History

This is my photoblog about the restoration of New York Central Tugboat No. 13.  She was built in 1887 in Camden, NJ by the shipbuilder, John H. Dialogue.  She was built for the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad to push carfloats (long barges with train tracks on their decks) and other kinds of barges across the waterways of New York City.  This was before the use of cars and trucks. The first truck was built in 1896.

She was built using wrought iron plates that were riveted together and she originally had a 250 horsepower steam engine to push her through the water.

JohnDialogue-1886

John H. Dialogue

There is a great site that details the life and times of John H. Dialogue here. This is a great site to get a feeling for the process of iron ship building in Camden, NJ at the time.

This site also lists all the other Dialogue built boats that are still around.  There is another fantastic list of all the boats built by Dialogue here.   Sadly, the Susan Elizabeth listed here, also a New York Central tugboat built one year earlier in 1886 was cut up last year (see my post here). Coincidentally, it was cut up in the same yard that I am restoring my boat.  I was able to salvage a few pieces off her.

Another remaining Dialogue tug is the Hercules, built in 1907 and currently in the San Francisco Maritime Museum.  Although built in Camden, NJ, she was driven through the Strait of Magellan to San Francisco, towing her sister ship, Goliath.

Here is a link the the New York Central Historical Society webpage that documents the history of the railroad and its eventual merger with the Pennsylvania Railroad to become Conrail.

The tugboat is being restored in Tottenville, Staten Island NY. I just discovered that the gravesite of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the founder of the New York Central Railroad is located very near the shipyard. He died on January 4th, 1877, ten years before NY Central No. 13 was built. He is buried at the Moravian Cemetery in the center of Staten Island.