Launched in December of 1889, the A. McVittie was built by the Detroit Dry Dock Co. as a package freighter with two main decks. In 1912, most of the upper deck was removed to convert the vessel into a bulk carrier. External steel stiffeners (straps) were added to the wooden hull to compensate for the removal of the upper deck. These photos were taken in September 12, 1919 at the Buffalo Dry Dock Co. Shortly after this dry docking the vessel suffered storm damage which resulted in the vessel being abandoned. Photos from the I. Brookes/MHSD collection.

A. McVITTIE wooden steam barge ex package freighter (C 138491 ex U 106710). 1917-1919.
Original as package freighter: 2,046.9 tons gross, 1,552.88 net.
As a bulk carrier post 1912: 1,458.51 tons gross, 945.16 tons net, 240.25’ (waterline?).
Launched on 28 December 1890 by Detroit Dry Dock at Wyandotte Michigan. Yard #99.
Diagonally strapped. Fore & aft compound engine = 825 indicated horsepower, 109 rated horsepower. Original cost $130,000. 1906 valued at $45,000. 1913 insurance rating = 90. 1914 insurance rating = 90/100 coarse freight only. 1917-18 value $60,000. 1919 value $54,000.

McVITTIE’s first owner was the Ogdensburg Transportation Co., the shipping arm of the Ogdensburg & Lake Champlain Railroad, which was operated by the Central Vermont Railroad. The purpose of the shipping company was to bring western grain to Ogdensburg New York for eastward shipment by rail and to move manufactured goods and building stone west. McVITTIE was part of a fleet in these trades that included WILLIAM A. HASKELL (later Montreal Transportation Co.’s J0YLAND) and WILLIAM J. AVERELL (later Montreal Transportation Co.’s OATLAND).
McVITTIE was repaired in 1893 after grounding on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan ($1,500 damage). On 5 May 1895, she went ashore in Hammond’s Bay on Lake Huron while on passage Oswego New York – Chicago. The steamer was repaired at Milwaukee Wisconsin where she got 54 new frames, a new forefoot and some new bottom planking.
In 1899 her ownership was transferred to Rutland Transit (Rutland Railroad, later part of the New York Central system) when it took control of the Central Vermont Railroad. In 1905-15, she was half owned by Rutland and half owned by the Ogdensburg Coal and Towing Co.

She was cut down to a bulk carrier at the St. Lawrence Marine Railway in Ogdensburg New York during 1912-13. At that time, she was fitted with steel arches and steel plate on her bows for protection in ice conditions. She collided with the tug DOLPHIN (C 80680, 70 tons gross) on 17 August 1915 off Dorval in Lac St. Louis. McVITTIE was on passage Oswego – Montreal. DOLPHIN was a total loss.

The American Panama Canal Act of 1915 forced the railways to sell their Great Lakes fleets. John Hannan (Ogdensburg Coal & Towing) became her registered owner. McVITTIE was sold twice in 1917, first to W. McDougald of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, who brought her under Canadian registry, and then by him to Montreal Transportation Co. Montreal Transportation Co. usually used her as a collier. She was aground at Rock Island in the Alexandria Bay narrows on 9 August 1918 while on passage Oswego – Montreal with a cargo of coal and was towed to Kingston.
McVITTIE was damaged in a storm on Lake Ontario in October 1918. She took out a gate of Lock 12 on the Welland Canal on 15 November 1918. She was in a dry dock in Buffalo New York in September 1919. In October of 1919, she suffered storm damage on Lake Ontario and was laid up at Kingston where she settled to the bottom on 21 November.
She was soon abandoned to the underwriters. The vessel was raised and moved to the inner harbour in May 1922. Her remains were raised again in July 1925 and scuttled in deep water. She was removed from the register on 5 November 1925. Mr. Alex McVittie (1848-1912), was born in New Brunswick. He was an employee and later the president of Detroit Dry Dock.

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