDALE gallantly carried on, the continuing echoes from her high-pitched chime whistle giving testimony to the fact that the Bertram shipwrights had built a fine and durable vessel. By the time that the last few years of her career rolled around, however, she was no longer particularly suitable for the grain trade and she spent much of her time running coal from Lake Erie ports to Toronto, returning back up the Welland Canal with cement clinker from Clarkson. On Sunday, December 12, 1965, she arrived at Toronto with a storage cargo of soya beans for Victory Mills and proceeded to lay up across the end of the elevator, soon letting down steam for what was to be the last time.
During March of 1966, BROOKDALE was unloaded at Victory Mills and, shortly thereafter, she was towed down the Keating Channel and moored at the premises of the Toronto Dry Dock Company Ltd. There she was stripped of any useful equipment, including her "Port Colborne" fairleads which were cut right out of the bulwarks fore and aft. She lay at the drydock yard through the summer of 1966 and undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows amongst passing motorists on Lakeshore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway, for the Keating Channel had long ago ceased to be used by anything but tugs and derricks, and was filling up rapidly with silt from the Don River to the extent that even small workboats found the navigation of the short channel to be treacherous.
BROOKDALE remained in the Keating Channel until, on Friday, October 28, 1966, the Canadian Dredge and Dock Company's tug G. W. ROGERS came and put lines on her bow. Carefully, the ROGERS eased her tow out of her resting place, through the Cherry Street bridge out onto Toronto Bay, and then up Lake Ontario to Hamilton. BROOKDALE was deposited at Strathearne Terminals and there was dismantled over the winter by United Metals and Refiners Ltd., Hamilton. By late March of 1967, only a small piece of the steamer's bow remained to be cut up.
Although BROOKDALE was Reoch's last true canaller, in the spring of 1965, BROOKDALE's last year of operation, Reoch Transports Ltd. purchased the previously-lengthened, self-unloading canaller VALLEY CAMP, renaming her (c) VALLEYDALE. She was operated for only two seasons, however, and in the autumn of 1966 she joined BROOKDALE at Strathearne Terminals, where she was dismantled in 1967.
BROOKDALE was indeed a credit to the Bertram Engine Works and it is unfortunate that the men who laboured to put TADENAC together back in 1902 had no way of knowing that the product of their efforts would still be in existence 65 years later. It is fitting that BROOKDALE's last voyage under her own steam brought her back to the port that had given her life so many years before.
A Generous Donation to the Society
As most of our members will already know, the publication of "Scanner" is the principal activity of the Toronto Marine Historical Society in that it is through this journal that we communicate with our members, particularly those who reside outside Toronto. With our membership rapidly growing, however, the addressing of envelopes each month had become a monumental task for Ye Ed and the Secretary, one that we did not exactly relish. The alternatives which we had investigated in the past had all proven to be unacceptable.
Accordingly, it was with a great deal of pleasure that we recently accepted, from member R. Earl Minnis of Windsor, the gift of a complete set of beautifully prepared address labels, enough to last us for more than five years. These labels will make the mailing of "Scanner" much easier for us and we are most grateful for their preparation. At the April Meeting of T.M.H.S., those present unanimously passed a vote of thanks to Mr. Minnis for his most generous gift.
You Asked Us
(About the Wrecking Steamer FAVORITE)
Member William A. Breaker of Mississauga, who sails for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., has asked us about the wrecking tug FAVORITE which is presently lying at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He has also enquired about another tug of the same name.
In fact, the Great Lakes Towing Company of Cleveland, which was organized in 1899 and bought out a number of other towing and wrecking firms to provide an orderly and responsible approach to lake towing, has operated three wrecking steamers named FAVORITE. The first, U.S.9201, was a beautiful wooden boat with hog braces of the arch type. Built in 1864 at Fort Howard, Wisconsin, and converted from a freighter, she was 139.7 x 28.7 x 8.4, 409.50 Gross and 351.42 Net. She was acquired by Great Lakes Towing in 1902 and served the company well until she was destroyed by fire in 1907 at St. Ignace, Michigan.
To replace the burned wrecker, Great Lakes Towing had a second FAVORITE (U.S.203983) built at Buffalo in 1907. Registered at Duluth, she was 180.7 x 43.0 x 20.6, 1223 Gross, 691 Net. This FAVORITE was a handsome steamer with two tall stacks set athwartship. Her wrecking boom was slung over the foredeck and hung from a huge A-frame, between the legs of which rose her high pilothouse topped with an open bridge. Despite the indispensable service which she provided on the lakes, FAVORITE served these waters for only one decade. She was requisitioned in 1917 for wartime service on salt water and she did not return to the lakes after the cessation of the hostilities.
In 1919, Great Lakes Towing built for itself at its Cleveland shipyard a brand new wrecking steamer and it is not surprising that she also was christened FAVORITE. Registered at Duluth, U.S.217520, she measured 158.O x 40.2 x 13.3, 746 Gross, 393 Net. She was powered by a two-cylinder compound engine, 25" and 50" x 36", with steam at 154 p.s.i. provided by three single-ended, coal-fired Scotch boilers. Great Lakes Towing also built the boilers, while the engine was made for the boat by the Montague Iron Works.
FAVORITE (III) was normally stationed at the Soo and, with her turtle-backed bow, her curved-back stem, her huge single stack, and the immense crane that reposed on the boat deck between the pilothouse and stack, she was a strange looking but not altogether unattractive vessel. Of course, she was painted in the usual company colours, with a green hull, red cabins, and black stack with a large letter 'G' in white.
As the years passed, FAVORITE (III) was required less often. She spent many years of idleness at the Soo and, when Great Lakes Towing closed its tug office there, she was moved to Cleveland. There she languished for several further years. About seven years ago, the decrepit old steamer was acquired by Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites Inc. and was moved to a berth at the foot of Johnstone Street in the Michigan Sault, near the museum ship VALLEY CAMP. FAVORITE has not yet been restored as an open display, but it is evident that she has, at least, managed to elude the scrappers' torches.
The Shipbuilders revisited
In the April issue, we presented the answers to our March quiz about various lake shipbuilders. Unfortunately, an error crept into the information which we gave on the whaleback steamer ALEXANDER MCDOUGALL, the last of the lake-built whalebacks and the only one to be completed with a regular bow.
ALEXANDER MCDOUGALL was actually Hull 141 of the American Steel Barge Company, even though she was the 40th lake-built whaleback. The yard's Hull 140 was actually the barge CONSTITUTION, built in 1897 for Pickands Mather and Company.
An Old Friend Revisited
For almost two decades, a familiar sight around the upper lakes was the big self-unloading barge MARQUIS ROEN (II), owned by the Roen Steamship Company of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. This vessel, (a) ROBERT W. E. BUNSEN (54), had been built in 1900 as Hull 40 of the Chicago Shipbuilding Company for Rockefeller's Bessemer Steamship Company which was absorbed in 1901 by the newly-formed Pittsburgh Steamship Company of the United States Steel Corporation.
In December of 1953, Pittsburgh sold the BUNSEN to Captain John Roen who converted her to a crane barge at Sturgeon Bay during 1954. In 1957, she also received a self-unloading rig with conveyor, A-frame, and unloading boom, this gear making her an even more appropriate boat to serve Roen's needs. She was normally towed by Roen's big diesel tug JOHN ROEN IV. Incidentally, MARQUIS ROEN was named for the son of Capt. John Roen.
The Captain passed away in 1970 and, thereafter, his estate gradually disposed of the fleet which he had created. Both JOHN ROEN IV and MARQUIS ROEN were sold to the Indian Towing Company of New Orleans, Louisiana, and they passed down the Welland Canal on June 20, 1973, en route to their new home. Since that time, we had managed to lose track of both boats, but at least one of the lost has now been found.
On April 22, 1980, Ye Editor was aboard the steamer DELTA QUEEN, upbound from New Orleans for Cincinnati. Having just negotiated the turn around Point Houmas in the Mississippi River, some 55 miles below Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we spotted a familiar hull which, in fact, proved to be MARQUIS ROEN. She was lying along the left bank (descending) of the river at about Mile 173.0, close to the town of St. Elmo and opposite Donaldsonville, La.
MARQUIS ROEN, or whatever she may now be called, is a sorry sight indeed. She has obviously not been painted since she left the lakes and her name only barely appears from beneath the rust which encrusts her. Her forward cabins have been removed, while her after cabin appears intact even though the stack has long since gone. Her cranes are still on deck, although the A-frame and unloading boom have disappeared. Large rubber fenders are hung down her port side, no doubt as protection from the nudges of vessels which may moor alongside for loading or unloading.
The ROEN appears to be permanently moored in this rather strange location and we know not what cargoes she may handle for the salt water vessels which frequent the Mississippi River in this area. Nevertheless, despite her less-than-pristine condition, she is still used, for a number of persons could be observed on her deck and about the after cabin. We are pleased that she is still in existence and that we had the opportunity to observe her, but it is a bit disheartening to see her in such condition, especially when it is compared with the manner in which Roen maintained her during her latter years on the Great Lakes.
Additional Marine News
The self-propelled spoil carrier ILE D'ORLEANS, (a) NORMAN B. MacPHERSON (60), (b) LOADMASTER (71), was recently observed to be sunk in the Richelieu River at Sorel where she was being dismantled. Meanwhile, scrapping is also underway at Sorel on SABLE ISLAND, (a) BULKARIER (72). The latter was, of course, a cement carrier for the Canada Cement Company Ltd. for many years and had been dieselized and converted into a sludge carrier in 1972 for the North Traverse dredging project near Quebec City. ILE D'ORLEANS was also used on the same project. Both have gone through numerous changes of ownership in recent years, ILE D'ORLEANS having been most recently owned by the J. P. Porter Company Ltd., while SABLE ISLAND was owned in 1979 by the Richelieu Dredging Corporation Inc.
ARCHANGELOS, the wounded salty that wintered at Port Weller, was taken first to Quebec City after her downbound passage of the St. Lawrence Seaway this spring, and was then moved over to the Davie shipyard at Lauzon on or about April 2nd. It was earlier thought that Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. would get the job of repairing the vessel's grounding damage but, as Port Weller was too busy this spring to handle the work, the contract has gone to Davie.
Bunkering services are now available at Windsor, Ontario, the Sterling Fuel bunkers dock having opened for business on March 29. The company's tanks have a capacity of 23,000,000 gallons and bunker fuel can be loaded aboard vessels at the rate of 400 tonnes per hour. The first boat to use the new service was the Canada Steamship Lines package freighter FORT YORK.
CANADIAN NAVIGATOR was christened at Port Weller on April 19 by Mrs. Frank Miller, wife of Ontario's Treasurer. The recently lengthened and rebuilt vessel, the former ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR, was scheduled to run her trials on April 21. She has since entered service for her owner, Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., passing up the canal on her maiden voyage on April 24.
It would appear that the efforts of the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. to obtain the services of the C.S.L. motorship ESKIMO may have been in vain. Q & O definitely wanted to purchase the ship, but was awaiting the drydocking of the boat in order to ascertain her present condition. In the meantime, interest in the ESKIMO has been expressed by Groupe Desgagnes which, as we understand the situation, currently has the best chance of obtaining the ship.
The Q & O steamer MARLHILL is still lying across the end of the Yonge Street pier at Toronto and it seems unlikely that she will ever turn a wheel again. The boiler damage which she suffered this spring during fit-out would apparently cost some $150,000 to repair and Q & O is unwilling to spend this sort of money on a vessel of her advanced age. Meanwhile, we understand that Victory Soya Mills Ltd. is still looking for a hull to use for storage of soya beans and it is possible that MARLHILL may eventually wind up in this service. If so, let us hope that she is more successful at it than was her former fleetmate, HELEN EVANS, whose storage career was cut short by a leak in her hull last autumn.
The 1979 navigation season was a particularly unfortunate one for the C.S.L. self-unloader HOCHELAGA which, it seemed, was continually plagued with mechanical problems of one sort or another. So far, 1980 has been no more successful for the steamer, for during the month of April, she lost her unloading boom over the side whilst moored at Windsor. The boom was apparently a total loss and HOCHELAGA was taken to the shipyard at Thunder Bay for repairs.
Two Q & O vessels were victims of ice during the early weeks of the 1980 navigation season. MELDRUM BAY sustained damage to her rudder and was taken to the Welland dock for repairs. Meanwhile, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, outbound from Thunder Bay, punched a hole in her bow when she struck blue ice. She took on water but the collision bulkhead held and there was no damage to her cargo. Temporary repairs were put in hand and permanent repairs will be done when the ship is drydocked at Port Weller later in the season. The damage was estimated in the area of $55,000.
The Welland Canal shunter test program received a temporary setback on April 24, when an object was sucked into a thruster on the port side of the forward shunter whilst MENIHEK LAKE was upbound in the canal. A propellor blade in the thruster was damaged and, after removal, was flown to Montreal for repairs. During her forced inactivity, MENIHEK LAKE was tied up at Dock 6 in the canal.