Tanner's Dry Dock

Tanner's Dry Dock (HM1KPM)

Location: Port Byron, NY 13140 Cayuga County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 2.25', W 76° 37.154'

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Inscription

The Canalway Trail

The O.B. & H.E. Tanner Dry Dock was established near Lock 52 in Port Byron in 1873, replacing the earlier Ames Dry Dock. In its heydey, Tanner built and repaired a variety of canal boats, employing a crew of 18, including a shipwright, carpenters, caulkers, a blacksmith, a locktender, clerk, and day laborers. A ledger records that in 1904, Tanner serviced almost 300 boats, with storage fees ranging from $2 to $4 depending on the boat's size. The concept of the dry dock was simple. A large basin floored with wooden planks, was connected to the canal by a narrow entrance and gate that could be closed to block the flow of water. When gates were opened, the bay would flood and a boat could enter for repairs; once inside, the lock would be drained to allow work to be done; when the work was complete, it would be reflooded and the serviced boat floated out to the canal. Tanner's was one of about 44 dry docks that operated at different times and locations on the Enlarged Erie Canal. Building & Launching a Laker. Tanner's built different types of canal boats, but lakers were among the most common. They were occasionally built from blueprints, but more often, were constructed directly by an experienced shipwright. A canal boat was built of oak planks two inches thick that would be nailed to a heavy oak frame. Its bottom was flat. A laker required about 18,000 feet of oak and hard wood and 20,000 feet of white pine (used for decking and cabins). About 2-1/2 tons of spikes and nails were used, enough oakum to pack every seam - top, bottom, and sides - and a few barrels of paint. It's been calculated that at $2.00 a day per worker in 1880, the labor for building a laker at Tanner's amounted to between $900 and $1000. Including materials, the boat's cost averaged about $3800. When a laker or bullhead boat was finished, it was prepared for launching. Launch "ways" constructed from heavy timbers were thickly greased, slid under the boat, and raised to form a ramp. Canal boats were launched parallel to the canal because they were often longer than the canal's width. Winches would then start the boat moving sideways down the ramp and with a giant splash, it would hit the water. In the years before the canal closed, Tanners also built pleasure yachts, launches, house boats, and in 1910, even a new gasoline powered "torpedo boat."
Details
HM NumberHM1KPM
Series This marker is part of the Erie Canal series
Tags
Placed ByNew York State Canals
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, May 24th, 2015 at 2:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 368098 N 4766251
Decimal Degrees43.03750000, -76.61923333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 2.25', W 76° 37.154'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 2' 15" N, 76° 37' 9.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)315
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Canalway Trail- Erie Section (Camillus to Port Byron), Port Byron NY 13140, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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