Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ships From the Past

I'm definitely into different forms of transportation...both for their power and for the their ability to transport the mind to far away places. This is a 12" x 15" pencil drawing by Bob Thomson, done in ca. 1975. It depicts an old tramp steamer being guided into port by the tugboat Goliath.

This is an old family photo from a marathon family vacation...before expressways...back in 1951 or 1952. These old sailing ships were photographed somewhere along the coast of New Brunswick, Canada.

The trip was from Jackson Michigan up through Brantford Ontario, Montreal, the Gaspe Peninsula, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, then back down through New England and home. In those days, there were few 'motels', mostly cabins.

This is an oil painting by Bob Thomson. This is the 1934 Sidewheel Paddleboat Dredge, the William S. Mitchell...also known as the 'Death Dredge'! This ship had a history of over 112 crewmember deaths over it's years of operation. Legend has it that it all started when the ship dredged up an ancient Indian burial site on its maiden voyage.

Whatever the cause of it's misfortune, it did seem to be a cursed ship. This was a huge riverboat...287 feet long by 77 feet wide with a crew of 66 including officers. The captain of the vessel and others were killed in a incident called "The Massacre on the Mitchell" when the ship broke free from it's moorings in Kansas City and crashed into a series of bridges, totally destroying the pilot house and much of the upper deck. Check this frightening trip out at

And yet, despite everything that has happened, or perhaps because of everything that happened, the William S. Mitchell has survived to this day. It is now called the "USS Nightmare" and it's a 'haunted' tourist attraction that is moored in Newport, Kentucky. It's big coming up fast.

1 comment:

  1. Nice painting I work on the boat now and would love a painting like this.