Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today in Erie History- Forty Years Ago

March 29, 1967- Litton Industries, based in Beverly Hills, California, announces that Erie has beat out Lorain, Ohio for its proposed ultramodern Great Lakes shipyard capable of building 1000 foot long vessels. This yard will ultimately turn out the STEWART J. CORT and PRESQUE ISLE. Although Litton's Erie Marine yard only lasts until the mid 1970s, after which the yard will lay dormant for the next decade, their yard withstands many changes on Erie's bayfront over the coming years and remains a shipyard despite many proposals to turn it into a marine museum and home for the Brig NIAGARA. The Port Authority property, beginning in the late 1980s, is home to the Jonathan Corporation, Erie Marine Enterprises, and Metro Machine. Currently the yard hosts Erie Shipbuilding, the first post-Litton tenant to actually bring shipbuilding back to Erie.

Click here to read the Erie Daily Times article from March 29, 1967, about Litton's announcement. (PDF- 3.5 MB).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Calcite's Season Opens

The port of Calcite, Michigan's ON Minerals loading dock will open April 1 with the arrival of the AMERICAN REPUBLIC to load. The dock at Calcite ships the majority of the stone brought to the port of Erie, so Erie will likely be due for a load any time now.

Captain Dan Williams

I found the following obituary in yesterday's Erie paper:

“Captain Dan” Dan Williams, 86, who piloted the great lakes for over 30 years, died on Saturday at his home in Largo, Florida. He fought a courageous battle with cancer and left this life comforted by the presence of all five of his children. He was born on May 1, 1923 in Bloomington, Illinois and lived for many years in the Erie, Pennsylvania area. He was a veteran of the Navy and the Merchant Marine and was a Captain on the Great Lakes with Erie Sand & Gravel until his retirement. Captain Dan was featured in a newspaper article in the Erie Times-News. Dan was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years Millie, in 2001. He is survived by three daughters, Linda Holt (Sireno) and Brenda Trent (Mike) of Largo, and Mary Messenkopf of St Petersburg and two sons; Freddie Williams, with whom he resided, and Patrick Williams and his wife Tina of Girard, Pa. He leaves a legacy of love to his eight grandchildren; Joshua Parker, Dani Palumbo (Brian), Carly Trent, Alex Holmes, Derian Messenkopf and Zachary, Kali and Tessa Williams and his great-grandchildren, Trent and Kayden Palumbo and Jordan Parker. The Williams family is grateful to Lisa Glennon for her loving-kindness and care of our father in the last year of his life. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, March 29th, at 3:00 pm at A Life Tribute, 716 Seminole Blvd in Largo and will be followed by a reception at the home of Mike and Brenda Trent, 1888 Paradise Lane in Largo. A private memorial will be held in Pennsylvania to commemorate Captain Dan’s last wishes. The family asks that donations be made to the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, and that, in lieu of flowers, you would spend a day with someone you love.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

PRESQUE ISLE (Finally) Departs

After nearly two days of delays due to weather and last minute fitout delays, the PRESQUE ISLE departed Erie at around 2:00 this afternoon, bound for Two Harbors.

Not Yet Departed

PRESQUE ISLE is once again fogged-in at the Mounfort Terminal. No ETD at this time.

PRESQUE ISLE at the Mounfort Terminal this morning.


PRESQUE ISLE just called Sarnia Traffic and informed them that they are making plans to get underway from layup at Erie in one hour, bound for Two Harbors.

PRESQUE ISLE due to depart this morning

The PRESQUE ISLE did not get underway as planned yesterday; rather, delays due to final fit-out preparations and a thick fog that rolled in around 2:00 p.m. kept the vessel at dock overnight. Her new ETD is sometime around 8:00 a.m. today. The PRESQUE ISLE will be bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota for a cargo of iron ore when she departs.

Friday, March 23, 2007

PRESQUE ISLE Sets Sail Saturday

Fitout is running slightly behind schedule for the ITB PRESQUE ISLE and the unit is now expected to sail from the Mounfort Terminal sometime between 8:00 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CLARKE Departs

The PHILIP R. CLARKE departed Erie today at 5:00 p.m. bound for Sandusky on her first trip of the season. After spending the morning undergoing final preparations, the CLARKE's crew winched her forward at 11:30 to ballast, because the water near the stern where she had been was too shallow for the vessel to ballast. The CLARKE finally got underway at 5:00, saluting fleetmate PRESQUE ISLE and onlookers on the South Pier on her way out to begin a new season.

CLARKE at her layup dock at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Stern view.

Shifting forward to ballast at 11:30 a.m.

Passing the PRESQUE ISLE on its way outbound, 5:00 p.m.

Entering the channel

Final approach to the Erie channel.

Chief Engineer John Bellmore (Left) and another Clarke engineer enjoy the view as the vessel departs.



For more photos of the CLARKE taken today, visit my Webshots album.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CLARKE Departure Update

PHILIP R. CLARKE is still scheduled to depart tomorrow, March 21, the first full day of spring. However, at this time there is no ETD pending completion of some last minute repairs. The CLARKE is to depart Erie for Sandusky to load coal at the Norfolk Southern coal dock for Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Ironically, this is the same trip that was made by her sistership, CASON J. CALLAWAY, which wintered in Erie last year, on the CALLAWAY's first trip of the 2006 season, when she departed on March 21, 2006. Hopefully, however, unlike the CALLAWAY, the CLARKE will depart during daylight hours.

Meanwhile, work continues on the PRESQUE ISLE in preparation for her to sail on Friday for Two Harbors.


CLARKE at dock on Tuesday at noon.

PRESQUE ISLE at dock Tuesday.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Erie Shipbuilding Update

I have confirmation that the six additional barges Erie Shipbuilding is going to be building are the six deck barges for the same firm as the scow they are building now. The contract is worth $5 million.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Looking Ahead

The new shipping season is rapidly approaching. The CLARKE is due to depart Wednesday morning and the PRESQUE ISLE is due to depart Friday. Looking ahead, mid-April should provide the J.S.St. JOHN's first trip and the first arrival of Erie's 2007 shipping season.

PHILIP R. CLARKE at her layup dock on March 6.

PRESQUE ISLE at her layup dock on March 13.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ice Melts

As Spring approaches the weather has begun to warm, and the ice on Presque Isle bay starts to melt, I'd like to remind my readers: Stay off of the ice. In the past two days, USCG Station Erie has issued two "pon-pon" alerts for possible persons in the water. Yesterday, an alert for possible persons in the water near Cherry Street turned out to be a false alarm. Today a report was received of two children in the water in the vicinity of Lawrence Park. The alarm was listed as assisted about 30 minutes after being issued at 6:41 p.m. I'm not sure how it turned out, but I want to remind readers to stay off the ice because it is becoming very dangerous.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Erie Harbor mentioned in District 9 USCG Notmar

The proposed 89-foot pedestrian bridge over the West Canal Basin that will connect the new Convention Center and Hotel being built on Erie's bayfront are now open for public comments on this week's Notice to Mariners (NOTMAR) issued by the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District. The NOTMAR can be accessed online at Public comments will be accepted through April 7th.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sailing Dates

The following sailing dates for Erie's layup fleet are tentative and may change:

PHILIP R. CLARKE is due out on Wednesday, March 21, and will likely do a few coal runs before the Soo Locks open and she makes her way to Two Harbors, MN's DMIR ore dock late on the morning of the 28th to load taconite pellets.

PRESQUE ISLE is due out on the 23rd and is due in Two Harbors on March 26 to load taconite.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Erie Shipbuilding Media Mention

Erie Shipbuilding LLC is mentioned in the Ed Mathews column in today's Erie Times-News. The mention is about the 245-foot scow, Hull 101, that the yard is building. It also mentions that the company has contracts for six more barges. I'm guessing these are the $1,000,000 deck barges for the same firm as the scow, but I'm not sure. I'll have to find out.

Hull 101
Hull 101 under construction at Erie Shipbuilding.

Emmett J. Carey

I almost forgot to mention this obituary from last Sunday's paper:

Emmett J. Carey, age 82, a resident of Erie died peacefully Saturday, March 3, 2007 following a brief illness. He was born in Erie on July 24, 1924, the son of the late John and Marion Bard Carey. Emmett was a 1942 graduate of Academy High School and served with the U.S. Army during WW II. He was President of Erie Builders Concrete Co. until retiring to Port St. Lucie, Fla. where he enjoyed working part-time at the Martin County Golf Course. He was a board member of Mutual Savings & Loan and a past member of the Kahkwa Club, Aviation Club, Erie Maennerchoir Club, and the East Erie Turners. Besides his parents, Emmett was preceded in death by a daughter, Marla J. Carey and a brother James Carey. Emmett is survived by his wife Mary McEnery Carey; a son, Richard J. Carey and his wife Maureen Barber-Carey and a daughter, Sheila A. Layden and her husband Rich, all of Erie. He is the brother of Richard C. Carey and his wife Elaine of Erie and the grandfather of Shelby Scott, Ryan Carey, and Andrea Layden. Friends are invited to call at the John J. Quinn Funeral Home, West 9th & Liberty St. Monday afternoon from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and are invited to attend Funeral Services there Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Private burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute, 100 barber Pl., Erie, PA 16507 or to a charity of one’s choice. Sign the guestbook at

Mr. Carey is mentioned here because he is the namesake of a sand dredge formerly based out of Erie. The 1948-built, 112 foot long sand dredge was built in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1948, as BEATRICE OTTINGER. It was converted to a sand dredge and lengthened to 112 feet, from its original length of 68 feet, in the winter of 1952-53. After being purchased by National Sand and Gravel of Lorain, Ohio in 1963, the dredge was given the name JAMES B. LYONS. Reportedly under this name she capsided 8 miles northwest of Lorain on May 2, 1965. No lives were lost and the LYONS was towed to Lorain for repairs. In 1988, Presque Isle Sand & Gravel of Erie purchased the vessel and renamed it EMMETT J. CAREY, and ownership of the vessel changed hands to Osborne Materials of Fairport Harbor, Ohio, in 1990. The CAREY still retains this name, and also Erie as its hailing port, and has not run in several years.

Emmett J. Carey at Fairport Harbor, October 7, 2006.
EMMETT J. CAREY at Fairport Harbor, October 7, 2006.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Fit Out Begins

The aft-end crew on the PHILIP R. CLARKE has reported to the vessel, and they are beginning to fit out. The CLARKE should be ready to sail in about two weeks.

The PRESQUE ISLE's crew reports to her next week, and she'll sail a week later.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Final Month of Layup

The final push is on as contractors prepare vessels for departure from winter layup. The after-end crew is soon to report back to the PHILIP R. CLARKE to begin fitting her out to sail, and she should be departing sometime around the 20th. Although the CLARKE had been scheduled for her five-year survey this winter, she, along with fleetmate CASON J. CALLAWAY was granted a one-year extension and will go in for survey next winter.

Meanwhile work continues on the PRESQUE ISLE in preparation for her to sail a couple of days before the Soo Locks open on March 25.