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Historical Perspective
Featured Lake Boat:

Charles Dick 1922 - 1976

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Built by Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. as hull 71. Launched on May 27, 1922 as CHARLES DICK for National Sand & Material Co. Ltd. Christened by namesake who was age 5 and the son of David Dick, the owner of National Sand. Dimensions: 258' 6" loa x 43' 0" beam x 29' 0" depth; 2,015 GRT, 3,000 NRT. Powered by a 1,250 ihp triple expansion steam engine built by The Prescott Co., Menominee, MI. Entered service in July, 1922.

She was the first self-unloading vessel built in Canada for a Canadian fleet. Equipped with two suction tubes which lowered from her bow, sand or gravel was drawn off the lake bottom by suction pumps and discharged into troughs located over the top of the hopper tanks. Excess water was discharged via specially designed spillways at the end of each hopper. A series of "A" frames, which ran the length of the hopper tanks, support large clamshell buckets for the transfer of cargo, and were a distinctive feature. The sand/gravel was deposited into two open holds where the dredgings were sorted by type and coarseness. Excess water and undesirable material were discharged overboard. For unloading, the clamshell buckets deposited the material into a midship hopper from which the cargo was off-loaded by an elevator/conveyor system to a 85' long port side unloading boom and deposited on shore. There were 32 steam engines of various sizes to operate all of the machinery.

Beginning in 1928 opened navigation at Toronto for 9 straight years. Made her first trip to Wallaceburg in 1933. Sat idle much of 1933 at Muir's Pond, Port Dalhousie. Much of her earlier years were spent hauling sand and gravel for the construction of the fourth Welland Canal which opened August 6, 1932. The CHARLES DICK operated mostly on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario dredging sand and gravel. Sometime during the late 1940's her boilers were converted to oil-fired. Returned to Wallaceburg in 1944 and then made several more until 1950. April 1, 1965 opened upbound navigation along Welland Canal 1971. Severed two underwater cables in Maumee River, August 21, 1971, cutting off power to East Toledo and Cherry Street bridge. Several traffic jams resulted on Toledo's streets.

Laid up in 1973 at Port Colborne due to claims that this dredging operation caused erosion of the northern Lake Erie shoreline and other environmental concerns. Towed to Ramey's Bend on September 10, 1975 as town officials objected to downtown location. In March of 1976 the Ontario Minister of Resources refused to renew her license to load sand in Lake Erie. Sold to Marine Salvage, Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario, for scrapping in December, 1976. Register closed January 29, 1982.


Charles Dick 1922 - 1976
(National Sand & Material Co.)

Sliding into the water, May 27, 1922.
(John Leonard Collection, courtesy Skip Gillham)

Underway, July 20, 1922.
(Skip Gillham Collection)

Another stern shot.
(Hank Winsor Collection, courtesy Skip Gillham)

Tied up in Port Dalhousie near the tug Glide.
(Alfred King Collection, courtesy Skip Gillham)

Downbound in the St. Clair River, Port Huron.
(Thomas Manse Collection)

Loaded and underway, 1942.
(Thomas Manse Collection)

In Wallaceburg, July 1949.
(Blake Mann Historical Files)

In the Welland Canal, September 20, 1960.
(Photo by Tom Graham, Skip Gillham Collection)

Tied up in Hamilton, April 20, 1961.
(Photo by Capt. Geoffrey Hawthorn, Skip Gillham Collection)

Transiting the Welland Canal, August 1963.
(Skip Meier Collection)

In the Welland Canal, April 1966.
(John Mackay Collection)

Going under Bridge 21 in Port Colborne, August 1967.
(John Mackay Collection)

Clearing Bridge 20, Port Colborne.
(John Mackay Collection)

On the St. Clair River, 1967.
(Photo by Bob Zeleznik, Skip Gillham Collection)

Newspaper clipping of her passing under the Ambassador Bridge.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Laid up for the winter in Port Colborne, March 2, 1969.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Laid up for the winter in Port Colborne, January 1970.
(Photo by Capt. Ken Lowes, Skip Gillham Collection)

On the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland.
(Thomas Manse Collection)

Inbound Maumee Bay with a load of sand bound for the Huron Cement Docks, 1971.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

In the Maumee Bay.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Below Lock 7 on the Welland Canal, 1973.
(Al Sykes Collection, courtesy Skip Gillham)

Downbound the Welland Canal, July 1973.
(Marc Vander Meulen Collection)

One day in 1973 while working for the Leamington Post and living along Lake Erie, I was happy to see the CHARLES DICK tied up to the Leamington dock. Soon after I completed this a pen & ink/watercolour painting of the unexpected visitor. New
(Drawing by Carl Burkett)

In ballast on the Welland Canal, September 21, 1973.
(Photo by Tom Graham, Skip Gillham Collection)

Laid up in Port Colborne, February 17, 1974.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Stern view in Port Colborne, February 17, 1974.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Tied up in Port Colborne ahead of a Laker waiting to continue on its scrap tow while the Norther Venture passes, 1974. New
(Photo by Carl Burkett)

Tied up in Port Colborne, possibly out of service.
(Marc Vander Meulen Collection)

In Ramey's Bend awaiting the torch, December 23, 1976.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

View from behind the remains of a previous Laker cut up, 1977.
(Thomas Manse Collection)

Most of ship has been cut up with only the stern left, April 8, 1977.
Imperial London on the left.
(Thomas Manse Collection)



Masters and Chief Engineers of the Name (1)
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Unknown 1922 - 25
T. G. Weston 1926 - 32
Unknown 1933
T. G. Weston 1934
Graham McLellend 1935 - 38
J. Douglas Reid 1939 - 46
R. E. Lawson 1949 - 57
John C. Leonard 1958 - 77
Unknown 1922 - 25
Donald Paterson 1926 - 32
Unknown 1933
D. Rallus 1934
Leonard Simpson 1935 - 36
Corey Harvey 1937 - 59
T. Connell 1960 - 63
J. Kennedy 1964 - 77


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Last updated: June 5, 2014.

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