The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 14, n. 9 (Summer 1982)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Aug 1982

Bascom, John N., Editor
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Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Iocoma Revisited; Paul Sherlock; Additional Marine News
Date of Publication:
Aug 1982
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Friday, October 1st - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Annual Autumn Open Slide Night. Members are invited to bring up to twenty slides each to illustrate their summer ship-watching activities.

The Editor's Notebook

This being the last issue of our fourteenth volume, we should like to use this opportunity to extend sincere thanks to all who assist us in the production of "Scanner". We very much appreciate the help of the members of the Executive Committee, who contribute so much to the writing and assembling of "Scanner", and we are also much indebted to those who voluntarily deliver copies in order to reduce postage costs. Above all, we thank all those members who are regular correspondents, keeping us advised of all manner of interesting marine items. We are most grateful for your support.

MEMBERSHIP FEES ARE NOW DUE AND PAYABLE FOR THE 1982-1983 SEASON. All memberships for the coming season are due at this time, the only exceptions being those memberships which have only recently been taken out and which were specifically designated for the new season. Fees remain at the same level as last year, $15.00 per annum. We cannot afford to mail out individual billings, and would thus appreciate your early remittance addressed to Mr. James M. Kidd, 83 Humberview Road, Toronto, Ontario M6S 1W9.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to the Mariners' Memorial Park Museum of Picton, Ontario.

Marine News

The Bethlehem Steel Corporation's 1,000-foot self-unloader LEWIS WILSON FOY has been the unfortunate victim of the most serious accident ever to befall a laker of her dimensions. On July 6th, she backed into the breakwater at Taconite Harbor, severely damaging her propeller, shaft and rudder. She also gored her bottom plating, with the result that holds number 7, 8, 9 and 10 were flooded. She was towed to Duluth and then proceeded, under her own power but assisted by tugs, to the BayShip yard at Sturgeon Bay. Repairs are expected to cost at least $2,500,000 and the FOY will be out of service for the duration of the 1982 season. STEWART J. CORT had been scheduled to go into temporary lay-up during the late summer, but she will now remain in operation as a replacement for the wounded FOY.

The Amoco Oil Company's 52-year-old steam tanker AMOCO WISCONSIN, (a) EDWARD G. SEUBERT (62), was the first vessel to dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, during the 1982 navigation season. She arrived at the Soo in the last week of March after battling her way through heavy ice. AMOCO WISCONSIN operated right through the winter months and remained in service until May 15, when she was retired and placed in lay-up alongside AMOCO ILLINOIS in a remote slip at the Amoco terminal on the Saginaw River below Bay City, Michigan. The ILLINOIS has been lying there since she was taken out of service in 1980. With business conditions being what they are, it seems that one tanker, the 45-year-old AMOCO INDIANA (a) RED CROWN (62), has been sufficient for the company's needs.

Meanwhile, Bay Shipbuilding laid the keel on March 15 for Amoco's new 414-foot tank barge, AMOCO GREAT LAKES, which BayShip is building as its Hull 731. She will be towed by a new 115-foot tug, AMOCO MICHIGAN (II), whose keel was laid by BayShip on May 17 as its Hull 732. The tug and barge are scheduled for delivery in August, somewhat ahead of the planned completion date. We understand that AMOCO INDIANA is to remain in service until the delivery of a second tug/barge unit which Amoco has ordered. Tugs and barges may be efficient, but they certainly lack the grace and charm exuded by the classic Amoco steam tankers.

AMOCO INDIANA herself got into a spot of trouble at Sault Ste. Marie on July 7th. She struck the wall of the Canadian Lock, punching a small hole in her side and releasing several hundred gallons of gasoline into the canal. Emergency precautions were taken, but no serious problems developed and the gasoline dissipated. AMOCO INDIANA was taken to the Michigan Sault for temporary repairs, unloaded half her cargo there, and then sailed for Mackinaw City to unload the rest of her gasoline. She then proceeded to the BayShip yard at Sturgeon Bay, where full repairs were quickly put in hand. AMOCO INDIANA returned to service during the third week of July.

The former Halco tanker HUDSON TRANSPORT, which had been abandoned to the underwriters as a result of the damage suffered in her Christmas Day fire, has now been sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne. She has been towed from Montreal to Sorel, but it is not yet known what will become of her.

The two most recent products of Collingwood Shipyards are now in service. ATLANTIC SUPERIOR, whose Collingwood-built stern was joined to her Thunder Bay-built bow at the Lakehead this spring, arrived at Algoma Steel at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on her maiden voyage on June 28. She was christened at Algoma, unloaded her taconite cargo, and returned up Lake Superior for a cargo for Hamilton. C.S.L. will use her extensively on a route from the lakes to Halifax. ALGOWEST, a straight-decker built for the Algoma Central Railway, left Collingwood on her maiden voyage on July 21, called at Owen Sound to put off shipyard personnel that had sailed with her, and was upbound at the Soo for the first time on July 23.

For those planning to attend the event, we should report that there has been a change in the scheduled launch date for Hull 224 at Collingwood. The Algoma Central Railway's self-unloader is now due to hit the water on Thursday, October 7, 1982.

Now that Seaway Towing Inc. has its CHIPPEWA (the former steam tug DOLOMITE) in service at Sault Ste. Marie, the company has found itself temporarily able to make do with only one tug there. As a result, the 82-year-old COMANCHE, (a) RICHARD CASWELL, U.S.C.E., (b) U.S.N. YTL 608, (c) H. THOMAS TETI JR., (d) SEAWAY NO. 1, a handsome old tug which had served as back-up at the Soo for several years, was sent off to Kenosha, Wisconsin, for service there. But, on Friday, May 28, whilst en route to Kenosha and lying at the old DeTour coal dock, COMANCHE suffered electrical problems which resulted in an outbreak of fire in her superstructure. The tug was gutted and her wooden pilothouse burned right off. COMANCHE was towed back to the Soo and was abandoned to the underwriters as a total loss. On June 14, CHIPPEWA took COMANCHE in tow and moved her from her regular berth in the Carbide Slip to a resting place at the drydock yard, where she will be left until the insurers decide what to do with her. Considering the "ripeness" of her hull and the extent of the fire damage, it seems inevitable that she will eventually find her way to the scrapyard.

Seaway Towing (North American Towing Company) has added yet another tug to its fleet. From the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Chicago, it has purchased LANGDON C. HARDWICKE, 85.0 x 21.6 x 10.9, 99 Gross, 67 Net, which was built in 1924 and rebuilt in 1948. She is to be renamed WABASH for her new duties, and her advent means that Seaway/North American can shuffle around its tug assignments. SIOUX and DAKOTA will be reassigned from Duluth to Chicago, where they will join WABASH. CHEROKEE, SENECA and NAVAJO will move from Chicago to Duluth, while CHIPPEWA will remain at the Soo and ONEIDA at Green Bay.

Despite efforts to get the Lake Ontario ferry service back in business after the earlier cancellation of Ontario government support and the subsequent withdrawal of LAKESPAN ONTARIO, the entire project seems quite dead at this time. LAKESPAN ONTARIO has been sold to other operators and cleared Oshawa for Montreal on July 27 in preparation for her handing over to her new owners. It is to be assumed that she will return to salt water.

Amid a welter of opposing accusations flying back and forth between the Michigan Transportation Department and the Upper Peninsula Shipbuilding Company regarding the terms of a contract for the construction of tug-and-barge railferry combinations for Lake Michigan service, the shipyard at Ontonagon, Michigan, was closed on July 2. None of the planned barges or the tug are yet completed and there is now considerable doubt as to what will happen to them if the State and U.P.S.Co. cannot resolve their differences. (Some devotees of traditional carferries rather wish that the whole project had never been begun.)

Meanwhile, BADGER remains the only railroad carferry operating on Lake Michigan, and it is anticipated by the Chessie System that she will be retired at the end of March, 1983. The Ann Arbor ferries have not been running since service was disrupted this spring during a dispute over who would operate the railroad and its Lake Michigan ferries.

The Straits of Mackinac steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM is still lying along the face of the old Carbide Dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and no progress appears to have been made in efforts to return her to service. Despite her rather scruffy external appearance, the CHIEF is in excellent condition and the shipyard, Ste. Marie Yard and Marine, which was to have done the ferry's survey and inspection, has watchmen standing guard aboard her. Meanwhile, there is no rail service across the Straits at all, and the Michigan politicians seem unable to come up with a solution to the financing problems which have beset not only the operation of the 71-year-old CHIEF WAWATAM, but also the essential rail line from Petoskey to Mackinaw City which connects with the ferry. A court order has, however, prevented the taking up of the tracks on that rail line until the problems can be solved. In the meantime, the CHIEF WAWATAM can do nothing but wait.

Readers will recall that boiler problems very nearly proved to be the undoing of the Soo River Company's veteran steamer SOO RIVER TRADER in the spring of 1981. She was, however, taken to Humberstone and repaired, although the work was intended only to keep the TRADER running rather than to provide a long-term solution to her troubles. The TRADER experienced further problems during 1982 but now seems to be in better health as a result of the tender loving care lavished upon her machinery by her crew. Overdue for her quadrennial survey and inspection, the TRADER has received two certificate extensions, first into June and then into September. It is not thought that SOO RIVER TRADER will be drydocked, and hence the career of the 76-year-old steamer would seem to be rapidly nearing its end. No doubt, this is the reason that the black shamrocks painted on her bridge have had printed on them in white the notation "1906 to 1982". The TRADER is, of course, the oldest non-specialty straight-deck bulk carrier operating on the Great Lakes. We hope that this handsome vessel, resplendent in her "full" Soo River colours, will be given a reprieve.

Despite all this, the TRADER did manage to get her name into the list of records this spring. It became her honour to deliver the first cargo of bulk cement to the St. Lawrence Cement Company's new dock at Duluth. She took on the cargo at Clarkson and unloaded it at Duluth on May 1st. The depressed economy, however, has stifled construction most everywhere and much less cement has been delivered to Duluth than earlier scheduled. The transfer barge D.D.S. SALVAGER, which was to have ferried cement from Duluth to Thunder Bay, has remained idle and has not made even one trip this year.

After a bit of a delay, J. F. VAUGHAN, (a) WILLIAM H. WARNER (34), (b) THE INTERNATIONAL (77), (c) MAXINE (81), has been given more proper Soo River Company colours. Although she does not yet sport the company's name or white stripe down her sides, she at least has been given the full stack design and work has been progressing on the painting of her superstructure, which was a bit scruffy-looking after two years of idleness. The steamer was always kept in absolutely immaculate condition during her years of service under the International Harvester houseflag and we know that she will look even better in the Soo River livery.

Two steamers of the Soo River fleet have taken a bit of a summer "rest", both going to the wall during mid-July. JUDITH M. PIERSON was laid up at Owen Sound, but is expected to be back in operation later in the season. The Maritime Commission class steamer JOSEPH X. ROBERT laid up at Toronto, near the foot of Jarvis Street, but her inactivity is due less to poor business conditions than to her need for mechanical repairs. She has encountered a number of difficulties so far in 1982, and the necessary work will be attended to whilst she is laid up. (PLEASE SEE LATE NEWS REPORT ON PAGE 14.)

It was reported on August 3rd that Branch Lines (1981) Inc. has been sold by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd. (which in turn is a subsidiary of Dome Petroleum Ltd.) to a pair of Montreal companies. The sale price was $43,000,000. The new owner of two-thirds of Branch Lines is Sofati Ltd., a construction firm, while the remaining interest is now held by Soconav Ltd., a company owned by Louis Rochette, who until now has been board chairman of Davie Shipbuilding. It is not yet clear how this sale may influence the operation of the fleet's six tankers.

During July, the Halco bulker CARTIERCLIFFE HALL made an unexpected visit to the Fraser shipyard at Superior, Wisconsin. She required repairs to her controllable-pitch propeller and could not go on the dock at Thunder Bay as a result of the occupation of that drydock by the bow-damaged ALGOSEA.

Speaking of Halco, we should mention that it was forced to send three of its maximum-sized bulkers into lay-up during July. LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL, MAPLECLIFFE HALL and BEAVERCLIFFE HALL were all laid up in the North Slip at Point Edward (Sarnia) with storage grain, but it is anticipated that all three will re-enter service during the autumn months.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. has been extremely hard hit by the 1982 economic conditions. POINTE NOIRE, GORDON C. LEITCH, R. BRUCE ANGUS, FRANK A. SHERMAN, SEAWAY QUEEN and WHEAT KING did not fit out this spring and have remained idle at Toronto. Joining them have been JAMES NORRIS, which arrived at Toronto on July 27 and laid up (strangely enough) alongside Maple Leaf Mills with a partial load of stone, and RED WING, which tied up on July 31 in the Ship Channel with storage grain. Meanwhile, NORTHERN VENTURE and HILDA MARJANNE have laid up at Hamilton.

If things look bad on the Canadian side of the lakes this year, they look even worse on the U.S. side. While Canadian boats will become more active when the new grain crop begins to move eastward, prospects are not at all promising for the American fleets. We do not have space to list the ships laid up by each U.S. company, but it may suffice to look at how conditions have hit two particular fleets.

In early summer, the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company had not one mine in production and, as a result, the eight-boat fleet of the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company had but one vessel, EDWARD B. GREENE, in service. The 31-ship U.S.S. Great Lakes Fleet Inc. (the United States Steel Corporation) started only a handful of boats in service in the spring but, by mid-July, was running only six vessels, EDWIN H. GOTT and PHILIP R. CLARKE, plus the "Bradley" self-unloaders MYRON C. TAYLOR, JOHN G. MUNSON, CALCITE II and IRVIN L. CLYMER. The newly-converted self-unloaders CASON J. CALLAWAY and ARTHUR M. ANDERSON had gone to the wall, as had the 1,000-footer EDGAR B. SPEER and the "super" BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, the latter having made several trips in the grain trade. As we go to press, the CLARKE is scheduled for imminent lay-up, with GEORGE A. SLOAN coming back into service to replace the CLYMER. It seems likely that the FAIRLESS may reappear during the autumn to re-enter the grain trade. As an indication of how poor are the prospects for the fleet, the 833-foot ROGER BLOUGH, which is idle this year, is not expected to be back in service before 1984, and the "Steel Trust's" supply boat at the Soo, OJIBWAY, is operating on weekdays only, this despite the fact that OJIBWAY now serves the needs of many U.S.-flag lakers passing the Soo rather than just the vessels of the tinstack fleet.

Despite poor conditions, the S. & E. Shipping Corporation (Kinsman Lines) has managed to keep three of its six veteran steamers in service, with a fourth seeing intermittent operation. Running all year, so far, have been the coal-burners MERLE M. McCURDY (1910), WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE (1916) and KINSMAN INDEPENDENT (1923). Operating early in the year, then laying up, and reappearing during mid-July, was FRANK R. DENTON (1911). Idle all season, so far, have been C. L. AUSTIN (1911) and ALASTAIR GUTHRIE (1922). It is said that Kinsman may give all of its boats a short "rest" during the late summer.

Earlier reports in these pages have mentioned the spin-off by the Ford Motor Company, to the Rouge Steel Company, of its steel-making and lake vessel divisions. Now comes word that the Mitsubishi group of Japan has acquired an 80% controlling share of Rouge Steel. We understand, however, that the lake fleet is not included in the Mitsubishi acquisition. Thus, at least for the present, the fleet seems to be back under direct control of Ford, although it seems likely that another operator may soon assume the operation of the boats. This year, WILLIAM CLAY FORD and HENRY FORD II are busy in traditional Ford service, whilst ERNEST R. BREECH and JOHN DYKSTRA are running in the grain trade on a contract secured via Cleveland-Cliffs. BENSON FORD is, of course, idle and awaiting a sale out of the fleet.

Last issue, we reported that the Hudson's Bay Company had returned to the shipping business with the purchase of HUDSON VENTURE. We mentioned that she would be renamed (d) CANGUK for her new duties, but in the process of rechristening the boat, the H.B.Co. changed the spelling of the name to KANGUK, and that is how it was painted on her. KANGUK was on the Canadian Vickers drydock at Montreal for inspection at the beginning of June.

Yet another former canaller has come to an unfortunate end, something that has occurred with alarming regularity in the years since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, when these small vessels began to be sold off the lakes for other service. The latest to meet her fate is ROLAND DESGAGNES, better known as (a) FRANKCLIFFE HALL (I) and (b) NORTHCLIFFE HALL (II), and her end is all the more sad considering the circumstances of the accident that claimed her in her own home waters of the St. Lawrence River. ROLAND DESGAGNES was owned by the Quebec Rail and Water Terminal Company, which is part of the Groupe Desgagnes. Upbound from Pugwash, Nova Scotia, with a cargo of salt for Montreal, the motorship stopped at Pointe-au-Pic, Quebec, during the evening of May 26, "to give her crew a few hours ashore". Perhaps the crew relaxed with a bit too much vigour for, at about 11:40 p.m., ROLAND DESGAGNES managed somehow to go hard aground. Capt. Gerald Naud waited for high tide to float his ship free and, in due course, this is exactly what happened. But, when the refloated DESGAGNES moved out into the river, she began to fill rapidly and soon sank in 330 feet of water, some l 1/2 miles from shore. Her entire crew was rescued safely by the Canadian Coast Guard, which had arrived alongside at about 1:00 a.m. on May 27, shortly before the ship foundered. Salvage seems very unlikely, for the DESGAGNES' bottom must have been badly gored in the original grounding, and she is lying in such deep water that the cost of raising her would be prohibitive. The vessel was well known on the lakes for many years while she served in the fleet of the Hall Corporation. In fact, she was the very first of the diesel canallers which were built for Halco in the 1950s. FRANKCLIFFE HALL was completed by Canadian Vickers Ltd. at Montreal in 1952. After her acquisition by Desgagnes, the ship, which had served briefly on salt water, was brought back to Canada. She was not thereafter a common sight on the lakes, although she had made several trips up the Seaway each year.

Another old canaller, however, is still enjoying an active life on salt water. A report received via the World Ship Society indicates that SOVEREIGN OPAL, (a) FRANQUELIN (I) (64), (b) PRINCE UNGAVA (67), (c) JEAN TALON (74), was sold in 1976 by Balboa Navigation S.A. to the Rose Bay Shipping Company Ltd., both of Panama. The sale resulted in a change of name to (e) FALCON III. This is a late report of the sale and change of name, but we have had no report of the demise of the motorship and assume that she is still in service .

Another report from the World Ship Society concerns the tanker CHEMICAL MAR, (a) BIRK (80), (b) COASTAL TRANSPORT (82), which operated for a time on salt water for the Halco organization. Latterly owned by Chemical Mar Shipping Ltd., Liberia, she was unloading at Curacao on March 21, 1982, when part of her cargo of sulphuric acid leaked into her pump room and caused considerable damage. Additional damage was caused when flooding occurred a few days later. It is reported that the tanker is now considered to be a constructive total loss. A vessel of 9217 Gross Tons, she had been built in 1966.

After the completion of her refit and re-engining at St. John, New Brunswick, ALGOSEA was sent up into the lakes for a grain cargo. The Algoma Central Railway, no doubt, wishes that ALGOSEA had never made that trip. About 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 6, in a heavy fog, ALGOSEA ran into the east pierhead at the entrance to Port Weller harbour. The vessel was travelling at a good clip at the time, with the result that the impact bent her bow around to starboard and gashed her plating back for a distance of some 35 feet. Despite the severity of the damage, ALGOSEA was allowed to proceed on her way, and she went straight to the shipyard at Thunder Bay for repairs. Preliminary estimates placed the damage in the area of $500,000. ALGOSEA was back in service during mid-July.

The old U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender WOODBINE, which has lain idle at Cleveland for several years, has been sold to the FTC Fish Company of Seattle for service in the Alaskan fishing fleet. We believe that WOODBINE has already left the lakes en route to her new duties in west coast waters.

The Columbia Transportation steamer RESERVE was towed out of Toledo en route to Sturgeon Bay on June 14 in preparation for her self-unloader conversion. ARMCO, her conversion completed, sailed from the BayShip yard at approximately the same time, while the similarly-converted MIDDLETOWN entered service during the last week of June. Both ARMCO and MIDDLETOWN were originally scheduled to make only a few shakedown trips and then lay up for the summer. ARMCO, however, soon suffered problems with her equipment and went to the wall. To replace her, MIDDLETOWN was kept in operation and was expected to continue running for the duration of the year. (JOSEPH H. FRANTZ was also reactivated at about the same time.) We have not yet seen the converted ARMCO, but can state that we approve of the aesthetics of MIDDLETOWN's rebuilding. She was given the same unobtrusive type of equipment that BayShip placed in COURTNEY BURTON last year, and her appearance (such as it ever was) has not been harmed at all by the work. We only wish that other shipyards could do as good a job (from the standpoint of appearance) as that done by BayShip in all of its self-unloader conversions to date.

C.T.C. NO. 1, the former PIONEER (III), which is owned by the Medusa Cement Company, cleared the shipyard at Sturgeon Bay on April 27 in tow of MINNIE SELVICK and JOHN M. SELVICK. She was bound for her new home, South Chicago, where she is to be used by Medusa as a self-unloading bulk cement terminal. She is the first of the Maritime Commission class lake steamers to be used for non-transportation purposes, although it is possible that she may eventually be employed in a more active manner.

With the acquisition of the tugs JENNIFER GEORGE and PROPELLER (see report in our May-June issue), the Gaelic Tug Boat Company, Detroit, has disposed of two older and smaller tugs. G. F. BECKER and GALWAY, which date from 1932 and 1905, respectively, were sold to the Selvick Marine Towing Corporation, Sturgeon Bay, and were delivered there under tow during June. Meanwhile, the complete rebuilding of JENNIFER GEORGE and PROPELLER continues at Detroit, although no renames for the tugs have yet been announced.

Moore-McCormack Lines' salt water vessel MORMACLYNX made an early entry into the lakes this spring after the opening of the lower canals. She went to the Lorain yard of the American Shipbuilding Company, where she was taken in hand for a major rebuilding and lengthening. By mid-May, she had been cut in two in preparation for the insertion of a new midbody. Although it had earlier been planned to do part of the work at AmShip's Toledo yard, all of the work is now to be done at Lorain, which is the only AmShip yard presently operating. The company closed its South Chicago yard in the fall of 1981, and the Toledo yard was virtually closed this spring.

Perhaps as a concrete indication of the revitalization of the Bob-Lo Island ferry service and the continued operation of the historic steamers COLUMBIA and STE. CLAIRE, their season of service from downtown Detroit to Bob-Lo Island park began earlier than usual this year, and the boats have been given new funnel colours. The stacks are now green and blue, with a black top. As well, a race between the two steamers was held, with proceeds going to the Detroit Police Athletic League. The race was held on May 29 and covered a fifteen-mile course from the Ambassador Bridge to Lake St. Clair and back. STE. CLAIRE was declared the winner.

Readers will, no doubt, have observed a change in the appearance of the U.S. Steel lake vessels this year. Those few tinstackers that are running no longer carry the familiar U.S.S. logo on the bow, although it still appears in the company's stack design. Instead, each vessel now carries on her bow the legend 'USS Great Lakes Fleet'. The change results from the "Steel Trust's" most recent corporate reorganization, which has seen the name of the lake shipping operation changed from United States Steel Corporation Great Lakes Fleet to U.S.S. Great Lakes Fleet Inc. and U.S.S. Great Lakes Fleet Services Inc. The latter concern operates the supply services and the Soo tender OJIBWAY.

On April 22, Bay Shipbuilding launched its Hull 728, a 610-foot self-unloading phosphate barge under construction for the Beker Shipping Company of Greenwich, Connecticut. She was christened EROL BEKER, and was joined at Sturgeon Bay on April 23 by the tug APRIL T. BEKER, which was built by the Marinette Marine Corp. The tug and barge are to be used on salt water.

There have been several developments involving Toronto-area excursion boats since our last report. Just a few days after we prepared the item on CAYUGA II which appeared in our last issue, the motorship was renamed (b) WAYWARD PRINCESS by her new owner, the Coastal Corp., an enterprise of Norman Rogers. She did not go into service until mid-June, thus losing much of the early part of the excursion season, and has operated only intermittently since. The official rechristening of the boat took place on June 16. Meanwhile, an auction was held at Toronto on June 17 to dispose of the idle steamer CALEDONIA, which was yet another victim of the failure of Sherwood Marine Inc. Several interested parties attended the auction, but there were only two bids. The highest, $58,750., came from Norman Rogers, but the status of his bid is still not public knowledge, for neither bid came anywhere near the reserve. CALEDONIA has thus lain idle all summer and it is not yet clear what will become of her, although we do hope that she will remain in the Toronto area as a steamboat. SHIAWASSIE, the former Toronto Island ferry, Niagara River excursion boat, and (in 1981) Toronto party boat, was also a victim of the Sherwood bankruptcy. Now owned by a new Toronto operator, she makes her home at the York Quay of Harbourfront Park, where MARIPOSA BELLE and WAYWARD PRINCESS also live. SHIAWASSIE has been operating during 1982 under the new name (b) TORONTONIAN.

Federal Commerce and Navigation Company Ltd., Montreal, has acquired a 50% interest in the Navios Corporation, which is the salt-water shipping affiliate of the United States Steel Corporation. FedCom, of course, is part of Canada's largest shipping organization, of which Canada Steamship Lines is now also a member. The purchase of an interest in Navios will have no effect upon the U.S.S. Great Lakes Fleet, for the lake shipping interests are an entirely separate operation of the United States Steel Corporation.

A new loading dock for corn and grain has opened in Wallaceburg, Ontario, encouraging local residents to hope that their port's future may be brighter than had been expected. The new facility, 1 1/2 km. further upstream than the St. Clair Grain and Feed dock, does not employ a traditional elevator; the grain is dumped by trucks directly through grates and onto a conveyor belt. The Q & O motorship FRANQUELIN loaded corn there in mid-June, while NEW YORK NEWS did likewise early in July.

The dismantling of the Republic Steel Corporation's steamer CHARLES M. WHITE began at Bombay, India, in January. Enquiries have yet to yield details of how the WHITE got to Bombay from the Pakistani shipbreakers to whom she was delivered after leaving the lakes in 1980. We have no idea what has become of the WHITE's two sisterships, THOMAS F. PATTON and TOM M. GIRDLER.

The 56-year old sternwheel riverboat DELTA QUEEN seldom makes the news for any reason other than publicity surrounding the activities of the preserved steamboat. She gets into her share of scrapes, which is only natural in view of the somewhat peculiar state of navigation on the western rivers, but considerable care is taken to make sure that neither her passengers nor the historic boat herself are placed in any great peril. She encountered a problem on May 15, however. Upbound from St. Louis for Hannibal, Missouri, she ran foul of Lock and Dam 22 at Saverton, Mo., and high winds prevented her release until the following week. Her passengers were safely removed and taken by bus to St. Louis. D.Q. was finally pulled free by two towboats, her damage limited to a four-foot gash above the waterline. The cause of the accident has not been revealed, but may have something to do with silting problems at the lower approaches to Lock 22.

The return of the G. A. BOECKLING

After an absence of thirty years, the sidewheel, double-ended ferry G. A. BOECKLING has returned to her longtime home port, Sandusky, Ohio. With enclosures around her passenger decks removed to show something of her original appearance, and with her name proudly displayed on banners hung over her paddleboxes, BOECKLING was towed from Sturgeon Bay on June 9 by the Gaelic tug WILLIAM A. WHITNEY. The voyage was uneventful and BOECKLING arrived safely at Sandusky at about 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 11. She was greeted by a throng of cheering admirers, all ecstatic about the return of the vessel that, for so many years, ran the ferry service across Sandusky Bay to the Cedar Point amusement park.

The BOECKLING was built in 1909 at Ecorse and spent her entire active life on Sandusky Bay. She last operated in 1951 and, on July 10, 1952, was towed from Sandusky by the tug JOHN ROEN IV en route to Sturgeon Bay, where she had been used ever since as a floating parts warehouse by Peterson Builders Inc. She was recently acquired by The Friends of the BOECKLING, a Sandusky group, for the purpose of returning the historic steamer to her old home and restoring her to her previous glory. It had earlier been intended to drydock the BOECKLING at the Nicholson yard at Ecorse, but her hull was deemed to be in sufficiently good condition that this expense could be avoided. With G. A. BOECKLING now safely ensconced in the Jackson Street slip at Sandusky, work will begin on the restoration of the steamer.

The Friends of the BOECKLING, which is responsible for the entire project, still requires assistance with the financing of the restoration. We support the project and urge our members to consider lending their support as well. Those interested may contact The Friends of the BOECKLING by addressing correspondence to P.O. Box 736, Sandusky, Ohio 44870, U.S.A.

Iocoma Revisited

In our May-June issue, we featured, as Ship of the Month No. 111, the Imperial Oil Ltd. tanker IMPERIAL WHITBY (51), (a) IOCOMA (47), (c) GEORGE S. CLEET (61), (d) BAYGEORGE. We mentioned that IOCOMA, although designed to carry oil in bulk, was coal-fired. To amplify that statement, we should mention that Robert Campbell, of Toronto, has confirmed to us that the original plans of both IOCOMA and her near-sister IMPEROYAL show that both steamers were designed to burn either coal or oil fuel. We must assume that they burned oil on their delivery voyages across the Atlantic, for extra bunkers could then be stored in their cargo tanks for the long ocean trip to Canada. We know, however, that they did burn coal whilst in regular service during their early years on the Great Lakes. In later years, of course, both IOCOMA and IMPEROYAL burned oil fuel only.

We also extend our thanks to member W. George Williams, of Cote St. Luc, Quebec, who was able to correct one further item concerning this steamer. We had mentioned that GEORGE S. CLEET's 1951 conversion to a self-unloader was carried out at the Montreal shipyard of Canadian Vickers Ltd. We erred in this respect but, it seems, we were not the first publication to fall victim to this misinformation. Mr. Williams confirms that the conversion was actually done at St. Lawrence Drydocks, the old shipyard that was located on the Lachine Canal. He ought to know, for he was involved in much of the electrical work which was required in the reconstruction of the vessel. After the conversion had been completed, the CLEET reportedly lay idle for several weeks, while her owners argued about the cost of the work. Then, late in 1951, she went into service for Bayswater Shipping Ltd. of Brockville, Ontario.

Ship of the Month No. 112


Thomas Marks and Company, of Port Arthur, Ontario, was a firm which had many connections with the lake shipping industry. We have spoken of Marks on several occasions in these pages, and readers of marine history will find the Marks name appearing in various publications with regularity as regards Canadian lake shipping in the years preceding the turn of the century.

In 1888, Thomas Marks and Company required a new steamer for lake trade. Canadian shipyards were in their infancy at that time, particularly as regards the construction of vessels with iron or steel hulls and, as a result, most Canadian shipowners placed their orders for new boats with shipyards in the British Isles. Marks was no exception, and placed its order with the Sunderland Shipbuilding Company, which built the new steamer as Hull 147 of its yard at Sunderland, England.

She was built to fit the locks of the old St. Lawrence canal system which, at that time, were even smaller than what we now commonly refer to as "canal size", for improvements to those canals to enlarge and deepen the locks were not completed until approximately the end of the nineteenth century. As a result, the steamer was constructed with a length of only 174.0 feet, a beam of 35.0 feet, and a depth of 21.1 feet. Her tonnage was registered as 1040 Gross and 772 Net. She was powered by a triple-expansion engine, with cylinders of 17, 28 and 46 inches, and a stroke of 30 inches, which was built for her by the North Eastern Marine Engineering Company Ltd. at Sunderland. This same company also made her two Scotch boilers, each of which measured 10 feet by ten feet.

The new vessel was named ROSEDALE and was enrolled as Br.95265. We have no definite information on the reason why she was given this name, but we may well speculate. Marks and Company had a number of associates in the Toronto grain and financial spheres, and the name may well have been suggested by one of those persons. Rosedale was then, and still is today, a very quiet and exclusive residential area, located in midtown Toronto to the north of Bloor Street and east of Yonge Street. The Rosedale area, which in 1888 was considered to be an outlying suburb rather than a centrally-located district, has long been the home of many of Toronto's most influential financiers, and it seems likely that many of Thomas Marks' associates would have resided there back at the time that ROSEDALE was built.

ROSEDALE was a combination package freighter and bulk carrier, steel-hulled, and built to what was then a common design on salt water. She was completely flush-decked, and her bridge structure was located amidships. Many of the early British-built canallers with steel hulls were of a similar design, for the canal-sized steamer had not yet developed into the type of vessel which we knew better in the first half of the twentieth century.

ROSEDALE carried all of her crew accommodations below decks, while the senior officers were housed in a small cabin which was located on deck, immediately forward of the engines and boilers. She was navigated from an open bridge which was situated atop this small deckhouse. As ROSEDALE was equipped to carry both bulk cargoes and package freight, she was fitted with hinged sideports to facilitate the handling of general cargo. Like many of the vessels of her time, she did not have the same sort of double bottom that we know today. Her "tank top", such as it was, was formed by wooden planks that were laid across the steel frames, and there was no inner steel skin.

She was given two tall masts and, as might be expected, both were fitted to carry auxiliary sails, not only to assist the engine and save on fuel but also as a precaution against mechanical failure. The foremast was located between the first and second hatches, and it was equipped with two cargo booms so that freight could be hoisted through either hatch. The mainmast carried but one boom.

In due course of time, the Sunderland Shipbuilding Company placed the finishing touches on ROSEDALE and, after she had successfully run her trials, she was accepted by Thomas Marks and Company. She then set off across the Atlantic under her own steam on her delivery voyage. She carried in her holds a cargo of cement which she had loaded at Liverpool, England, for delivery at Chicago. ROSEDALE arrived safely at Chicago on June 29, 1888, and she then proceeded to Ashtabula where, on July 18th, she loaded her first freshwater cargo. She took aboard 1,300 tons of coal for delivery to Fort William, Ontario.

We may today think of ROSEDALE as having been a steamer of rather primitive design, but she really was quite advanced for her day. On her maiden voyage, she set a most important record. She had the distinction of being the first vessel ever to carry a cargo all the way from Montreal through to Chicago without trans-shipment; this was the cement cargo that she had loaded at Liverpool. The coming of through freight service must certainly have been welcomed by all concerned, not only because cargo could be delivered so much more quickly, but also because of the savings in cost which could be achieved through the elimination of intermediate loadings and unloadings.

ROSEDALE did not serve the Marks fleet for long, however. By 1890, she had passed to the ownership of Messrs Hagarty and Crangle of Toronto. These gentlemen were two of the principals of the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd., Toronto, which had been formed officially in that year. The Hagarty mentioned was John H. G. Hagarty, while the Crangle was Capt. Samuel Crangle. Their associates in the organization were Toronto wharfinger W. A. Geddes, Sir Casimir S. Gzowski, G. Hagarty, F. W. Kingston, W. D. Matthews and E. B. Osler, all of whom were extremely prominent Toronto businessmen of the period. It might be suspected that these parties had an interest in ROSEDALE right from the time that she was built, but this is only supposition on our part and there is no formal evidence to confirm or deny their earlier involvement.

In the autumn of 1890, her new owners sent ROSEDALE to the yard of the Polson Iron Works at Owen Sound for lengthening, a process that cost the then-princely sum of $40,000. She was lengthened to 246.1 feet, and thus became what was later known as "full canal size" . The work was done by inserting a new midsection into the hull between the bridge structure and the engineroom. This reconstruction increased ROSEDALE's tonnage to 1507 Gross and 977 Net, and raised her grain capacity from 43,000 bushels to 60,000 bushels, considerably increasing her earning capacity in the process.

At the same time that she was lengthened, ROSEDALE was given new navigation facilities. A pilothouse was constructed atop the "texas", and the open bridge (which then was still considered to be "de rigueur" aboard all lake steamers) was relocated on the monkey's island atop the new pilothouse. In addition, a third mast was fitted. It was placed immediately abaft the pilothouse and, like the other two masts, it was well raked and carried auxiliary sail. It was equipped with one cargo boom.

Over the years, there has been some considerable dispute concerning where ROSEDALE was lengthened, some sources alleging that the work was done at Kingston. One must remember, however, that the Polson yard (such as it was) at Owen Sound, was the only shipyard on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes that was then capable of handling the lengthening of a metal-hulled vessel. The issue was finally resolved through the discovery of an article on the lengthening of ROSEDALE, which appeared in the January 15, 1891, issue of the "Owen Sound Times". There follows part of the description of the then-novel work.

"The work on the lengthening of the steamship ROSEDALE is progressing rapidly and the vessel has reached a condition which is technically known as "in frame", that is with the frame ready for plating. One width of shell is already in position alongside the keel plate, and the deck beams are being placed in position. When the vessel leaves the dock, she will be even stronger with her added length than previous to being cut in two.

"The addition of the seventy-odd feet to her length makes it necessary to supply another mast. This has been made similar to those already in, and like those of the C.P.R. steamships, a hollow steel tube, the plates for which were cut and shaped in the yard, and then carted to the dock where it has been rivetted.

"The lengthening of the vessel does not add to her compartments, but simply increases the size of that forward of the machinery bulkhead. Mr. Logan, who looked after the C.P.R. interests in the building of the steamship MANITOBA (which also was built by Polson's at Owen Sound), is the inspector for the owners and is in town at present."

The Inland Lloyds shipping register for 1892 showed a value for ROSEDALE, for insurance purposes, of $115,000. To protect its investment in the ship, the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd. placed Capt. James Ewart in command of ROSEDALE. He was a highly-respected master, who was well known around the Toronto waterfront, and who put in many years of service with Hagarty and Crangle. As a result, ROSEDALE appears to have enjoyed relatively smooth sailing during her early years.

Nevertheless, the year 1897 was not a good one for ROSEDALE. She was involved in no less than five separate accidents during that navigation season and, strangely enough, all of them occurred on the fourth day of a month. On April 4, 1897, she ran ashore near Rock Island Reef, situated near the upper end of Wellesley Island, on the south side of the channel in the upper St. Lawrence River. She was later freed, but had sustained enough damage that she was forced to go on the drydock at Detroit for repairs on April 17th.

The most serious accident of the 1897 season for ROSEDALE, and one that very nearly proved to be her undoing, occurred on December 4th. She stranded on Charity Shoal in Lake Ontario, approximately six miles west of Grenadier Island and near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Heavily damaged, she was abandoned to the underwriters as a constructive total loss. The underwriters let a salvage contract to the Donnelly Towing and Wrecking Company of Kingston. Donnelly managed to float ROSEDALE free of Charity Shoal on December 13 and the steamer was then towed stern-first to Kingston for repairs. The insurers sold the steamer to the Edwardsburg Starch Company Ltd., but this concern soon sold her back to the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd., the sum of $55,000 changing hands in this transaction.

Another of ROSEDALE's exploits during the late 1890s occurred when the ship, whilst upbound light, ran up on the rocky shore of Knife Island in Lake Superior. She was released without much problem, but we have no report as to the exact amount of the damage that she suffered in this mishap.

The late Capt. Henry King of Toronto, who latterly served for many years as examiner of masters and mates for the Dominion government, and who spent many summers sailing in the Niagara Navigation Company's passenger steamers, served in ROSEDALE for a period of time during the 1890s. He always spoke of ROSEDALE as having been a very difficult ship to steer, and confirmed that two men were normally required to handle her steering wheel. During one of her many strandings, the wheelsman lost control of her wheel when it began to spin, and he was killed when one of the spokes of the wheel struck him on the head.

The St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Company Ltd. continued to operate ROSEDALE until 1907. They kept her in the grain trade, with most of her cargoes being consigned either to Kingston or to the ports of Georgian Bay. In 1907, however, she was sold to R. O. and A. B. Mackay of Hamilton, Ontario, entrepreneurs whose exploits have been mentioned many times in these pages. The Mackays formed a subsidiary company, Rosedale Ltd., Hamilton, in whose name ROSEDALE was registered. This company was incorporated with a capital of $100,000 and its directors were R. O. Mackay, A. B. Mackay, J. P. Steedman, T. Hobson and L. F. Stephens, all of Hamilton.

Her new owners placed ROSEDALE in the package freight trade between Montreal and Fort William. She became a part of the newly-formed Merchants and Montreal - Lake Superior Line, which was a joint venture of the Mackays and G. E. Jaques and Company, Montreal. In 1908, R. O. Mackay retired from the shipping business and his brother, A. B. Mackay, formed the Inland Navigation Company Ltd. to operate the family's vessels. ROSEDALE remained under Mackay ownership and became a part of this new fleet.

During March of 1910, the famous shipping entrepreneur James Playfair, of Midland, Ontario, acquired a very large and controlling block of shares of the Inland Navigation Company Ltd. He reorganized the fleet, together with a number of his own vessels, as Inland Lines Ltd., Midland, and ROSEDALE thus came under the Playfair houseflag. She was only one of a great number of Canadian lake steamers that, over the years between the 1890s and Playfair's death in 1937, were to feel the influence of this gentleman.

We know of only one accident which involved ROSEDALE during her years with Inland Lines Ltd. On November 11, 1912, ROSEDALE, whilst upbound light from Kingston to Fort William, stranded on DeTour Point as she attempted to enter the St. Mary's River. She was refloated, but we have not been able to turn up any further details concerning the incident.

James Playfair was one of the "guiding lights" involved in the formation of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, in 1913. Inland Lines Ltd. was, accordingly, one of the many Canadian lake fleets which were absorbed into the new conglomerate upon its incorporation, and ROSEDALE thus became part of the largest Canadian fleet ever to operate on the Great Lakes.

ROSEDALE did not have long to enjoy her position in the C.S.L. fleet, however, for World War One began the year after her acquisition. The hostilities created a great demand for tonnage to operate on the east coast, and many Canadian canallers were sent eastward to assist in the war effort. ROSEDALE was sent to the coast in 1915, and she spent part of that season in the coal trade between Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Montreal. As did many of the canallers so employed, she returned to the lakes during the autumn of 1915 to lend a hand in the transportation of grain down the lakes during the fall grain rush.

Although Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. retained ownership of ROSEDALE, she was requisitioned by the government in 1916 for salt water service, the need for extra tonnage in the war effort having accelerated with the loss of many Canadian vessels. On May 30, 1916, ROSEDALE sustained damage in a gale which she encountered on the North Atlantic while she was bound from Quebec City to London, England. Many canallers fell victim to storms on the high seas, for they were never designed to withstand the eccentricities of navigation on the open ocean, but ROSEDALE managed to survive the gale. She also managed to avoid enemy action and came through the war safely. In this regard, she was rather more fortunate than were many canallers, a large number of which were sunk by enemy torpedoes or gunfire.

ROSEDALE remained on salt water after the cessation of hostilities, operable bottoms still being much in demand at that time as a result of the extensive war losses. Whether ROSEDALE would ever have returned to the Great Lakes or not is a question that we are not now qualified to answer. Albeit a good ship in her earlier days, she had been far outclassed by subsequent and more modern steamers, and it is entirely possible that C.S.L. might not have wished to take her back, even considering the demand for canal-sized tonnage in the lakes during the years immediately following the war.

In any event, C.S.L. did not have much of an opportunity to consider taking ROSEDALE back into its fleet. On April 8, 1919, the steamer was involved in a collision with the salt-water steamer LUELLA on the North Atlantic. ROSEDALE was seriously damaged in the accident, and she foundered shortly thereafter. The little steamer with the antiquated but graceful lines was gone, but she would be remembered for many years on the lakes by those who realized the contribution to lake shipping that she had made as one of the first steamers of her type ever to sail our inland waters.

(Ed. Note: We extend sincere thanks to member Ron Beaupre of Port Elgin, Ontario, who, in response to our request, searched for and was able to locate the Owen Sound newspaper report dealing with the lengthening of ROSEDALE.)

Paul Sherlock

It is with great regret that we report the sudden passing, on June 13, 1982, of member Paul Sherlock of Fonthill, Ontario.

Paul was a good friend to many of us. He was a longtime member of the Toronto Marine Historical Society and, through his employment with the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, he was able to obtain for us much information concerning marine news and winter lay-ups in the various local ports. He was always happy to share this information with our readers, and he was the source of many reports that appeared in these pages over the years.

We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Dolores, and to his sons. We shall miss Paul and the kind assistance which he so freely gave us for so many years.

Additional Marine News

Amid much fanfare, the new Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker DESGROSEILLERS, built by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd., was christened at Port Weller on Saturday, August 7th. The new vessel has been constructed as a replacement for the aging d'IBERVILLE. The sponsor for DESGROSEILLERS was Mme. Jean Luc Pepin, the wife of a prominent Canadian federal cabinet minister. We understand that DESGROSEILLERS will not be commissioned until late in September.

THE SOO RIVER COMPANY - A LATE REPORT: Word spread among the shipping fraternity on August 9th that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce had foreclosed on the Soo River Company and had appointed Peat Marwick Ltd., Toronto, as Receivers. Apparently, writs were issued against the JOAN M. McCULLOUGH while she was unloading a cargo of soya beans at Victory Mills in Toronto, and against PIERSON DAUGHTERS, which was unloading at a Montreal elevator at the time. At present, the future of the Soo River Company is uncertain, but it is hoped that a satisfactory solution to the company's difficulties can be worked out. We sincerely hope that this will be the case, and that the colourful vessels of the Soo River Company will not pass from the Great Lakes shipping scene.

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Scanner, v. 14, n. 9 (Summer 1982)

Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Iocoma Revisited; Paul Sherlock; Additional Marine News