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Thread: IWC/Upper Mississippi Barge Line

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
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    3,879

    Default IWC/Upper Mississippi Barge Line

    Amplifying on the THORPE/VERITY thread:
    First of all, the S.S. THORPE was named for Samuel S. Thorpe, who was the first president of the Upper Mississippi Barge Line. When the boat was sold to American Rolling Mills Co (later named Armco Steel), it was renamed GEO. M. VERITY to honor the founder and first president of Armco.
    Now, to the history of the THORPE and its 3 sister boats:
    Federal Barge Lines was started in 1919 and worked the lower river. In 1924 the Inland Waterways Corp. (IWC) was formed to take over management of FBL. In 1925, the Upper Mississippi Barge Line was organized, and in 1927 the IWC and UMBL got a contract together to build 4 steam sternwheel towboats for use on the UMR. UMBL was to build them, and the IWC would lease them. They were built at Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works. Launched in this order were: C.C. WEBBER, S.S. THORPE, JOHN W. WEEKS, GENERAL ASHBURN. The THORPE was the first one in operation. In 1928 the IWC took them over, and they became part of the FBL.
    As Capt. Bill Judd pointed out in the other thread, the configuration of the Texas and pilothouses changed over the years.
    Pix 1 shows the C.C. WEBBER in her early years, minus a Texas but with a large pilothouse.
    Pix 2 shows the C.C. later with a Texas and a resized pilothouse.
    Pix 3 shows the remains of the C.C. in 1981 when Keith and I found her on our UMR safari. She was reposing near the river in the Mississippi Palisades area near Savanna Illinois. She had obviously been altered as her owner was planning to open her as a hotel (sound vaguely familiar PREZDQ), but that never happened. What happened to her after 1981 I don't know.
    The C.C. WEBBER was named after an advocate of UMR improvements from Minneapolis. In 1947 she was sold to Hatfield-Campbell Creek Coal Co. and renamed ELLEN HATFIELD.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
    Posts
    3,879

    Default IWC/UMBL towboats continued....

    The third boat was the JOHN W. WEEKS. She was sold in 1948 to American Rolling Mill co. and renamed the WEBER W. SEBALD. Pix 1 shows her after the Texas/pilothouse alterations.
    The fourth boat was the GENERAL ASHBURN, named after Maj. Gen. Thomas Ashburn. She was sold to Ohio & Kanawha Transportation Co. (later Hatfield-Campbells Creek Coal Co.) in 1941. In 1945 she was renamed J.T. HATFIELD. She was sold in 1957 to Armco Steel and renamed CHARLES R. HOOK. Pix 2 shows the GENERAL ASHBURN in 1938 with the sunken S.S. THORPE in Minneapolis.
    Pix 3 is a repeat of the S.S. THORPE to complete the boat family in this thread.
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  3. #3

    Default

    In another thread,Shipyard asked about the Weber W. Sebald. Now at long last some of the boat remains. The boats sternwheel has been salvaged from the Sebald wreck and is being rebuilt and on display at the Pt. Pleasant,WV river museum. The remains of the wheel were raised from the Kanawha by Capt. Nelson Jones's Madison Coal & Supply and moved to the museum location. Two gentlemen, Vernon Clifton and Bill Mallette have done most of the labor. The J. Mack Gamble Fund of the S & D financed a large portion of the restoration costs.

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