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  • John Fryant
    replied
    For those interested, theres an excellent book on the history of the Wilson Line: Last of the Steamboats, The Saga of the Wilson Line, by Richard V. Elliott. Pub 1970 by Tidewater Publishers, Cambridge, MD. ISBN 0-87033-149-3

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  • R. Dale Flick
    replied
    RE: The MOUNT VERNON
    Hi, John & Steamboating colleagues:
    Thanks for all the questions, input, photos above RE: the MOUNT VERNON. John, you are on the money about her. I well remember the VERNON taking a trip on her with my family years ago. The WILSON LINE was no small concern. I have buried in my dusty boxes back in Cincinnati photos her in various eras of her career. She was steam I'm certain in several of the snaps. Well, they're back south 600 miles away, and I'm up here. Lake weather beautiful with temps in the 70s, sunny, strong breeze. So chilly several nights all doors/windows closed.

    R. Dale Flick
    Summer - Northern shores of Lake Michigan.

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  • Judy Patsch
    replied
    Thanks for the parallel

    Thanks for equating the Wilson Line to Streckfus - that gives it meaning to a Mississippi system person.

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  • Bob Reynolds
    replied
    Thanks, Wesley! Fascinating!

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  • Wesley Paulson
    replied
    More Wilson Line...

    Here is a photo of MV GEORGE WASHINGTON after conversion to RELLA MAE. The main structure is a classic Wilson Line look. The story of this boat's journey from the east coast to Hawaii under its own power may rival the saga of the Delta Queen, at least in terms of distance covered.

    For the western rivers .org readers, Wilson Line was the Streckfus of the east coast. Home ported in Wilmington, Wilson's day boats offered summer excursions in Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington DE, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. Wilson operated a subsidiary boat yard in Wilmington. MT VERNON, the initial subject of this thread, and her sister BAY BELLE were rebuilt from the hull up, much like Streckfus created ADMIRAL and PRESIDENT from earlier boats.

    Two ferries from Wilson's operations on the Chespeake Bay and the Delaware River survive: MV CAPE HENLOPEN (an LST conversion) in service on Long Island Sound, and the former NEW YORK as a restaurant in Portland, ME.

    We now return .org to regular Western Rivers programming. No adjustment to your screen is necessary.


    Wesley
    Attached Files

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  • John Fryant
    replied
    I remember seeing the Mt. Vernon in the early 1960s. We had moved to the Wash. DC area in 1961 when she was making the regular run from The Wilson Line's Maine ave. pier to Mt Vernon and return. In my youthful ignorance I wasn't interested in riding on her as she didn't look line a steamboat to me! She sank at the Wilson Line pier in the winter of 1962/63 due to a water line that had frozen and burst - I think. Sad sight. She was replaced by the former Wilson liner Hudson Belle renamed George Washington. She was a larger boat and was the first excursion boat built in the US after WW-II. Twin screw - had White-Superior diesels. We did ride on her. She was eventually taken to Hawaii and had masts installed so that she sort of resembled a sailing ship. She may still be there.

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  • Wesley Paulson
    replied
    A little more about MT VERNON

    SS MT VERNON was built by Harlan and Hollingsworth as CITY OF CAMDEN in 1916 in Wilmington, DE (official number 214055). The boat was heavily rebuilt as MT VERNON in 1940. After sinking in 1963, the Seafarer's Institute purchased MT VERNON for use as a floating barracks at Piney Point, MD. They renamed the boat CHARLES F. ZIMMERMAN. The ZIMMERMAN disappeared in the 1980s and may have ended its days in Boston before being scrapped. I suppose the capstan came off the boat during conversion as ZIMMERMAN.

    Wesley

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  • Wesley Paulson
    replied
    Mt. Vernon Capstan

    Harland and Hollingsworth was located in Wilmington, Delaware and conveniently located near the headquarters of the Wilson Line, owner of the Mt. Vernon. I need to do some digging, but I think Mt. Vernon was built as one of the "State" or "City" boats in the Wilson fleet. Mt. Vernon was raised in 1964 and served for many years as a floating classroom at the Seafarer's Institute in Piney Point, MD. The boat was later scrapped.

    Wesley

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  • Bob Reynolds
    replied
    Capstan picture

    Clint, here (I hope!) is a picture of the capstan on the Steamer DELTA QUEEN. Undoubtedly a newr model than what you have, but they don't change much. The piece you have would have gone on top of the big round part where Mel is standing, just giving it a rounded appearance on top. The capstan barrel is mounted on deck, and you can see at the bottom where it connects with the anchor widlass to pick up the anchor. You are seeing in this pic a line wrapped around the barrel for pulling. On this model, the steam engine to power the capstan is below the deck.Yes, they can be on the stern, bow, anywhere they'd be needed to handle lines or loads. That is Mel Hartsough, Mate, in about 1980 or so at Cairo, IL. Picture courtesy of Mel.
    Attached Files

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  • Clinton Addison
    replied
    Thanks for the reply. Harlan was bought out by Bethlehem I believe. So this would be out on deck or down below decks, out of sight? Could these be in the stern also?

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  • Bob Reynolds
    replied
    Welcome, Clint. A capstan is a vertically-mounted windlass that is used for tightening mooring lines, picking up an anchor, or for any heavy lifting/pulling. Capstans are usually mounted on the forecastle of a vessel, but they can also be found at other places on the main deck where lines would need to be handled. They can be hand-powered with a ratcheted base or powered by steam or (in later times) electricity. The dome-shaped capstan cover you have is just a piece that goes on top of the barrel of the capstan, and the capstan can work just as well without this piece. I am unaware of the firm Harlan & Hollingsworth, though other regular posters on here may be familiar with that firm.

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  • Clinton Addison
    started a topic SS Mount Vernon

    SS Mount Vernon

    I have a capstan cover from the SS Mt Vernon. It was given to me by my Aunt after the ship sank in Washington DC in 1963. What I would like to know is where this part goes on the ship and what the likelihood of finding a picture of it installed in place. It domed shaped, about 20-25 inches around and says "Harlan and Hollingsworth, Wilmington Delaware 1916". Made of brass or bronze.
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