On November 1, 1925 our tug boat is commissioned.
In just over a year it will become the mighty Tug DeWitt Clinton.
Theodore D. Wells, a naval architect in NYC completed the design. The Race Brothers Corp in East Boothbay, ME built the tug boat. An inscription can be viewed on the back of the photo below: “Photo of New York State Tug Boat made March 10, 1927.” It is believed that the photo was taken at the East Boothbay shipyard just before delivery.
According to the vessel inventory cards, Tug DeWitt Clinton was purchased by New York State on April 14, 1927 for $37,950. The Hull # 22611 tug was 45′ long with a 14′- 4″ beam and 30 ton displacement, 11 ton net. It had living quarters for four crew members and was originally fitted with a 4 cylinder, 125 horse powered, Kahlenberg semi-diesel engine.
We do not know when the above photo was taken. Note the crew member’s head on the starboard side just behind the quarter bitts!
In 1958-59 Tug DeWitt Clinton was re-engined at the Syracuse canal shops. The superstructure was changed from its original mid-house arrangement to its current configuration. We do not have an exact date but that change may have occurred in the late 50’s.
A 350hp Cummins engine was installed in 1996.
Ninety-two years later, Tug DeWitt Clinton is the oldest tug working on canal maintenance and still a viable mainstay on the western end of the Erie Canal. The Tug still houses living quarters for the crew. An 850a Cummins engine currently powers Tug DeWitt as it works its way along the canal. Every day!
Many thanks to the NYS Archives for the original 1927 photo and accompanying information about Tug DeWitt Clinton’s history.