Last of Sailing Ships Come into Port Together
For a Few Minutes Old Scenes Were Brought Back at Harbor Entrance
Dozens of Oswegonians and visitors to the city, who thronged the bridge and the lake shores and river banks near the harbor last evening saw what may never be seen again on Lake Ontario, or for that matter on any of the Great Lakes - three schooners coming into port under full sail.
For the days of the sailing ship are gone, and the three schooners which came into port on the wings of a Northeast breeze from across the lake are three of the four remaining ships of any size on Lake Ontario. All the others, whose white sails a quarter of a century ago or more dotted the surface of the lake for miles, have gone, their bones lying in the graveyards of the lakes.
-five years ago one could count the sails of dozens of ships on the lakes; before that period the wharves and docks berthed as many more, and daily into and out of the ports the ships winged their way. But in recent years their numbers have been dwindling and the schooners now remaining for the most part represent ships that have been brought down from the upper lakes to replace worn out old carriers from which Father Time took a deathly toll.
day of the old-time sailor is passing also. Steam from a donkey boiler forward now hoists the patched sails and browned canvas of the present day sailing ships. Their decks are smirched with coal dust, no longer do owners or crew take pride in bright work and varnished masts. They serve another purpose still, but the days of fast passage are gone, as likewise are the days when skippers took their ships to sea regardless of the wind. Now the schooners that are left to go to se only with fair winds and rising glass, fur hulls are weak and leaky, and caulking has a way of pulling out in a seaway and some say, are kept afloat only by steam syphons.
So when three schooners, with stretched sheets, came into port last evening when it was no yet total dark to pick the details of sails and rigging, the hearts of old-timers along the water front rejoiced. The Lyman M. Davis, of Napanee, a three and after, led the van in a three way race across the lake, and made her berth with little trouble in spite of the freshening breeze. A few minutes later the topsails of another showed and then another and on the home stretch, a few ship lengths apart, came in the Mary A. Daryaw from Kingston and the Julia B. Merrill from the same port.
Incidentally, the ships are perhaps making their last trips to port this season, as they are carrying coal, and within a day or two the lake shipping trestles will have empty pockets, with the cessation of coal shipments from the mines.