The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 2 Aug 1892

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A Sad Commentary.

Kingston, Aug. 2nd - To the Editor:

When a year ago the matter was being discussed by marine men as to where the Richelieu & Ontario navigation company intended having their new steamer built, Capt. Donnelly said she could be brought in free of duty, even were she built in the United States, by registering the vessel in Newfoundland. A great many disputed this and said it could not be done, and as one interested I watched the result for my own information. Yesterday morning the str. Columbian, of St. John's, Nfld., built in Chester, Pa., left this harbor for Montreal with all the privileges of a Canadian steamer, without having paid one cent of duty to our government. Is it any wonder we have to go to the United States for work. And when we reach this same states to work on some steamer on machinery ordered by a Canadian, the United States customs officer will perhaps turn us back. We are a humble people.



The tug Petrel will leave for Quebec tomorrow with a large raft.

Tug Walker and tow left Amherstburg yesterday for Kingston with 100,000 bushels of wheat.

On July 30th the prop. Tilley and tow left Duluth with 106,000 bushels of wheat for Kingston.

The steamer Columbian does not carry freight. It refused to carry a couple of horses from Brockville to Montreal.

This morning the str. Lorelei towed the schr. Nellie Hunter from Grindstone Island loaded with paving stones for Toronto.

The schr. Acacia, from Oswego, is unloading coal at Belleville. She will carry four more cargoes of coal between these points.

B. McLeod will be appointed chief engineer of the dry-dock with J. Lovett, assistant. This will be a disappointment to R. Marshall who has been acting as chief engineer.

On account of the machinery not being in good working order the steamer Columbian only ran as far as Prescott and then returned to Kingston. Passengers were transferred to the steamer Corinthian.

The yacht Onward will again challenge the Norah for the Fisher cup. The Americans are bound to carry away the cup and say that they will send up the Clara from New York, if necessary, to take it.

Arrivals: schr. D. Freeman, Belleville, 10,000 bushels corn and 35,000 (sic) bushels peas; str. Khartoum, Glenora, 2,000 bushels grain; Maggie L., Adolphustown, 4,000 bushels grain; Laura D., Deseronto, 28,000 (sic) bushels grain.

A Port Colborne despatch says the str. Haskell is en route from Chicago to Ogdensburg with a general cargo. The prop. Dominion and barges are coming from Duluth to Kingston. The prop. Armenia and barges are on their way to Parry Sound.

The steamer Rocket was three quarters of an hour in turning round in the Napanee river Saturday evening. The dredge Nipissing is at work there. It cleared the basin and about the wharves to make it possible for the Rocket to turn about with ease. But more work will evidently have to be done.

Telling of the Voyage - description of the steamer Columbian's trip from New York to St. John's, Newfoundland (where a huge fire had recently destroyed one third of the city) to Montreal.



Buffalo is jubilant. It's population is 256,000, a decided increase since the census. It is now the tenth city in population and is bent upon reaching fifth place at least. As the elevator question is a live one for Kingston it will be interesting to refer back to discover one secret of Buffalo's growth and wealth. Harper's Magazine said in 1885:

"To understand the past, present or future of Buffalo as a port of entry, the results of her characteristic industries, and the pluck of her early settlers - and no city in the United States more directly owes her present prosperity to the energy of a few far-seeing pioneers - one must approach her from the harbor side.

In the foreground stands the most imposing row of bread-distributors on the lakes, the mammoth grain elevators of Buffalo Creek, nearly forty of them, making an elephantine procession a mile long, with a combined storage capacity of 9,250,000 bushels, and a transfer capacity of 3,102,000 bushels, or, in other words, the power of receiving from lake vessels and transferring to canal boats and cars daily 3,000,000 bushels of wheat, a rate unequalled at any other port in this country. It is not uncommon to see large lake vessels unloading and two canal boats and two trains of freight cars loading at the same time.

The site of the Bennett elevator, at the junction of the creek and the Evans ship canal, is historic as marking the scene of an experiment only less interesting than the first voyage of Robert Fulton's steamboat, for it was here, in 1842, that a Buffalonian, Joseph Dart, built the first steam storage transfer elevator, on the well-known elevator and conveyor principle of Oliver Evans, in the face of the jeers of his townsmen, who predicted that he would find to his cost that "Irishmen's backs were, after all, the cheapest elevators."

The capacity of Joseph Dart's elevator was but 55,000 bushels, with a power of raising 1,000 bushels an hour. Today such an elevator as that of the connecting terminal railroad, having a capacity of 1,000,000 bushels, can elevate 19,000 bushels an hour. Watching the legs of the two towers of this huge elevator drop upon a mass of wheat in the hold of a lake vessel moored at its wharf, the machinery start, and the twelve quart buckets dip down into the grain and rush with lightning speed up into the roof of the building, where they deposit their load in the bins, it is not difficult to believe that a cargo which by the old method of "Irishmen's backs" would have required a month to discharge can now be stowed away in five hours."

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2 Aug 1892
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 2 Aug 1892