In the December issue, we ran Al Sweigert's quiz dealing with the survivors of some famous but now defunct Great Lakes shipyards. The lakes have had their share of well-known yards but many boats were constructed by less famous shipbuilders, some of them operating in smaller lake ports that never really became known as shipbuilding centres.
Try our little quiz. It is not really that difficult and the answers can be found with the judicious use of our clues and available references. (Hint: we start with yards at the eastern end of the lakes system and work westwards.) Look for the answers in the April issue.
1. Only one U.S. port on the St. Lawrence River was ever to achieve recognition for shipbuilding. Two barge-canal type vessels were built there in 1929 and 1930 for the Federal Motorship Corporation, Buffalo. Both were later chartered to a Canadian fleet and subsequently left the lakes for the Caribbean. They were out of documentation by the mid-fifties. Name the motorships, the port and the builder.
2. Over the years, several U.S. ports on Lake Ontario have been home to shipbuilding activities. Only one, however, built any great number of boats, all of them during the era of wooden schooners and steamers when this port was a major grain, lumber and coal centre. Name the port and, if possible, at least one vessel that was built there. Try for the port's most famous product, the first propellor-driven steamboat ever to operate on the Great Lakes.
3. A Canadian port on Eastern Lake Ontario possessed one major shipyard as well as others of lesser importance during the early years. It was known more for ship repairing than for building. Name the port and its major shipyard plus at least three boats built there. Two of them were government tugs built for St. Lawrence River service; the first, built in 1911, still serves as a "tug" in the Detroit River area, while the second, built in 1912, later became a salvage tug before her eventual scrapping, and was featured as a "Ship of the Month" almost four years ago. The last hull ever built by the yard is still in service; a canaller, her owner celebrated an anniversary in 1979.
4. A Canadian town on a Lake Ontario backwater could hardly be called a "port" by today's standards. Nevertheless, back in 1887, its famous shipyard constructed a beautiful sidewheel passenger boat for the service between Toronto and the Niagara River. Her hull was built of Scottish Dalzell steel. Name the port, the ship, and the shipyard.
5. This western Lake Ontario port has been best known for the large number of lakers scrapped there. However, several notable steamers were built there long ago. One, a passenger boat built in 1892, was one of the most famous vessels ever operated on Lake Ontario. Name the port and the sidewheeler whose career spanned almost half a century. Then name an iron-hulled package freighter (1892), a steel barge (1901) which later became a steamer, and a composite package freighter (1882) later rebuilt as a steam barge, which were also built there. All of them eventually wound up in the same fleet as the passenger steamer.
6. On the shore of Lake Erie, not far from the upper end of the Welland Canal, lay the village of Bridgeburg, Ontario. A large upper laker was built there in 1907 but no other vessels came from the "port" until, 28 years later, another yard turned out a tanker, the largest all-welded hull in the world at that time. Tell us the present name of the village and identify both ships. Can you also name an iron-hulled carferry that was built there back in 1872?
7. At one time, there were at least three shipyards building steel hulls at this large Ohio city, one of them maintaining a large graving dock. Other shipyards were also active there in earlier years. Today, no yards are building boats there, but one company uses a floating dock to service its own vessels. Name the port, the three shipbuilders, and the company still using a drydock there.
8. An interesting builder had a yard inland on a small river in Lower Michigan. As its ships became larger, more and more trouble was encountered in getting them out past a narrow bridge draw and down the river. No major vessels were built by the yard after 1903. Three of its products became quite famous, two of them under tragic circumstances; one capsized at her Chicago dock, one was lost near Isle Royale in Lake Superior, and one is now a floating restaurant at a large Canadian city. Name the port, the shipyard, and all three of the vessels mentioned.
9. Only one ship of any size was ever built at this village on the Canadian side of the St. Clair River. The shipwrights obviously knew their work, however, for the 1875-built iron hull, fabricated in Great Britain, is still in service today as a carfloat. What vessel is this and where was she built?
11. This Georgian Bay port, while not the Bay's major shipbuilding centre, did see several vessels constructed there, mostly small wooden steamers in the early years and a variety of steel tugs, fireboats and small ferries (such as Toronto's ONGIARA) in later years. Only three major steel-hulled ships were built there, however, these being constructed in 1889 and 1890 by a special yard owned by a large Toronto shipbuilder. One was a famous passenger and freight carrier which served one owner for sixty years. Another was a carferry, built for the same owner, which crossed the Detroit River for 26 years. The third was a lumber carrier which later served C.S.L. as a package freighter. Name the port, the shipyard, and all three steamers.
12. Alexander McDougall and his whalebacks were famous around the lakes. Less well known, however, is the fact that not all of the whalebacks came from the same shipyard. The first five barges and one steamer (COLGATE HOYT, No. 106) were put together in one city (name it, please) and the remainder built on the lakes came from a yard in another city (name it also, please) after McDougall obtained the financial backing of the Rockefeller interests. Name McDougall's famous shipyard and tell us whether it built any vessels other than whalebacks and whether any whalebacks (other than the first six) were ever built at different shipyards. As an extra little exercise to close our quiz, please name the last lake whaleback ever built, give us her number, and tell us how she differed from all the others.
Contestants will be awarded one point for each correct piece of information given in reply to the questions. A perfect score will be 50 points. Winners will be identified in the April issue along with the correct answers which we will present for the benefit of all participants and fellow trivia collectors.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.