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 Post subject: [Marine Preservation] Steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:45 am
Posts: 1127
Location: Beaumont, Texas
This is off-topic, but can anyone provide any sort of details or history on the steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA. It is currently laid up near a power plant in Milwaukee. I have recieved the following information from it's new owner; and can share some pictures as well. Thank you in advance.

Quote:
I may have emailed about this before; perhaps we are getting desperate, but we've bought this little steamer for the museum organization and have NO clue at all to it's identity.

Her papers say 1916 for a build date but now I learn that that is false. Fabricated info in order to get a state title. She had no name on her and was supposedly pulled out of a quarry down in Illinois. Her name SPIRIT OF ALGOMA was given in recent years (1990's?) due to the rumor she was a logging tug and to pay tribute to the logging operations of Algoma, WI at one time (that comes right from the guy who named her).

Other rumors (coming from a decent source) say she used to work the Fox River (pulp trade maybe?) and had a "mini G-tug" cabin on her. Her steel house was later removed (all rotted out) and the guy couldn't weld, so build this plywood junker instead, which again, is now all rotted out.

Her steam engine (an honest to goodness little triple and appears quite old too) is in excellent shape and was running in the 1990's. Her riveted hull is pretty well shot and she's been totally sister-plated (my guess is all new decks too at one point). Even that hull now, from amidships forward is shot.

That is all we've got to go on. Very curious as to this vessel's origin, engine history, former names, ownership, trade - ANYTHING! Right now, with NO information and a junk hull, we're considering removing the machinery and scrapping the rest if we do not learn she is worth of preservation.

If anyone has any tips of knows of someone who may know something, please, get in touch with me.


-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project


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 Post subject: Re: [Marine Preservation] Steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 11:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:05 am
Posts: 1140
Location: San Francisco
The Official Number is the surest way to identify a commercial vessel in the United States.

It is a five or six digit number carved into the main deck beam of the vessel. then followed by XXX net tons

Then you go to anaritime library which will have a run of the Merchant Vessels of the United States books.

it is hard of the eyes but you have to go through the whole alphabet in STEAM to find a name. With that you go forward or back to uncover other names, owners when last in documentation etc.

good Luck!

Ted Miles


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 Post subject: Re: [Marine Preservation] Steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:45 am
Posts: 1127
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Hi Ted;

I forwarded your comment RE: where to find the official number to them; they replied:

Quote:
Right we know that much. There's nothing there, believe me.


Others have suggested checking with Coast Guard; to which they replied:

Quote:
The tug is OLD. We know this. The old timers in the area know of her working in the Fox River area as a real tug. Many vessels in those type of trades are never documented. This is no surprise. It may be that her history is quite well documented actually - however, we are missing a major link and just cannot find her story.


Nobody on any of the boards I have shared it with have responded so far; a steam engine expert in the Milwaukee area was no help either. I Googled the internet with no luck either. If it is well documented; that information has been kept well hidden.

-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project


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 Post subject: Re: [Marine Preservation] Steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:52 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1881
A friend at Steamboats.org suggests that you try looking in Boatnerd.com, that is the foremost Great Lakes website and they have a tremendous amount of information, including a message board.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: [Marine Preservation] Steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:30 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 am
Posts: 746
Location: Michigan
I saw the post on boat nerd ---- stupid question, but I take it there is NOTHING on the triple itself to suggest where the engine was built? A bit more roundabout, but possible, if you know where to look. While she may not have a gauge plate (dead-give-away), it IS possible that some of her gauges, if their marked (say, prennial favorite "Ashcroft") might give some hint as well. From there, get a hold of Bowling Green --- I'm willing to help where I can, but the sense I have is that the owner may not know all the sources out there, or worse, if it doesn't fit his time frame, will scrap the stuff altogether.

It just may take some more effort on the owner's part, which I get some sense that he's not truly willing to do: I mean one of the finest documentation sites on the Great Lakes is "up the road" in Manitowoc, at Wisconsin Maritime Museum, for pete's sake, and I've always found them VERY helpful!

TJ Gaffney


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 Post subject: Re: [Marine Preservation] Steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 11:01 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:04 am
Posts: 273
Location: Lawrence, Mass.
Trust me, the owner is well aware of the potential sources, but so far no luck with any of them. The Sprit of Algoma's new owner is the Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation, the same folks who acquired the steam G-tug Q.A. Gillmore (aka Reiss) last year, and attempted to save the cement carrier Lewis G. Harriman in 2003. The Spirit will need to leave its current location this summer, but it's small enough to be moved by truck so the time frame isn't so much of a factor in determining the boat's fate. What is more of an issue is the condition of the hull. If it's beyond restoration, the boat could be used as a static shoreside display, if its authentic historical appearance can be determined. However, we would prefer to utilize the machinery in a working boat if possible.


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 Post subject: Re: [Marine Preservation] Steam tug SPIRIT OF ALGOMA
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:40 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, Texas
rjenkins wrote:
Trust me, the owner is well aware of the potential sources, but so far no luck with any of them. The Sprit of Algoma's new owner is the Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation, the same folks who acquired the steam G-tug Q.A. Gillmore (aka Reiss) last year, and attempted to save the cement carrier Lewis G. Harriman in 2003. The Spirit will need to leave its current location this summer, but it's small enough to be moved by truck so the time frame isn't so much of a factor in determining the boat's fate. What is more of an issue is the condition of the hull. If it's beyond restoration, the boat could be used as a static shoreside display, if its authentic historical appearance can be determined. However, we would prefer to utilize the machinery in a working boat if possible.


Ditto to everything Richard said; it's purchase by the Foundation has not been officially announced; so I did not want to say much more than I did.

My contact from the museum has been a big help with my Surviving World Steamship CD-ROM, and has given me a copy of Know Your Ships, the book listed on boatnerds.com. He is quite well versed on nautical matters; but has had no luck tracking down the history of this particular vessel.

-James Hefner
Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project


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