Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 22, no. 2 (November 1989), p. 11

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11. Ship of the Month - cont'd. lay during the Second World W a r . ) The salvagers did, however, cut away the steamer's texas cabin and pilothouse, and the entire forward cabin was transported ashore to Copper Harbor, where it became the office and gift shop of the Pilot House Resort, overlooking Lake Superior. The structure remained in this remote location, a silent reminder of the lake's fury and ALTADOC's final voyage into history, until it was destroyed by fire on March 22, 1987, almost sixty years after the stranding. The master of ALTADOC at the time of her stranding was Captain Richard D. Simpson, who had been born near Oakville, Ontario, on July 2 6 , 1 8 6 0 . He was the son of Capt. George Simpson, and a nephew of the famous shipbuilders Melancthon and John Simpson. His family moved to Owen Sound in 1881 and Ri chard served thereafter on numerous lake steamers, including MOCKING BIRD, NORTHERN QUEEN, MANITOULIN (I), ALGOMA and the tug HARRISON. He was second mate in ALGOMA when she was wrecked on Greenstone Rock off Isle Royale late in 1 8 8 5 , but he was not responsible for her loss. Captain Simpson joined the Paterson fleet in 1926, when he was 66 years of age, and he commanded the wartime-built canaller NOVADOC (I), which Pater son had acquired from the federal government marine. He sailed ALTADOC for the entire 1 9 2 7 season and he was exhonerated from all responsibility for the loss of the steamer, her stranding having occurred solely as a result of the effects of the elements. Captain Simpson died at the home of his daughter at Virginia, Minnesota, on March 1 8 , 1938, and a funeral service, attended by a very large number of mourners, was held at Owen Sound on March 22, 1938. The Paterson fleet mourned the loss of ALTADOC and then moved on to bigger and better things. ALTADOC's sistership, PRINDOC (I), continued to serve the fleet until she became the second of the Paterson upper lakers to be lost. On June 1st, 1943 , whilst downbound with a cargo of grain, PRINDOC was sunk after colliding with the Canada Steamship Lines package freighter BATTLEFORD off Passage Island in Thunder Bay, Lake Superior. Fortunately, PRINDOC's entire crew of 22 persons was rescued by BATTLEFORD. The two sisterships had served together for many years. They both expired in the cold and lonely waters of Lake Superior. Perhaps this autumn, sixtytwo years after her loss, just a few of the sailors out on Lake Superior will think of the lost ALTADOC, and in so doing may rekindle the memory of this handsome steamer. * * * * * A HAMILTON MYSTERY T. M. H. S. member Roger Chapman has reported that, during the month of Aug ust, a small dredge appeared in the Windermere Basin at Hamilton and began cleaning out that small area. What is surprising about this is the fact that the basin is located to the east of the eastern port area and is com pletely inaccessible by water. Roger would like to know, and so would we, how the dredge got into the basin. Does anybody know the answer? * * * * * ADDITIONAL MARINE NEWS -- On September 27. C. S. L.'s H. M. GRIFFITH suffered a fire in her unload ing gear while above Lock 8 , Port Colborne, en route from Toledo to Hamil ton. The smoky fire, which was contained by firefighters, apparently resul ted from welding operations in the area of one of the conveyor belts. -- When SEAWAY QUEEN and CANADIAN HUNTER laid up at Toronto in October, they had cargoes of iron ore. They were diverted to lay-up because of the closure of the Dofasco dock at Hamilton for construction work. -- Late reports indicate that a major Canadian overseas grain sale has been arranged, which should cause many idle lakers to be reactivated. STELLA DES GAGNES departed Toronto on October 30th... * * * * *

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