Monday, March 15, 2010

One Of The Last Surviving Tug Boats

The day will come when the Blind River Lumber Mill, it’s distinctive burner and the surrounding buildings will be gone. Unfortunately that day may not be too far off.

Recently, when a 27 foot logging tug boat was found inside a shed that was scheduled to be demolished, one of the salvage workers took it upon himself to try to save the old girl.

The boat had a special significance for him since his father worked in the mill and his grandfather worked on the tugs. Perhaps even on the very tug that they found.

His plan is to get the boat back into shape and to perhaps use it to take people on short tours of the harbour area. It will not be a small project. Time has coated the 3 ton tug with a layer of rust. Vandals have sprayed graffiti on her.

According to my research, the tug was named Eddy VIII (C.176598) and was built in 1946 by Russel Steelcraft of Owen Sound. It was powered by a 2 cylinder – 20 horse power Russel-Hipwell gasoline engine. It 's job was to push and pull rafts of logs around the mill pond. It's powerful winch not only made it possible to pull large booms, it also enabled the tug to pull itself onto dryland or across portages.

Restoring the Eddy VIII will not be a small task. It will be time consuming and costly. But in the end there will be one more piece of the area’s past which may not have to be sacrificed to ‘progress’.