The work on the restoration of the Sandusky-Cedar Point sidewheel ferry G.A. BOECKLING continues. The hurricane deck has been completely rebuilt and sealed against the weather from the deckhouses out to its ends. The midship section will be restored next spring, with the return of decent weather. Meanwhile, the Association for Preservation Technology has agreed to convene a three-day workshop at Sandusky during April, at the suggestion of the Friends of the BOECKLING, the group responsible for the return of the ferry to her old home port. As a result of holding the workshop near the BOECKLING, the "Friends" hope to gain additional information and expertise which will assist them in their most worthy project.
At long last, the wreck of the passenger vessel ROYAL CLIPPER has "been removed from its resting place in Montreal harbour, where it has lain since the fire of December 6, 1977. The burned-out, sunken ship was righted on September 8 by crews from McAllister Towing and Salvage Ltd. and, after tons of wreckage were removed from her, the hull was refloated about September 24. ROYAL CLIPPER was upbound in the Welland Canal on November 23 in tow of HELEN M. McALLISTER and SALVAGE MONARCH, her destination being Port Maitland, Ontario, on Lake Erie. The exact reason for this tow has not been officially revealed, but we cannot imagine that it could be for any purpose other than the eventual scrapping of the vessel although, with POINTE NOIRE ahead of her, she may lie idle for quite a while before her dismantling begins. We must assume that the former passenger boat will be broken up by Port Maitland Shipbreaking Ltd.
The former Lake Ontario ro/ro ferry LAKESPAN ONTARIO, which arrived at Montreal on July 29 after sailing under her own power from her lay-up berth at Oshawa, was still lying at Montreal during mid-November. There is no indication as to when she will depart for service elsewhere, despite reports to the effect that she has been sold back to European operators.
The S/S Clipper Foundation has run into severe financial difficulties in its efforts to preserve at Chicago the 77-year-old passenger steamer CLIPPER, (a) JUNIATA, (b) MILWAUKEE CLIPPER. The problems stem from a dispute with the City of Chicago over the cost of sewer facilities, and may prevent the reopening of CLIPPER as a waterfront tourist attraction for the 1983 season. It has been the hope of her present owners that CLIPPER might eventually be returned to active service for the excursion trade in the Chicago area, but these plans may be ruined if CLIPPER cannot enjoy the benefit of a few successful seasons as a static display.
For a few short years, Toronto has enjoyed the enviable privilege of having two operating steamboats serving its harbour in the excursion trade. Very few North American ports can boast in such a manner these days. But now Toronto has lost one of its excursion steamers, although we are pleased to be able to report that the departed ship will not find her way to a scrapyard but rather to another Canadian port. We are indeed privileged to have TRILLIUM operating here, but we are sorry to see CALEDONIA, (a) LAVIOLETTE, (b) BLUE WATER BELLE, leave for new duties at Montreal. Readers will recall that in the Mid-Summer issue, we mentioned that an auction had been held at Toronto on June 17 to dispose of CALEDONIA as part of the winding-up of the affairs of the bankrupt Sherwood Marine Inc., her former operator. The higher of only two bidders was Toronto's Norman Rogers, the operator of WAYWARD PRINCESS and the rebuilder of the tug/sailing ship EMPIRE SANDY, but even his bid did not match the reserve. As a result, CALEDONIA lay idle during the 1982 season, and her melodious chime whistle was not heard echoing about the Bay. Now she has been sold to Montreal Harbour Cruises Inc., which will operate her in the excursion trade out of Montreal, returning her to the St. Lawrence River, for which she was built. CALEDONIA raised steam in late October and sailed from Toronto, via the Eastern Gap, in the early evening of November 8. She arrived at Montreal on November 10, and allegedly will be renamed either VILLE MARIE or VILLE MARIE II. We wish her well in her new service.
TRILLIUM, meanwhile, returned from the Whitby drydock under her own power on the afternoon of November 4. She made the trip safely, although she did lose vacuum on the way and, for a while, it was thought that she might have to return to Whitby, particularly in view of the indifferent weather conditions. This trip set a record for TRILLIUM in that it marked the latest in the season that she has ever operated in all her 72 years of life. We had also thought that her trip to Whitby was the farthest afield that she had ever wandered under her own steam, but we now understand that she did go to Kingston under her own power for drydocking at a much earlier stage of her career.
Two steamers of the fleet of P & H Shipping arrived at Toronto in mid-November to go into early lay-up, and thus joined WILLOWGLEN which, as JOSEPH X. ROBERT, laid up at Toronto in mid-July and has not turned her wheel since as a result of mechanical problems. FERNGLEN (JUDITH M. PIERSON) arrived on November 10 with a storage cargo of soya beans and laid up in the Leslie St. slip, thus becoming the first Parrish and Heimbecker boat to enter Toronto Harbour since the company's acquisition of the Soo River fleet. OAKGLEN (J. F. VAUGHAN) arrived on November 11 and laid up light alongside WILLOWGLEN at the foot of Jarvis Street. Interestingly enough, FERNGLEN was at Owen Sound on October 21, and there she loaded the same cargo of barley that she had unloaded at the port earlier as JUDITH M. PIERSON.
The tentative lay-up assignments for the P & H boats are as follows: BEECH-GLEN at Owen Sound, BIRCHGLEN, CEDARGLEN and ELMGLEN at Humberstone, SPRUCE-GLEN at Goderich, and FERNGLEN, WILLOWGLEN, OAKGLEN and PINEGLEN at Toronto. PINEGLEN (SOO RIVER TRADER) will winter (either light or with a soybean storage cargo) at Toronto so that she will be available to go on the drydock at Port Weller for survey and inspection on April 24, 1983. If she passes her inspection, she will probably go into the Georgian Bay grain trade. ELMGLEN (HOWARD F. ANDREWS), which has been said to be in deteriorated condition, is scheduled to operate through until next October, when she comes due for survey and inspection. SPRUCEGLEN (ROBERT S. PIERSON) will not "likely" be converted to oil fuel, for the cost would be prohibitive and she also requires a new sewage system. FERNGLEN will not operate for P & H again and will remain at Toronto until sold, although the present depressed state of the market for scrap metal may mean that her lay-up could be lengthy. Contrary to previous suggestions, there is no present deal for her to go to Hamilton as a storage barge, although the Canadian Vegetable Oil Company has, for several years, been looking for a hull to serve in that capacity.
We have not had sufficient space in these pages to keep readers advised of all the mid-season lay-ups and reactivations during 1982, but we have tried to keep abreast of developments within the fleet of Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. as an example of how the adverse business conditions are affecting one particular company. In addition to RED WING and HILDA MARJANNE, NORTHERN VENTURE was also placed back in service during the autumn, and only (!) WHEAT KING, SEAWAY QUEEN, FRANK A. SHERMAN, GORDON C. LEITCH, R. BRUCE ANGUS and JAMES NORRIS have remained idle, all at Toronto. Of these, only the NORRIS saw any service during 1982. The LEITCH, however, has been loaded with a storage cargo of soya beans during the autumn, but not at the Victory Mills elevator. First on the north wall of the ship channel, and latterly across the end of Pier 35 (the Cousins Terminal), she was loaded directly out of trucks via a small conveyor system. Her cargo consists of Ontario-grown soybeans rather than imported beans; Victory Mills receives not only U.S. beans brought in by ship, but also large quantities of Ontario beans which are trucked in to the company's Toronto facilities each autumn.
As previously reported, Upper Lakes Shipping is presently having built, in South Korea, a self-unloading vessel for salt water service. She is currently scheduled to be delivered in March of 1983. Tentative plans call for her to be christened NORTHERN LAKES, but it is thought that this name may well be changed before the ship is commissioned, for the name is hardly suitable for a boat that will operate exclusively on salt water.
Bridge No. 3, located at the upper end of Lock 2 on the Welland Canal, has been struck by assorted vessels over the years, and only a few years ago was completely rebuilt after one such altercation. Usually, however, the bridge has been in an open position when rammed by passing ships. Not so on the morning of November 21, when the closed bridge was struck by the salt-water freighter GRIGORIOS. There was little damage to the ship, but the pedestrian walkway across the bridge will require repairs.
The small tanker TEXACO WARRIOR (II), (a) THUNTANK 6 (72), (b) ANTERIORITY (75), which has operated on the lakes for eight years, will lay up at Montreal for the winter and will not run in 1983 for Texaco Canada Inc. She is to be put up for sale during the winter and, if sold, will have to go to a country where government regulations are less strict as regards fire hazard in the accommodations. We have heard suggestions that Texaco may be intending to build another lake tanker at a Far Eastern shipyard, but with the economy being such as it is, we rather suspect that the company may elect to operate only TEXACO BRAVE (II) and TEXACO CHIEF (II) on the lakes.
The Amoco Oil Company's 45-year-old steam tanker AMOCO INDIANA, (a) RED CROWN (62), was a surprise visitor to the Seaway this autumn. She made two trips down the Welland Canal and Seaway to take loads of product away from the closed Texaco refinery at Montreal. AMOCO INDIANA is the last of the old Amoco steamers still in service; the company's new tug AMOCO MICHIGAN (II) and barge AMOCO GREAT LAKES were commissioned during the summer.
With the Chessie System having discontinued carferry service to Manitowoc, the railroad has dismantled its auto ramp at that port and is reassembling it at Kewaunee. The only ferry route across Lake Michigan presently operated by Chessie is the run from Ludington to Kewaunee, served by the steamer BADGER. The news about the auto ramp comes as something of a surprise to us, for Chessie has stated that it intends to withdraw from the Kewaunee service at the end of March, 1983, and there would seem little reason to install the ramp there for such a short period of use. We have heard that Chessie might well be interested in maintaining a Lake Michigan ferry service if only it could get out of the passenger business, but if this is the case then there would be no need for an auto ramp at Kewaunee...
To add to the report on the Ann Arbor carferries which we carried in the November issue, we understand that their three boats, CITY OF MILWAUKEE, VIKING and ARTHUR K. ATKINSON, have been winterized (permanently laid up) and returned to Conrail pending the outcome of Michigan State efforts to reactivate the service. The Green Bay and Western Railroad has offered to run the boats, but Michigan legislators are no more keen on having a Wisconsin firm run the ferries than they were on having the out-of-state railroad take over the rail operations of the Ann Arbor from the Michigan Interstate Railway Company. Meanwhile, we have heard reports that CITY OF MILWAUKEE might be reduced to a barge and used to replace CHIEF WAWATAM on the Straits of Mackinac railferry service when the CHIEF is finally retired in April of 1983, but no confirmation of these plans is yet available.
There seems to be a possibility that the Ontonagon shipyard of the Upper Peninsula Shipbuilding Company, which was closed during the summer as a result of disagreement with Michigan state officials concerning the cost of the construction of tug/barge combinations for the Lake Michigan carferry service, may reopen to finish work on the first tug and barge. U.P.S.Co. and the State are at least speaking to each other again, and it is hoped that agreement will soon be reached. Those hopes, however, are not shared with any enthusiasm by devotees of traditional carferries...
There have been no further announcements concerning the bankruptcy of Johnstone Shipping Ltd. In the November issue, we reported that the fleet was in receivership and that buyers were being sought for CONDARRELL, CONGAR and CONALLISON. We have an unofficial report that the crane-equipped canaller CONDARRELL may go to east coast interests via Marine Salvage Ltd. Bids for CONALLISON, called for October 25, revealed only one "legitimate" offer, and there is no word yet on her disposition. Meanwhile, she has been "boxed in" along the north wall of the Toronto turning basin, with SILVERDALE in winter quarters on her outboard port side. CONGAR and CONDARRELL lie off her bow, on the west wall of the basin, while SEAWAY QUEEN and WHEAT KING, on the east wall, are close by her stern. It is evident that CONALLISON will not be going anywhere until at least next spring.
Earlier in the year, we commented upon the sale of the Branch Lines tankers to a new group of Quebec interests. Since September 23, 1982, all of the fleet's vessels have been operated by Societe Sofati Soconav. Of course, as previously reported, all of the tankers have taken on new names, and the fleet has been augmented by the commissioning of its newest ship, the Davie-built L'ERABLE NO. 1. During the month of November, that tanker made what is believed to have been the only backwards passage down through Lock 2 of the Welland Canal in recent years, if ever. The tanker was upbound above the lock when she received a change in orders, being told to head back down to Lake Ontario. The Seaway Authority requested that L'ERABLE NO. 1 proceed on up the canal and turn in the basin on the long level, but her master asked for and, somewhat surprisingly, received permission to back down through Lock 2. We must assume that she turned above Lock 1 before attempting to negotiate that lock. Also of interest is the fact that L'ERABLE NO. 1 made her maiden arrival at Toronto on the evening of November 24.
KANGUK, the former HUDSON VENTURE, which is now owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, is reported to have made only one trip to the Arctic during 1982. She was damaged in a grounding at the entrance to the Povungnituk River in the far north on August 5 and has since remained idle at the Versatile Vickers drydock at Montreal.
At long last, the former steam tug CHRIS M., now the three-masted fore-and-aft schooner EMPIRE SANDY (having reverted to her original name), has moved around Toronto Harbour under her own power, albeit motor rather than sail. For more years than many harbour observers care to remember, Norman Rogers of Toronto's Algonquin Island, the owner of the excursion boat WAYWARD PRINCESS, has been tinkering around with the old tug, first intending to operate her as a diesel tug and then settling on converting her to a sailing vessel for use in the Caribbean. Earlier this year, her very tall masts and topmasts were stepped, and since then her booms and rigging have been added. On November 16, she went out into the bay and then onto Lake Ontario for trials. It had been hoped that she could get to salt water before freeze-up but Rogers, who has spent more than $750,000 on EMPIRE SANDY so far, still needs some $150,000 more to finish the job, and it is unlikely that EMPIRE SANDY will head for warmer climes this autumn. Nevertheless, it does now seem just possible that the tug/sailing vessel might eventually operate.
Last month, we reported on the conversion of the former Ile-aux-Grues (St. Lawrence River) ferry LA. MARJOLAINE to a bar and restaurant for use in the area below the Cote Ste. Catherine Lock in the Seaway. We now have additional details. During the autumn of 1980, LA MARJOLAINE was sold to Shelso Enterprises Ltd. of Cote Ste. Catherine. Her engines were removed and, on November 7, 1981, three tugs towed her from Louiseville, Quebec, to her new home. She was converted for use in her new role during the spring of 1982.
Electrical contractor Hank Van Aspert, who now operates the former tug and party boat QUEEN CITY as the "Tugboat Restaurant" on the Windsor waterfront, is finding that his "hobby" has become a trifle expensive. He had to pay a substantial sum of money to convert QUEEN CITY for her new duties and must pay dock rental to Canadian National Railways for mooring the boat there. In addition to being liable for payment of city and business taxes, he is now embroiled in a dispute with the Windsor Harbour Commission over a $3,400 account for dockage. He has been granted a delay on a threatened seizure of QUEEN CITY for non-payment while the matter is argued.
The Huron Cement motorvessel PAUL H. TOWNSEND made her first ever trip up the Menominee River at Milwaukee on October 19. She proceeded up the river as far as 26th Street, the purpose of her trip being to load the Huron steamer E. M. FORD with storage cement. The FORD has been laid up there since the spring and will be moved to the Huron dock for unloading during December. The cargo was handled in this matter because TOWNSEND is unable to use the company's dock at Milwaukee.
Two additional ferries have been added to the fleet at Kingston. SAGUENAY and CHARLEVOIX, two end-loaders, arrived at Kingston during the autumn and are apparently being held as spare boats for the various ferry routes in the area, namely the Wolfe Island and Amherst Island services and the short run between Glenora and Adolphustown. One interesting point, however, is that the Amherst Island and Millhaven docks are built for side-loading rather than end-loading boats'. The two "new" boats have not yet been renamed and there is no indication of when they might be used or altered for use. This is not the first time that second-hand ferries have been brought to Kingston for standby duty, previous such entries having been singularly unsuccessful. CHARLEVOIX (C.313948), 163.1 x 37.1 x 12.9, 535 Gross, 355 Net, was built in 1962 at St-Laurent, I.O., Quebec. She was once owned by Gulf Ports Steamship Company Ltd., Montreal. SAGUENAY (C.310478), 133.1 x 37.1 x 12.9, 429 Gross and 253 Net, was built in 1958 at Lauzon and was owned by the Orleans Steamship Company Ltd., Montreal. Both ferries were latterly owned by the Dingwall Shipping Company Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In the November issue, we mentioned that ATLANTIC SUPERIOR, which stranded in the upper St. Lawrence River, just east of the Ivy Lea Bridge, on September 29, was refloated the following day. At the time we penned that item, we were unaware that the refloating of the self-unloader had taken a rather longer period of time. The tugs ROBINSON BAY, CHRISTINE E. and DANIEL McALLISTER rallied to the scene but were unable to free the vessel. Accordingly, the McAllister lightering barge MAPLEHEATH was summoned to assist and she took 2,000 metric tonnes of grain out of ATLANTIC SUPERIOR. The grounded ship was finally freed on the morning of October 1st.
The Moore-McCormack Lines salt-water freighter MORMACLYNX, which was lengthened during the summer at the American Shipbuilding Company yard at Lorain, Ohio, was out for trials on Lake Erie on October 27. She was scheduled to leave the lakes shortly thereafter, but her departure was delayed somewhat. It was, of course, necessary to complete the work in time for MORMACLYNX to leave the lakes before the closure of the canals for the winter months.
Closing dates have been announced for the various Great Lakes canals. The U.S. canal at Sault Ste. Marie will close officially on December 15 but the actual closing date will be announced later, depending upon demand for the locks and weather conditions. The St. Lawrence Seaway is expected to close on December 15, while the Welland Canal will be shut down at 1:00 a.m. on December 2k. The Canadian lock at Sault Ste. Marie closed at 11:00 p.m. on November 26.
A new vessel appearing in eastern Canada during 1982 is HANCOCK TRADER, owned by Baffin Enterprises Ltd. of Frobisher Bay. A motorship of only 300 Gross Tons, she was built in 1967. Based at Oshawa, she was registered at Georgetown, Cayman Islands, when she made her first Seaway trip in April. Now registered at Toronto, HANCOCK TRADER has since made two trips to Frobisher Bay. She arrived back at Oshawa on October 10 after her second trip to the north, and was still at the Lake Ontario port in November. Her previous history is not known, but she carried at least one previous name.
Until 1974, the United States Steel lake fleet still contained a number of active veteran steamers that had served the Corporation ever since their building shortly after the turn of the century. These elderly ore carriers had served their owners well but were becoming tired after years of hard use. At the close of the 1974 season, most of them were retired, never again to turn a wheel. Over the years since then, they gradually made their way either into non-transportation use or to scrapyards, some on the lakes, and others far away across the North Atlantic. One, however, although sold for scrap, lingered a while longer before falling victim to the wrecking torch. WILLIAM B. SCHILLER, which had been built in 1910, was one of numerous tinstackers sold to the Hyman-Michaels Company for dismantling at the American Lakehead. But, unlike her companions, she was not cut up immediately but lay idle at Duluth, awaiting her fate. Now, at last, she has finally been moved to the company's scrapyard, and we understand that work has begun on dismantling the steamer. Of all of the SCHILLER's many near-sisters built for the "Steel Trust" prior to World War One, only one remains in active service on the Great Lakes; MERLE M. McCURDY of 1910, (a) WILLIAM B. DICKSON (69), is still operating for Kinsman Lines. Two others are serving as storage barges.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.