Jon Crispin's Notebook

Lock 12, Erie Canal / “Ward’s Island” Derrick Boat Decomissioned (EDITED)

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I got a call yesterday from my friend and sometimes patron Craig Williams.  Craig worked at the New York State Museum and was responsible for getting me access to the Willard Suitcases, as well as work photographing the panels and artifacts from the World Trade Center 9-11 attack, and a ton of other interesting photography projects.

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Craig has been really concerned with a plan that the NY State Canal Corporation has to scrap some historically important canal boats and sink them off the coast of Long Island to creat artificial reefs.  He asked me to meet him at Lock 12 in Tribe’s Hill, NY and take a few photos of one of the boats as it made its way Eastward.

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Above is the derrick boat “Ward’s Island” which is being pushed from Lyons, NY  through the Erie Canal System and down the Hudson to be sunk off the coast of Long Island.

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Craig and fellow supporters of Canal history are waging a bit of a protest in regards to the State’s decision to move ahead with this plan.  On the left is Will Van Dorp who has a great wordpress site having to do with shipping.  Here is a link that talks about the Ward’s Island.  Interestingly enough, the boat was commissioned by the NY State office of Mental Hygiene in 1929 to ferry cars and people from Manhattan to the Ward’s Island asylum.

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After about 10 years downstate, she was sent up to the Canal to begin life as a derrick boat, and was only decomissioned last year.  Here she is in the lock.  Note that this is the stern; she is being pushed backwards through the Canal.

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Here’s a detail of the stern.  She was sitting really high in the water as much of the weight was stripped out before the beginning of the trip.

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It was an incredibly beautiful day at the Lock.  I have felt for a long time that the Canal is a very underutilized feature of New York State.  Destroying a part of its history is probably not a good way to attract positive attention to it.

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Here’s the tug Lucy H pushing her towards Amsterdam.

The next boat scheduled for scrap is the tug “Urger” (Edit; Urger is not meant for scrap.   As of now the State wants to take it out of the water, beach it, and make it into a display at Lock E13. / Also, Will Van Dorp contacted me with a few more links about the Ward’s Island.  Here and here).  Here is a link to the Urger.  Let’s hope it is not too late to save her.

Brockport, NY

Posted in Advertising, Architecture, Bridges, Buildings, Friends, Travel, Water by joncrispin on 14/09/2012

I’m in Brockport shooting a job for MJ Herson and the college.  Peter Carroll is here too and he and I had a nice meal at a local pub.  It is an interesting little town on the Erie Canal and the people here are very nice.

We didn’t go into Barber’s but they had great neon.

Erie Canal Lock 8

Posted in Architecture, Bridges, Landscape, Rivers, Water by joncrispin on 24/09/2011

I was photographing some of the damage to Lock 8 on the Erie Canal on Wednesday.  It is pretty impressive, and I hope to get back soon to do some of the other locks.  They are magnificent structures.

The river is still very muddy from the flooding and the clean-up will take some time.

Day Peckinpaugh / Erie Canal

Posted in History, Landscape, People, Ships, Travel, Water by joncrispin on 22/02/2011

I was mostly crazed yesterday.  Sometime over the weekend, I either lost, misplaced, or had stolen some important mail.  I was preoccupied by it most of the day.  So much so that at about 2 o’clock I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep.  For some reason, I decided to mess around with my web site instead.  I had been wanting to update it fore a while, especially the projects page.

Several years ago, the New York State Museum rescued the Day Peckinpaugh from imminent scrapping.  It was in Erie, PA, and by some miracle Craig Williams got a hold of it just before its demise.  Most amazing was that he found someone who had actually worked on the ship while it was still an active hauler, and who knew his way around the engines.  So they fired them up and started the journey from Erie to Waterford, NY.

The Peckinpaugh was built in 1921 and when it was retired in 1994, it was the last working freighter on the Erie Canal.  I think I remember hearing that it was hauling concrete at that time.

I got the chance to be on her for much of the trip across New York State on the canal.  It was late October / early November and the weather could not have been better.  A really interesting group of people too.

 

John Callaghan was the skipper, and you can see by the concentration on his face that it was an intense job for him and his crew.  The ship travelled mostly by her own power, but on occasion tug boats came in to help out.

So, at the end of the day, I still hadn’t found the mail, but at least I felt good about getting something productive done.  To see more from the trip, check out the “projects” page of my main website (joncrispin.com) by clicking the link on the right (Jon’s main site).

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