The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 10 Jul 1897

Full Text

p.1 The Prize List - Kingston yacht club makes arrangements for the coming yacht races.



J.H. Tromanhauser, of the firm of Barnett & Record, architects and contractors, Minneapolis, Minn., has been for some days at work on the plans and specifications for the proposed Mooers grain elevator. The plans are being prepared here, where all the necessary material for the building of the elevator will be secured. The firm which Mr. Tromanhauser represents is the largest in the United States in the line of grain elevator building. Some of the biggest grain storehouses in America were erected by this firm from plans prepared by architects in its employ.

The site of the old Robertson spice mill, foot of Gore street, has been secured for the proposed elevator, which will be built on a stone foundation, supported by hundreds of spiles, driven into the clay. The shore end of the elevator will begin about twenty feet out from the present old wharf, the intervening space between it and the elevator being afterwards filled in. From the shore end the elevator will extend out 220 feet, bringing the harbor front on a line with the outside end of the north pier at the dry dock. There will be a water space of forty-five feet between the shore end of the elevator and the dry-dock pier, while at the harbor or outer end the water space will be eighty feet, allowing plenty of room for vessels to enter to either load or discharge. On the north side there will be a water space of sixty feet between the elevator and the locomotive wharf. The building will thus have water frontage on three sides. A fair sized wharf will surround the storehouse.

The spiles will be cut off below the water level, stone flags being laid over these. The building will stand 130 feet above the water level, and will be of wood throughout, covered with corrugated iron. One and one-half million feet of lumber will be used in its construction, and to hold this in place thirty tons of nails and spikes will be used, rod iron, etc., being extra. The elevator will be fitted with two scales of 1,000 bushels capacity each, and for unloading craft there will be one marine and four elevator legs and four carrying belts. The capacity of the storehouse will be reckoned at one-half million bushels, but space for an additional 50,000 bushels, or thereabouts, will be provided for working purposes.

The elevator company is not losing any time in getting to work. Already three car loads of spiles have arrived. The company has contracted for the service of one pile driver and is looking for two or three others. The foundation plan of the building is ready, and work will be commenced at once.

Railroad connection will also be made with the elevator. Efforts will be made to run the track through the locomotive works yard. Failing in this, the rails will be made up William street, along Ontario and down Gore streets. The railroad companies have promised connection.


Kingston, July 8th - To the Editor:

Pardon me for once more encroaching on your space and good nature. I am prompted to do so on this occasion by the remarks contained in a letter in your last night's issue, under the above caption, by "Another Taxpayer," who is evidently in close touch with the Montreal transportation Co., or its office here, for its sentiments are almost an exact re-echo of Captain Gaskin's remarks uttered in the council chamber on Monday night last, although it purports to be a reply to my letter of the 5th inst., on the action of the board of trade in urging another large bonus by the city to this company towards erecting another elevator and the retaining of their ship-building and forwarding business in Kingston. The writer divided his letter into sections of the one, two, three, four order, in which he dealt with my views in a capious and negative manner; but inferred, in clause one, that I had charged the board of trade with "pure, unadulterated assurance" for promptly taking up "for careful consideration a matter which vitally affects Kingston's prosperity," namely, the retaining of the company's business here. I said nothing of the kind; but admitted then and do now that the loss of that business would be a heavy blow to the city, of which I then believed, and do now, there need be no alarm, for no proof had been produced that the company intended to go elsewhere, even though they may have had urgent invitations to do so from other places, of which I have no doubt. Capt. Gaskin has not said that they intended to remove unless a bonus was granted to them towards the erection of another elevator or for their retention here - at least he did not when he addressed the council last Monday night, for I paid close attention to what he said; neither has Mr. McLennan, the head man of the company, nor any of his leading associates. That being the case, was it not fair for one to conclude that there existed no intention to abandon Kingston? Has the board of trade any stronger evidence to produce that there is any such intention? All that they or anyone else have advanced is entirely of a negative character, such as "they may go," "were they to go," or "if they go," and so on, which is not new, but exactly of a like character to that we were accustomed to on former occasions, all contradictions to the contrary notwithstanding by "Another Taxpayer," or anyone else, as can be amply proved. In clause three he asks if an unsupported statement that they will not go should be taken "in the face of indications to the contrary?" What are the indications? Who knows of any such? Will the president or directors of the company confirm them, on their honor as leading business men? What evidence have the board of trade of such intention? Their resolution did not show that they had any. But it did show an anxiety that the council should offer to that company a bonus for the erecting and operating of another elevator and the retaining of their other business here. Now in the absence of all possible evidence that the company intend to leave Kingston and no proof existed that another elevator is required until the capacity and suitability of the one already decided upon has been tested and found wanting, I repeat and insist that it was nothing but "pure, unadulterated assurance," and unmitigated "gall" for the board of trade to recommend the council to grant another bonus for anything of the kind to this or any other company at the present time, for it is not true that there is any need or urgency for it just now; and I believe the board honestly know and believe so too. When the need for the adoption of such recommendation comes, as come I trust it soon may, there will be no one found to say nay. What valid reason exists that this company should leave Kingston? Is there another place on the river St. Lawrence that will suit them as well as their present places of business? I believe they will admit there is not. They own their fine, capacious docks, workshops, and shipyards here, which are all in shape to suit them, and in good working order. Are they to be abandoned and thrown overboard and other unprepared sites at Prescott or elsewhere taken up? It seems absurd to think of such ridiculous conduct. Everything points the other way. Captain Gaskin says the company never sought a bonus. Perhaps not. That being the case, supposing him to be right, how comes it that he appeared before the council as one of the delegates of the board of trade in advocacy of the granting of the said bonus? Is he not a member of the company? and being so, does his action not involve the company as an applicant for the favor? or is he merely trying to make amends to his employers for having allowed the former bonus to slip through his fingers because it was not large enough, and led them to believe he would succeed in securing double the amount? Notwithstanding that little mishap and the flagellations he is credited with being in receipt of because of his shortsightedness in that matter, is it right that he should step in now, in order to make amends for past shortcomings, with the other members of the board of trade, to influence the council to submit a by-law to raise an unrequired amount at this time, which cannot help embarrassing the present elevator company as well? Is that the purpose? Surely the council will not allow such a deal to be consummated. They should shoulder the responsibility themselves of not allowing it to go to the people at all, for it would prove an unnecessary expense of no small proportions, which should be carefully guarded against at present. The necessary stiffening of the back-bone must be excercised, and not allow the responsibility to be thrown on the people. Firmness is required in the case, and the pluck to say "no." It is hoped that quality will be found to exist, which will teach schemers that the aldermen cannot be made tools of to further their selfish and spiteful ends, whether prompted by disappointed business or political motives. It is very much to be regretted that such questions as these cannot be handled on their merits and requirements, free from bias of any sort, and not pushed forward to suit the whims of designing persons, for I sincerely believe the promoters and manipulators of this new scheme have no other object in view than the crippling of the Mooers company, seeing that others, through their own, overweening selfishness, failed to secure the position which that company now occupies, and I think the concluding paragraphs of "Another Taxpayer's" letter point strongly in that direction.

In clause three that writer takes captous exception to the M.T. Co. (as a company, I presume) being accused of threatening to leave the city on former occasions unless they got what they wanted. Not wishing that the accusation should rest on the wrong shoulders, I accept the correction, but, in doing so, allow me to ask him who did make it? It was done in their behalf; and who, but someone connected with the company, would be in a position to do it? He admits that it might have been done on one occasion.

In paragraph four your correspondent says the M.T. Co., to a great extent, own the grain they carry, which is not disputed, and most of it, I think it is safe to say, is transhipped here and carried in their own barges to Montreal, and not at Prescott. Why is that if it can be carried as cheaply to the latter port? He then asks if it be a fact that vessel owners and transportation companies will carry grain from Port Arthur and Duluth to Prescott as cheaply as to Kingston, what will happen in the event of grain being received by the Mooers elevator, which cannot be immediately transferred to barges? - a question which is clearly intended to scare and mislead somebody, but it is deceptive and contains an untrue inference. It is quite clear that there can be no transhipping done here, except that of the M.T. Co., of their own grain, from their own large lake boats to the barges, if it can be taken so much further without extra charge. If that be true, why do they not send their boats as far as Prescott too, before transhipping? He knows it cannot be done, and is not done, unless competition and dullness of trade have caused heavy cuts in the rates from what they used to be. It would be utter folly to build an elevator here at all if owners of grain can have it taken to Prescott as cheaply as to Kingston. The inference that that is done and will be continued, is the strongest argument against going to the expense of building any elevator here, much less another, for there would be nothing for them to do, under such circumstances; and were the whole harbor front studded with them, they could not bring a bushel of grain to this port, much less regain the trade already lost. But, fortunately, it is not true. If it were there would be no grain handled here now, even by the M.T. Co., who would send all their craft to Prescott too, notwithstanding the extra distances and treacherous navigation for large boats. Any fool knows it takes longer to go seventy-five miles more and return - 150 in all - especially in waters requiring great care in avoiding shoals and steep currents, and that it costs far more to do it. Then who will lose valuable time and money in that way when it can be avoided? I am surprised that such statements are made, especially by the gentlemen urging the granting of another bonus, or the writers at their back. The position they assume in this matter is the very strongest reason why another elevator should not be erected until it is ascertained whether the one now in hand warrants the building of others. As to what will happen the Mooers elevator in the event of grain being stored there and cannot be at once tranferred to barges (sic), I have to say to "Another Taxpayer" and all others who set up that plea, and to its being taken to Prescott for the same money as to Kingston, that no such contingency can arise, as in that case no grain will be left here for that or any other elevator to store; but as the plea is an erronious one, having falsity on the face of it, will he tell me why the M.T. Co. would not just as readily receive and carry grain in their barges from that elevator to Montreal as from that at Prescott, from which it is claimed they do fifty per cent of their transhipping business? Wherever there is money to be made by this or any other company, there they will be found, and the needs will be supplied; and in accepting grain from the Mooers elevator, it would be no more a handing over of its business to that concern than it does to that at Prescott, in which another correspondent, "Citizen," says they have no stock whatever.

The two concluding paragraphs of "Another Taxpayer" are quite amusing and contradictory to some extent, in that the first exhibits the cloven foot badly, where it stated that the Mooers company need not depend upon the M.T. Co., as there is plenty of work for it outside of that company, which, taken in connection with the preceeding paragraphs dealt with above, is strange logic, for if they are not to be depended upon for their barges when available to move the grain when needed, and no others can be secured, where is the "profitable and plenty " of work to come from? Captain Gaskin gave himself away in a somewhat similar manner before the council the other night when he also stated that it was useless for any company to run an elevator unless they had floating stock to move the stuff; showing, as this writer does too, that he was not so much imbued with the alleged wish for the success of the Mooers company as for its ruination, notwithstanding the expressed wish for its success. How can sincerity in this pretence exist when, in the same breath, the writer infers that the Mooers company are antagonizing the M.T. Co.? which is entirely untrue. The reverse is the plain fact. Specious pleading and the presentation of unlikely possibilities happening, I still believe have had a tendency to deceive and influence a few of the members of the board of trade and others who have lent themselves towards helping on this at present unnecessary second elevator, which it is to be hoped the council will guard against. Being anxious for the success of the first elevator, there were those at the board of trade meeting who did not care to offer opposition to the second elevator, because it was known that there were those there who were sore, mad, and disappointed, because they had allowed the bonus first offered to be put beyond their reach, through their own neglect and folly, and did not wish to tantalize them by offering opposition, but for all that must not have been in favor of the new scheme at present; while there were others there and before the council too, who, I believe, because of their close business and political relations, would do almost anything the promoters might wish to have done.

As the remarks in this letter will answer as a reply to "Citizen," it will be unnecessary for me to give him special attention; suffice it to say to him that when it became known, five years ago, or at any other time, that a stationary elevator was needed here to receive surplus grain on its arrival, to relieve the glut and prevent delay of vessels and the paying of demurrage, or to head off the threatened enterprises at Prescott, or Ogdensburg, and no effort put forth to meet the requirements by the M.T. Co., or anyone else, no reason exists at present for going to the other extreme in the face of uncertainties. In taking that course I contend I am advocating the best interests of the citizens. Let us see how the first elevator comes out before rushing into anything more. I shall favor another when it is found necessary.




The schooner John Shute cleared yesterday for the Welland canal, light.

The steamer Bothnia, light, Garden Island to Toledo, cleared the Welland canal yesterday.

The sloop Idlewild, Stella, yesterday discharged 1,500 bushels of oats at Richardson & Sons' elevator.

The schooner Pilot, Bay of Quinte ports, arrived at Richardson & Sons' elevator yesterday with 2,500 bushels of oats.

Three of the K. & M. F. company's barges left yesterday for Charlotte to load 2,000 tons of coal for Montreal.

The steamer Iona and consort Siren, Trenton to Montreal, with 800,000 feet of lumber, touched at this port yesterday.

The steamer Bannockburn, Fort William, arrived today with 76,000 bushels of wheat consigned to the M.T. company.

The schooner Merritt, Fort William, consort of the steamer Merritt, discharged 3,500 bushels of wheat at Richardson & Sons' elevator yesterday.

She's A Daisy.

W. Kent's new yacht that was launched this afternoon from Robinson's ship-yard, is without doubt the prettiest craft on the harbor. Her length over all is thirty-four feet, at the water line twenty-four feet. The frame is of blue oak, with pine planking; the deck is of British Columbia cedar as is also the cabin, and the deck is thoroughly varnished; the gaff, boom and spars are of spruce. There is a weight of 3,700 pounds of iron on the outside of the keel, and 2,200 pounds of lead inside. She is expected to develop great speed and to take her place at the head of the list of fast yachts in Kingston harbor.

Several yachts will be built on similar lines for next season and already orders have been booked for two similar boats.



A joint meeting of the board of trade and the special elevator committee was held in the board of trade rooms last evening chairman T. Donnelly, of the elevator committee, presiding. The meeting was called to take preliminary action with regard to securing the erection of a second elevator in Kingston. The press representatives were asked to retire, as it was not desirable that the proceedings should be made known in toto to the public.

Chairman Donnelly, in opening the meeting, said the question of whether or not a second bonus should be offered is one that the electors should be consulted upon. Ex-alderman Redden, and alderman J. Steward agreed with this opinion.

Another meeting - also a private one - was held this afternoon.

After some discussion a committee, consisting of president Chadwick, of the board of trade, chairman Donnelly, of the elevator committee, and alderman Elliott was appointed to interview Mr. Mooers on the subject.

Ashore In The Rapids.

Word was received here this morning that the barge Siren, in tow of the steamer Iona, loaded with deals and bound from Trenton to Quebec, had struck a rock in the rapids below Prescott, and had gone ashore on Doran's island. The telegram stated that the barge was in a bad condition.

The Iona and tow left Trenton yesterday morning with 800,000 feet of lumber. They touched at this port and proceeded on down towards Quebec. The accident must have occurred late last night or early this morning. The stranded barge is owned by the Kingston & Montreal forwarding company. The deals with which she is loaded are consigned to McCarthy Bros. Up to one o'clock today no relief had been sent from here, and it was not known that any had been sent from elsewhere.

Lake Ontario's New Line.

Lewiston, N.Y., July 10th - There is considerable excitement here over a rumor that a line of magnificent boats is to be built to ply Lake Ontario. They will start from Lewiston and run down through the St. Lawrence river until the Gulf of St. Lawrence is reached. These boats will carry both merchandise and passengers and will equal in appointments the finest fresh water boats afloat. It is said that the project is being backed by Col. Corbin, of New York city.

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10 Jul 1897
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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), 10 Jul 1897