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1956-and Holy Cow!

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
1956-and Holy Cow!
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, February 22, 2020 8:31 AM

Here's another trip down my memory lane:

      It's probably about Eight a.m. in Buffalo right now. We've finished Breakfast and Grandma is hurrying along with the chores with me helping. We have to catch the Eight Forty Five "N.F.T " Niagara Bus. 

    I don't know why. It doesn't go anywhere I am familiar with. It's a nice day though and maybe we'll go by a car dealer so I'll be able to see the New cars that came out in September! Nope, just Department stores. The last stop is coming up. It's the " Port" stop . The Port stop? What is Grandma up to now?

   We walk around this big building and there is a surprise if I ever saw one. Remember I am just now going to be 13 If I remember right. There's one of the biggest, prettiest ships I've ever laid eyes on!

   I didn't know it then, but at 225" the " Canadiana " was a "small" ship. She was classified as a Passenger only Ferry. She traveled, it turns out, between Buffalo N.Y. and Crystal Beach, Ontario every summer season. She had two decks whose rails helped define her sheer. She was a Pretty little Steamship all in White and Polished Brass and Wood.

   She would on some weekends go to Ontario and stay over from Friday night till Sunday evening then come back to Buffalo, N.Y. This is the trip Grandma had Booked. She had 12 " luxury " cabins for this purpose. At least that's what they called them back then. Today they would be spartan. 

 She looked like she had been designed as a Paddle steamer with her decks flaring out from midship they way they did. But Nope , she was a Screw driven steamer. We boarded and went to the cabin wich had two bedrooms, a bath room and A sitting area. 

     Three whole windows. She had a regular small dining room for these passengers and the rest used the snack bar on the last covered deck topside. Six neatly covered Life boats. Single stack and prominent wheelhouse. Here comes the good part though. At least for me it was. Do any of you know what a " Angling Double Compound Steam Engine" is?

     I didn't either until we got aboard. They had this uptake area that had a skylight on top. It was open all the way down to the Engine Room lower flat. The uptake on decks one and two were framed in glass like monstrous windows, letting you see the heart of this pretty little steamer.

 And heart it was! Polished brass and steel as far as the eye could see down in there. red( Bright) railings and See through deck walks let you see all this fascinating stuff that was stuffed in the middle of this ship.

   When she got underway you would've had to pull me away with a jack-hammer from those uptake windows. I drank in every little detail of that space till I had to either eat or use the rest room. Wow, look at all that Metal move and look at the size of those cylinders and that prop shaft. Jeez,  the connecting rods were the size of Paul Bunyan!

   Little spurts of steam here and there( pressure rellief valves ) and valves and valve wheels everywhere. green ones, red ones ,yellow ones and yes, even grey ones. All sizes too. The main steam control wheel was the only chrome one down there and it was big enough, It looked like It would not be moved except by a guy built like a Football Player!

   Turns out the guy was no bigger than my Dad. Now the ship moved in reverse by these two guys moving a big lever on a piece of machinery that looked like a John Deere transmission casing. She moved forward by them moving this lever in the opposite direction.Well, now you have gotten my view on a trip across Lake Erie on one of the most beloved Steamers of her time.I will never forgot her either!

   Funny thing these voyages. I took three all total and cannot remember what the lake looked like. I don't believe I even went out on deck! With my fascination with Machinery that's the highlight of the voyages for me. Sadly, The Canadiana is just that now, A Memory. But, a most pleasant one. 

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:44 AM
Another enjoyable read thank you for sharing.
I’ve been on a ship that’s been out on the water unfortunately. Unless you count the barge I rode on in Ohio a long time ago that was pulled by mules. I have been on the freighter Col. James M. Schoonmaker in Toledo Ohio and the Star of India in San Diego. The Star of India was one of the highlights of my childhood and the tour guide was probably the best part. For anyone that’s seen Jaws the tour guide reminded me of Robert Shaw’s character.  

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, February 23, 2020 12:03 PM

Oh My;

     You must've gone when the tour guide was just that. I remember someone else telling me that the one they had some years back reminded them of "Quince" of Jaws fame .

     Interesting, isn't it that you can go somewhere and run across a personage like that. I went on a tour in the late sixties of a train Museum in Great Britian and the Docent/Tourguide reminded me of what I had imagined "Casey Jones" to look like

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Monday, February 24, 2020 11:25 AM
The tour guide was the highlight of my trip to California. The only other thing that came close was seeing a German 88mm Flak gun at a museum. Went to the wild animal park in San Diego, Indy Car race and the La Brea Tar Pits, and he’s what still sticks out in my memory of that vacation.
I for the life of me can’t remember the name for it not good with nautical terms. But he had me and other visitors turn the wheel thing on the deck (Can’t recall the name right now) and then he started singing “Oh a snickers bar wouldn’t do us any harm.” Along with a few other lines that been lost in my memory.
Thanks for making this post as you’ve reminded me of that vacation and brought up a lot of good memories that I haven’t thought about in years.


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