History of Chicago, A. T. Andreas, 1884
Ship building, according to Captain Peter F. Flood, who arrived from Oswego in June, 1835, commenced in Chicago during that year. The Clarissa was begun in the spring of 1835, by Nelson R. Norton, but was not completed, or launched, until May 18, 1836. The Detroit, Captain John Crawford, was built at Milwaukee in 1836-37 for the Chicago trade, at a cost of $50,000. This vessel was lost off Kenosha in November, 1837, after only six months’ service. About this time (1836) an association of the then young, energetic and enterprising citizens was formed, and they commenced the building of the steamer James Allen. It was completed in 1838, Captain C. H. Case having charge of its construction. The boat was built for a company comprising George W. Dole and J. H. Kinzie. Captain Pickering was master of the steamer. The ship-yard was on “Goose Island.” The Allen was built to be fast, and to run across Lake Michigan from St. Joseph to Chicago, in connection with the stage and mail line. Her hull was narrow and sharp in form, arid light in material. Two powerful, low pressure, horizontal engines were put on the guards, on the main deck. The boilers were small, and, on trial, proved to be insufficient. When the Jim Allen had steam up and started on her trial trip for St. Joseph, she went out of Chicago at a speed that pleased, as well as astonished, her owner and designer. The first fourteen miles were run inside of an hour. Then the engines began to “slow up ” and the voyage took about ten hours. Every effort was made to keep up the supply of steam to the two large engines, but the result was the same as experienced during the outward trip. To use the expression of her commander, she would run the first thirty minutes “like a skeered dog,” then her speed would gradally slacken to about seven miles an hour, and nothing could coax her to do any better. For two seasons, notwithstanding the utmost exertions taken, there was no improvement in the Allen’s average rate of speed, and she was then sold and taken to the lower lakes.
The George W. Dole was also built by Captain Case, soon after the completion of the James Allen, and the two run together over the St. Joseph and Michigan City route. The former was sunk at Buffalo, in 1856, having previously been changed into a sailing vessel. These were the first and only steamers built in Chicago previous to 1842. Captain Case afterward went to St. Louis.
Among the early ship chandlers were Hugunin & Pierce, Foster & Robb and Dodge & Tucker. George F. Foster came to Chicago in July, 1837, and with his nephew, George A. Robb, opened a sail loft in the attic of a two and-a-half-story building on North Water Street. In the spring of 1839 they bought out the old firm of Hugunin & Pierce, ship chandlers and grocers, and established the first sail-making house in the West. His sons still continue in the same business.
William Avery, who built the steamboat Chicago arrived at Chicago, February 25, 1837. He was a prominent steamboat builder from 1837 up to the time of his death in 1840.
In 1842 Captain James Averell established a shipyard, on the North Side, just below Rush-street bridge,1 and very soon after Thomas Lamb commenced business near the same place. In July of that year the Independence, the first propeller built on Lake Michigan, and the third one ever run on the lake, was launched from this ship-yard. She was a large vessel for those days, being of two hundred and sixty-two tons burden. Abaft the cabin in the ” after-run ” was placed an engine with which to run a propeller wheel, in case of head winds. The Independence was for years a successful sailing vessel, and it is claimed that she was the first steam barge of the lakes. She was wrecked on Lake Superior in 1853. In 1845-46 Captain Averill built the brigantine S. F. Gale for George F. Foster. He also constructed many other vessels, and of large size for those days. Among them were the schooner Maria Hilliard, the brigs Sultan, Minnesota, and Mary, the barque Utica and the scow Ark, one of the first, if not the pioneer craft of that character ever constructed to navigate Lake Michigan.
Until 1841 the steam marine held sway over the lakes, and steamboats were the favorites. The old North America, Commodore Perry, Illinois and Michigan, are well remembered. The great line between Buffalo and Chicago, with such masters as Captains Blake and Appleby, served to sustain the reputation of that kind of craft for speed and safety. “It was sometimes positively thrilling,” says Levi Bishop, “to see old Captain Blake on the upper deck in a storm, as he maintained his perfect self-possession and directed the ship beneath him. The owner of the Illinois was a well known citizen. He was popularly known as the ‘Commodore of the Lakes.’ He was a Whig of the Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John J. Crittenden school. He was a patriotic citizen, and, as expressing his sentiments and the true spirit of the State and National government, he placed at the masthead of the Illinois, a steamer nearly or quite forty feet long, with the words State Sovereignty and National Union inscribed upon it in large and conspicuous letters. That old steamboat and the national sentiment were the pride of Oliver Newberry, as well as the pride and boast of all beholders.”
The fall of 1841 was marked by a series of obstacles and disasters in communicating with the lower lake ports, and public opinion commenced, especially to be set against steamboat navigation. Many of the boats had already served their day, and their large and ungainly sidewheels were evidently too good marks for the heavy waves of the lakes to miss. The old steamers United States and Chesapeake and other ancient craft, on their way from Lake Erie to Chicago, were disabled more or less, and in August occurred the burning of the Erie.
Commencing with 1843, the steamboat had a serious competitor to contend propeller. The Vandalia, of Oswego, a sloop-rigged craft of one hundred and fifty tons was the first propeller to appear on Lake Erie, and the Independence, built in Chicago, was launched soon afterward. Within the next two years over twenty new propellers were placed upon the lakes; one, the A. Rosseter, coming from Chicago. This boat was wrecked on Lake Michigan in 1855.
The ship-yards of Chicago were now beginning to present unusual signs of activity. In 1845 there were constructed the schooners Maria Hilliard, J. Young Scammon,” and Ark; in 1846 the barque Utica, brig Ellen Parker and schooner N. C. Walton.* In 1847 eight schooners had been, or were being built, in Chicago, one brig and one propellor—the A. Rosseter—tonnage of 4,833. Nineteen schooners, one propeller and one brig, owned by Chicago people. The leading ship-builders at this time were Messrs. Jordan, Miller & Conners. The latter afterward formed a partnership with Riordan & Dunn, on the South Side, near Van Buren-street bridge.
The Congressional act for the erection of lighthouses was passed March 1, 1847, when $3,500 was appropriated for Chicago.
The year geievious Chicago had been changed from a port of delivery, to a»port of entry. In 1850 the district was divided so that Milwaukee also became a port of entry.
Chicago’s importance as a marine port was further recognized by Congress in an appropriation of $10,000 for the erection of a hospital, the act being passed in 1848. The Marine Hospital was built on the east side of Michigan Avenue, in the north part of Block 5, Lots 2, 3, 4, and 5, and the south ten feet of Lot 1. These grounds were sold to the Michigan Central Railroad Company, and the building was destroyed during the fire of 1871.
From 1850 the building of vessels at Chicago, and for the Chicago trade, and their arrivals and departures formed so large an element of her commerce that it is impossible to trace each craft from the stocks to the bottom of the lake, or to record each arrival and departure, as a noteworthy event. It is not only impossible but unnecessary, and only the most important steps in the growth of the lake marine will hereafter be noticed. In March, 1853, daily communication was established with Milwaukee by a line of boats, and in July two vessels of Ward’s line were put on. The opposition line started the steamer Garden City, August 1, and a few days later direct weekly communications were opened between Chicago and Sault Ste. Marie. The Garden City was wrecked on a sunken reef off St. Mary River, May19, 1854. Fortunately, all the passengers were saved. At this time Chicago had no life-boat, but was obliged to depend, in time of storm, when vessels were grounded on the bar and the lives of the crews in peril, upon such boats as steamers or propellers then in the harbor might have to send out. After the terrible storm of April 27, 1854, however, by which seven vessels were wrecked and seven lives lost, almost within sight of Chicago, it was urgently suggested by the Press of the city that the Government furnish a life-boat to the port. The harbor master, Captain Edward Kelly, immediately undertook the circulation of a petition for a boat. In October two life-boats were supplied. Two months previous to the time when they were obtained, Colonel Graham, in charge of the harbor improvements, had perfected his plan for the construction of a light-house. It was proposed to extend from the north pier head, crib work north and then west, in order to protect the light from the influence of storms and from contact with spars of vessels. Within this projection he proposed to build the light-house upon nine iron screw piles, eight of them forming an octagon thirty-three feet in diameter, with one in the center. The light-house was to be in the shape of a right prism, five feet above the water level. Above this it was to assume the form of a truncated pyramid, to the height of fifty-seven feet. Upon this a framework was to be erected supporting the watch-house and lantern, and giving seventy-three feet above the surface of the lake for the focal flame.
SHIP BUILDING has never been an extensive industry in Chicago, for the reason that owing to the high prices of labor and materials vessels could be more cheaply built elsewhere. There have been, however, a number of ship-yards more or less flourishing, and some very fine vessels have been built. The following are among the prominent firms engaged in the business from 1858 to 1871: Akhurst & Douglas, Doolittle & Miller, Miller & Hood, Miller Brothers, J. W. Banta, Miller, Frederickson & Burns, Orville Olcott, Fox & Howard and 0. B. Green.
The tug George B. McClellan (US No. 10213), named in honor of the future General, then the vice-president of the Illinois Central Railroad, was launched from the shipyard of Martin Green & Co., June 20, 1860.
The Union (US No. 25048), the largest tug in the harbor except the McQueen, was launched from the yard of Miller & Hood. She was built for Messrs. Redmond and John Prindiville, and blew up in 1862 in the lake near the entrance to the river, killing Thomas Daly, the captain, Thomas Boyd, the harbor master, and the fireman. Captain John Prindiville was on board of her but escaped unhurt. The tug J. Prindiville, one of the largest and most powerful tugs afloat, was built at the yard of Miller & Hood for Captains John and Redmond Prindiville, Captain Joseph Nicholson, and Mr. John Ebbert, and launched May 8, 1862. She was commanded by Captain Nicholson, and was employed in towing vessels between Lakes Erie and Huron; and also in wrecking during the summer and in the fall in rendering assistance to vessels in distress near this port. The propeller Lady Franklin (US No. 14827) was built at the yard of J. W. Banta for John T. & Edward M. Edwards, and was launched March 11, 1861.
A complete list of the vessels built at our shipyards prior to the great fire is now unattainable, but since 1873 the Board of Trade reports contain a list of the vessels annually built and documented at the port of Chicago. They show an average of about twelve vessels of various classes. It is more than probable that the average for the years prior to 1871 was larger than this.
Ship and Boat Yards
Doolittle & Miller (Andrew), North Banch near Kinzie Bridge (1855)
Jordan & Olcott, South Branch, between Harrison and Van Buren (1855)
George N. Halket, N end Wells st Bridge (1855)
Hewitt & Judd, North Branch Point (1855)
Doolittle & Olcott, 384 Wells (1863-1867)?
Akhurst & Douglas, S. Branch, near 12th st. (1863)
Ben Eyster & Co., W. Charles, corner W. Harrison (1863)
Miller Bros. & Clark, N. Halsted, near N. Branch (1863)
Edward E. Flood, 190 S. Canal (1863)
George S. Weeks & Son, East end Erie bridge (1863)
Miller, Frederickson & Burns, Ogden’s Canal near North Branch (1866)
Jacob Banta, John Gregory, Doolittle & Bates, 54 West Charles st (1866-1867)
Akhurst & Douglas, Reuben, corner South Branch (1867)
Miller & Bros., (Andrew and Thomas E. Miller), Halsted corner North Branch (1867-1870)
Akhurst & Douglas, Bridgeport, near Hydraulic Works (1870)
Thomas Bagley, N end Clark st Bridge (1870)
Doolittle & Bates, 384 Wells and 54 W. Charles (1870)
Fox & Howard, N. Branch, near N. Halsted (1870)
O. B. Green, ws N. Branch, near Division (1870)?
Gregory Ship Smith and Boat Builders
Mechanics’ Dry Docks (1867), Formerly Edward E. Flood’s Yard
54 West Charles Street near Harrison Street
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Chicago Tribune, October 15, 1860
Vessel Building in Chicago
At one of the best known ship yards on the North Branch, a new firm, as will be seen, in another column, succeeds Messrs. Doolittle & Miller, long and favorably in repute among all interested in our lake marine.
The new firm, Messrs. Miller & Hood, is one eminently well calculated to take advantage of the era of improved business now opening, and even extend their department of industry to limits not before reached here. The senior, Mr. Miller, is well known to our community, and is a gentleman of experience, practical knowledge, and well earned means. His associate, Capt. Hood, has resided for some years in our State, where he has many friends. He was formerly and for years one of the most noted of Massachusetts ship builders, and has sent out some of the most splendid and famous of our ocean merchant fleet, as well as fulfilled several important and credible ship-building contracts for the U.S. Government. He has been very successful in shoal water craft, and is throughout a thorough going, wide-awake and enterprising ship-builder.
We confidently expect that they will from their yard as above, make some A No. 1 additions tom our lake marine. The market for first class sailing vessels is a better one than for some years past, and meanwhile, disaster and wear and tear have cut down considerably the list of the best grade of vessels. Chicago is now certainly a point where vessels can be built either for the Lake or ocean trade under favorable and excellent advantages. The firm named possess the ability, backed by the skill pluck, needed to test the question fully. Theirs will be made one of the most completely furnished yards on the chain of the lakes.
Chicago Evening Post, October 25, 1869
Good Time at a Ship Yard.
Messrs. Doolittle & Olcott, the well known ship builders, whose yards are located on the west side of the river, between Van Buren and Harrison streets, extended invitations to commercial men and members of the city press, on Saturday, and in the afternoon, at 3 o’clock, about three hundred gentlemen visited the yards and inspected them. Mr. Olcott commenced business on the present site seventeen years ago, and the present firm have kept pace with the requirements of the times.
The yards have been recently enlarged and improved, and still greater facilities added for the conduct of the ship building business. After the party had made a due examination of the premises, Mr. James F. Olcott invited them to an elegant repast which had been set out in the office. After the dispensation of the wine which had been provided, Wm. L. Mitchell, Esq., State Senator Dore, Wm. H. Carter, Esq., and Mr. O. Olcott made appropriate addresses. Commercial matters were freely discussed over the collation, and a couple of hours pleasantly and profitably spent.
Chicago Tribune, October 22, 1870
The Sheboygan Dry Dock.—We learn from the Sheboygan papers that $5,000 have recently been raised for the completion of the dry dock at that place. The work is now going on as fast as men and money can push it, and Sheboygan will soon rejoice in having one of the largest and best dry docks on the whole chain of lakes. A new and more effective plan of construction of the walls and floor of the dock has been adopted by the Board of Directors, and Mr. John Gregory, of Chicago, who has superintended the building of four dry dry docks in Chicago and elsewhere, and who is an experiences ship-builder, has been employed as designer or architect in the building of the dock.
Chicago Evening Mail, October 7, 1872
Our reporter next wended his steps in the direction of the shipyards and drydocks of this city, seeking information, regarding workingmen, their habits and their wages. At the entrance of the drydock of Messrs. Bates & Co., on Wells street, he encountered a shipcarpenter and caulker, when the following conversation took place.
Reporter. Who carries on business in this drydock?
Shipcarpenter. Bates & Co.
R. Who is the company?
S.C. The stockholders, to be sure.
R. Well, who are stockholders?
S.C. They are carpenters and caulkers, who lent their money to Mr. Bates, so that he might be enabled to purchase the lease and improvements from the former owners of the dock, Olcott & Doolittle.
R. You said they were in company with Mr. Bates.
S.C. They are in company with Mr. Bates as far as getting the preference of what work is being done in the yard.
R. What do you mean by preference?
C. I mean that when the work is slack, and if a good job comes to the yard, those men are selected to do the work, while the other men who have not lent Bates any money, or, as we term them, non-stock holders, have to wait until something else comes alon, or go to some other yards to get work.
R. How many more yards are there carrying on this business in the city?
C. There are two more dry docks besides this one, and one boat yard, and several jobbers are following the business on the river.
R. What wages do you men receive?
C. From $2.50 to $3.50 per day.
R. Do the caulkers get the same pay?
C. They get from $3 to $3.50 a day.
R. How often do get paid?
C. Once a week—on every Tuesday morning.
R. Do you get your wages in cash?
R. Do you get on pay night what you earned through the week?
C. No. If we make a full week we get from $15 to $0.
R. When do you get this money back?
SC. Whenever you demand it.
R. How much do you average a month?
SC. About $50 a month.
R. That would be about $600 a year.
S.C. That is more than I earned last year at this trade.
R. Is that the general average of all men working at this business?
S.C. Yes, and if anything above it.
R. What are your expenses weekly?
S.C. Well, I have a family consisting of my wife and four children, the oldest is but 12 years old and the youngest 3 years. My wife is very economical, and in the thirteen years I have lived in this city I have put $320 in the Savings Bank.
This man being called away at this pointb our reporter crossed Polk street bridge and called at the yard of Messrs. Olcott & Doolittle, where he encountered a number of men who appeared to be idle, and found the cause to be that there was no employment for them on that day. Calling one of the number one side, our reporter asked him if he was a carpenter, he answered by saying he was, but of late he worked at caulking altogether.
- R. Do you do much work in this yard?
C. No, not a great deal, our employers depend altogether on the dockage.
R. What do you mean by that?
C. I mean the less work done on the vessel and the schooner she is got out of the dry dock the better it is for Olcott & Doolittle.
R. Why is tat the case?
C. Well, in the first place it is the best dry-dock in the city, as we can take in the heaviest draft of water of any dock, and they make more money by docking vessels.
R. Is that steamer coming into the dock?
C. Yes. She is coming in to have her fore foot repaired.
R. How long does it take to pump out this dock?
C. Well, if Tim Hurley, the engineer, gets up a good head of steam he can pump it out in two hours and a half.
R. How long does it take to let out a steamer when she is done?
C. About fifty minutes and she’s in the middle of the creek.
R. How many men are employed in this yard?
C. About thirty men, and nearly all of them work at both branches of the trade.
R. What wages do you average in this yard?
C. Well, the other day the men were talking over the articles that are appearing in the Evening Mail regarding the different trades and their wages, and we came to the conclusion that the men employes in this yard do not average over $625 a year.
R. Do many take the Mail?
C. Yes. A good many of our men take the Mail. They like it for its friendship for the workingmen. We generally make our complaint to Frank Lawler when we fail to receive it, who generally attends to sending word to the Mail office.
R. Do the men bring it to the yard to read?
C. Yes. Dennis McCarty, one of our men, brings it to the yard every day.
R. What wages do you receive?
C. The standard wages in this yard are $3.50 a day.
R. How often do you get paid?
C. We get all the wages we earn on every Tuesday night.
R. Would the men not save more money if they were paid on Saturday evening, so that they might deposit their surplus earnings in a savings bank?
C. Some of the men might, but as a general thingtheir necessary expenses take all they earn.
R. Can you give an idea what it costs you to live per week?
C. No; all I can say is that I have a very saving little wife, and three children, and my weekly wages but meet our current expenses.
R. Are you a drinking man?
C. If I work very hard I take a glass of beer, if not, I do not touch it.
R. Do other men at this trade drink up any of their wages?
C.As a general thing the men working at this trade do not spend $10 a year for drink.
R. Do all men working at this trade belong to the Union?
C. Not at all, but I think at the next regular meeting they will all join.
R. Where do you hold your meetings?
C. At the Globe Theatre building. We will hold our next regular meeting on Tuesday evening next, at the hall.
At this point Mr. Olcott called upon the men to go spinning oakum, when our informant left.
Our reporter believing that a visit to the yards of Messrs. Miller Bros. would gibe some additional items about this trade, started for the North Branch, but upon arriving there it was the hour of 6 o’clock p.m, and the men were found putting away their tools and hurrying to their homes. The reporter, on his way down town, coming along Chicago avenue, overtook one of the men working in the yard, from whom he learnt that the rate of wages paid in that yard ranged from $2.75 to $3.50 per day, receiving their cash in full weekly.
R. What is the opinion of the men on classification?
Informant. We are opposed to classification.
R. Why are they opposed to it?
I. Because it gives the inferior workman the preference of the work.
R. How do you make that out?
I. Why you see if a first-class mechanic is sent to work, the employers make but 40 cents commission on his days work, while on the inferior man, they can make double or treble what they can make on the good mechanic, that is why we are against classification. Classification would be very good if there was no more charged for the inferior workman than what was paid to him, with the commission in proportion to the good workmen.
R. I do not quite understand you.
I. You don’t, well I’ll show you; you see the employers pay the inferior workman $2.75 or $3, and charge the vessel owner for that man’s days wages $3.90, in that way they make three times as much on the poor workman as they do on the good one, three of those men with one good machine to lay out the work for them, can work along and will not be noticed by the captain of the vessel. Still they are supposed to be number one ship-carpenters. That is what we complain the most.
Our reporter’s informant at the corner of Sedgwick and Chicago avenue, bid him good night, and departed swinging his dinner pail as happy as any prince, king or potentate, while our reporter took his way to our office to write up his interview with the chip and oakum of Chicago, well pleased with his afternoon’s work.
Chicago Dry Dock Company
384 Wells Street
Robinson Fire Insurance Map
Chicago Evening Mail, October 16, 1873
At the yards of Olcott & Dolittle 60 men have been employed, and a large business done until lately, mostly in the way of docking vessels. At present there are about 25 men at work.
At the docks of W.W. Bates & Co., one of the larger docks in the city, there are usually about 65 men at work, where there are about 150.
Miller Bros. are building an additional dry dock, which serves to keep a larger number of men employed than would otherwise be the case.
Chicago Tribune, June 19, 1880
Capt. John Gregory, the well-known tug builder, has returned to Chicago, after completing his shipyard engagement in Sturgeon Bay.
Chicago Tribune, July 31, 1880
A NEW DRY-DOCK TO BE BUILT.
Some time since The Tribune announced that Mr. Orville Olcott was making preparations to construct a large new dry-dock on the North Branch, just below the dry-docks and shipyard of Miller Brothers. Mr. Olcott’s arrangements are so far completed that details of the enterprise can safely be given. The new dock will be situated on Lots 8, 9, and 10, Block 98, Elston’s Addition, or at the entrance to the Ogden Canal on the North Branch. It is to be 300 feet long, sixty-four feet wide at the top, and forty-two feet at the bottom, with a floating depth of twelve feet over the blocks. The pumping machinery will consist of two fifteen-inch centrifugal pumps of the celebrated White, Clark & Co., Baldwinsville, N. Y., make. Their lifting capacity will be 32,000 gallons per minute, and as the capacity of the dock is estimated at 1,500,000 gallons it will readily be seen that the pumnping-out process cannot fail to meet expectations. The pumps are to be operated by an engine of 150-horse power.
A decided advantage that this dock will possess over any others in the city is the control of 500 feet of river front, where a vessel can lie and undergo topside repairs without moving. This is a necessity that has long been felt. The firm engaged in the enterprise will be styled Olcott, Hannahs & Co. The dock is to be known as “Olcott’s Marine Dry-Dock.” Mr. Orville Orcott will act as agent, and the services of John Gregory, the well known marine architect, have been secured as master mechanic. The contract for dredging the slip that is to be converted into a dry-dock has been secured by Harry Fox & Co., who propose to begin work either to-day or on Monday. The estimated cost of the improvement, complete, is $25,000, and is to be completed by the 1st of October.
Miller Brother’s Dry Dock (1867)
Halsted, North Branch
Orville’s Marine Dry-Dock (1880)
Block 98, Lots 8, 9, and 10
Olcott & Hannahs Dry Dock (1881)
East of Miller Brothers’ Dock
Robinson Fire Map
Chicago Tribune, September 15, 1880
THE NEW OLCOTT DRY-DOCK
The dredging for Olcott’s new marine dry-dock was completed yesterday by Harry Fox & Co. The next work will be to place a coffer-dam at the head of the huge ditch and pump the water out so that pile-driving and sheathing may be carried on. The new dock will hardly be ready before the 1st of December. It will be the most eligible in the city, as the location is such that vessels can be run directly into it from below, without the necessity of winding. The boiler is already on the ground and pumps are well under way.
Chicago Tribune, October 25, 1880
Work on Olcott’s new marine dry-dock at the lower end of Goose Island is making satisfactory progress. The dry-dock basin is being floored and lined, and the boiler engine, and centrifugal pumps are already on the ground. The dock will be ready for use by the 15th of December.
Miller Brothers Shipyard and Dry-Dock
North Branch of Chicago River
North Branch of Chicago River
Chicago Tribune, April 14, 1881
OLCOTT’S MARINE DRY DOCK
Work upon the new dry-dock of Olcott, Hannaha & Co., Goose Island, is now so nearly completed that arrangements are being made to dock the schooner R. B. Hayes (US 110338) at once.Yesterday afternoon a dredge began removing the coffer-dam, with the view of letting the vessel by Saturday. The dock will be under the management of Mr. Orville Orcott, as agent, and known as Olcott’s Marine Dry-Dock. The dry-dock is 300 feet long, sixty-four feet wide at the top and forty-two feet at the bottom, and has a depth of twelve feet of water over the blocks. To free it of water two fifteen-inch centrifugal pumps, capable of discharging 32,000 gallons of water per minute, are employed. These pumps are driven by an engine at 150-horse-power. The boiler and smokestack attached are those formerly in use of the old side-wheel steamer Huron, which laid the foundation of Capt. A. E. Goodrich’s present princely fortune, she having been the first steamer ever owned by him. Although second-hand and old, it is still serviceable. The engine also is not a new one. Connected with the dry-dock are 500 feet of river front, at which vessels can tie while undergoing topside repairs. Thus is supplied a need that has long been felt in connection with Chicago ship-yards and dry-docks. The new dry-dock and ship-yard are situated at the lower end of the Goose Island tract, between the Ogden Canal and the North Branch. Vessels can be run into the dry-dock by the tugs towing them, which is also an advantageous arrangement because of the amount of time and labor saved thereby. The cost of the new dock with its machinery will not fall much short of $30,000. The large schooner Rutherford B. Hays is the first vessel booked to occupy it.
Rutherford B. Hayes
US No. 110338
Launched Detroit, MI, October, 1877
Sank Near Racine, WI, April, 1893
Chicago Tribune, April 19, 1881
A DRY DOCK CAVED IN
Early yesterday morning workmen employed upon Olcott’s new marine dry-dock discovered that the pressure against the Ogden Canal bank portion of it had caused a serious leak, and that there was imminent danger of a caving in of not less than 100 feet of that side of the dock. They therefore promptly and very wisely opened the gate-valves and allowed the dry-dock to fill with water. Workmen are now engaged in an effort to locate the leak and discover the full extent of the damage, Mr. Olcott does not anticipate a delay over two or three days in making needed repairs, but but knowing ones intimate that fully two or three weeks’ time will be necessary to complete the work. The visit of the schooner Hayes to the dock is postponed indefinitely by the misfortune, and may have to be taken elsewhere in order to complete her repairs by the opening of navigation through the lakes.
The Inter Ocean, May 18, 1881
A NEW DRY DOCK
OLCOTT, HANNAHS & CO.
Another monster dry dock in Chicago was completed yesterday. It is in the North Branch just east of the Miller Brothers’ shipyard, and the proprietors are Olcott, Hannahs & Co. There is a shipyard in connection, of course. Mr. Olcott is an old shipbuilder and dry-dock proprietor in Chicago, and needs no introduction. Mr. Hannahs comes from South Haven, but is also well known here and elsewhere on the lakes. The new dock is 303 feet long, 44 feet wide at the bottom and 67 feet on the top, and can take in a vessel that draws 12 feet of water. The lot and dock cost $50,000.
1Statistics prepared by Harbor Convention of 1847.