BOOK LAUNCH “The Inspection Tugboats Baltimore 1857-1980”

The Inspection Tugboats Baltimore 1857-1980 cover

ANNOUNCING the publication of “The Inspection Tugboats Baltimore 1857-1980” by David W. Wooddell, 299 pages, B&W, at Amazon, May 2020.

The “Baltimore” (1906) was the last operating coal-powered steam tugboat in Baltimore Harbor. “The Inspection Tugboats Baltimore 1857-1980” is a richly detailed history of the two inspection tugboats named the “Baltimore” from 1857 to 1980. It’s a biography of the two city-owned inspection tugboats, as well as a history of Baltimore harbor and the iceboats that operated alongside the “Baltimore” to keep the harbor, the Patapsco River, and the Chesapeake Bay clear of ice. They towed vessels off the shore, saved men trapped and in desperate need, and they helped the harbor run efficiently.
They towed vessels off the shore, saved men trapped and in desperate need, and they helped the harbor run efficiently. The book begins with the building of the first tugboat “Baltimore” in 1857 by Murray & Hazlehurst at their Vulcan Works.
The narrative details the boat’s invaluable service to the city, mayor, port warden, and city council. In 1906 the second tugboat “Baltimore” was built for the city by the William H. Skinner & Sons Shipyard. The second “Baltimore” (1906) remains with us today. She served the city until she was transferred to the Maryland Port Authority, and not much later sold. Sam du Pont bought the boat and operated her as a yacht, winning awards for the historic vessel. She sank in 1979. After the “Baltimore” (1906) was brought up from the Sassafras River, Sam and Jeanne du Pont donated her to the Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI).
This book ends with the “Baltimore’s” designation as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. Archival records, news reports, and interviews from ten years research inform the book.
David W Wooddell on Tugboat Baltimore Nov 2014 by Kat Forder
Photo by Kat Forder Photography,, Nov 2014, on the Inspection Tugboat Baltimore
This book is authored by former National Geographic magazine Research Editor
David W. Wooddell of Baltimore, Maryland.

Compression

I’ve been working on a history of the steam tugs Baltimore for several years now. It’s been rough sledding in many ways. I’m still working at it, but presently I’ve taken the book manuscript apart, and I’m trying to compress the book into an article to submit to a historical journal. Whether that will work remains to be seen. Compression is a good way to discover one’s problems in a work, however. I’ve come to recognize the book manuscript should be reorganized. If that improves the end result, then it is worthwhile.

Steam Tug Baltimore

I’m sorry to say that I feel pressed to get the article, and book published because the steam tug Baltimore is in such sorry shape that her days are numbered. She will never sail or steam again; she lacks Coast Guard certification, and isn’t likely to receive that again. The Baltimore could perhaps be lifted out of the water and moved to land, if she had the right kind of experts to do that for her, but even that seems to be beyond the Baltimore Museum of Industry to organize and carry out. The museum has good volunteers, but it takes money for materials, and to hire experts to get things done. The volunteers can’t do it all out of their own pockets.

I’d like to at least publish my history of the Baltimore, and her predecessor before she finally sinks into the mud at her dock.

 

Archival Fun

Steam Tug Baltimore
The wheel of the Steam Tugboat Baltimore, a National Historic Landmark

Progress continues here at the word farm as I write the profiles to be included in a the “Steam Tug Baltimore” book (not the exact title). Historic research can be a lot of fun, as well as a lot of intense work in archives and libraries, not to mention hours and hours in front of one’s computer.

Recently I had the pleasure of finding some very good material at the Maryland Historical Society library about two of the gentlemen engineers of Baltimore, James Murray and Henry R. Hazlehurst. They were partners in the firm Murray & Hazlehurst that built the steam tug “Baltimore” for the city of Baltimore in 1857. 

You never know what you might find while poking around in history. Henry R. Hazlehurst was a descendent of an important American family from Philadelphia and New Jersey. His ancestors backed and signed currency that supported the Continental Army during the American revolution. And they also paid for some of the first vessels for the Continental Navy, small as it was back then. How cool is that?

continental-currency-1a-copy
Currency signed by Hazlehurst to support the Continental Army
robert-hazlehurst-by-peale-display_image-php-copy
Robert Hazlehurst by Peale

Doing this type of archival research is slow, however, and may account for the slowness of my writing. I’ve put myself under pressure to finish the profiles, and all of the other editorial parts of the book in time for History4All Publishing to publish it this summer. It’s been a project I’ve been working on for the past five years. I want to exhibit and sell copies of the book at the Baltimore Book Festival in Sept 23, 2017. I’ll also be selling copies of my history of the 31st Virginia, “Hoffman’s Army.”

Life is what you make it. Make it a good one!